By Sonia Marsh, author, blogger, and member of Dining for Women’s CA, Fullerton-1 chapter
It’s funny how situations in life can eventually lead to finding your purpose. Had my 28-year marriage not fizzled in 2015, I would never have served in the Peace Corps, and probably never have discovered Dining for Women. Details
We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope is the title of the book released just last month from the George W. Bush Institute. I had an opportunity to attend an event announcing the book’s publication in Washington, DC, hosted by the United States Institute of Peace which featured a discussion by Laura Bush, former U.S. First Lady, and Mina Sherzoy, a Council member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. Details
Yes, being in the same room with change-maker champions and meeting First Lady Michelle Obama was a big moment for Dining for Women. Announcing a cross-sector strategic partnership through a $100,000 grant to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund is a defining moment. But at the end of the day, it’s all about impact. It’s all about the girls. And it’s personal. Details
By Peggy Smith, Mid-Atlantic Regional Leader and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
Ask any Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) about their experience and they will tell you, “It changed my life”. Yes, we come home after working as a volunteer in a Third World country to clean water, hot showers, comfortable beds, nice dwellings and clean sanitation, but with a passion that does not dissipate. We have to get involved, to do something, to continue to serve a need. So, we volunteer in soup kitchens, teach English to the newly-arrived from developing countries, work with the Junior League, help with outreach at our church — and for many, we join Dining for Women. Details
When I received a call from Susan Anderson, a board member with The Grandmother Project (GMP), inviting me to travel with her to Senegal to see their work in action, I jumped at the chance. Patricia Andersson, inveterate traveler and trip leader, was up for the adventure too! CREATE!, another DFW grantee, was headquartered within several hours drive of the GMP office, so we were fortunate to be able to visit both organizations to see the projects we’ve supported with our DFW grants. Details
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in Africa, specifically West Africa. For
the past year, the burdens of recovery from war – inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and in many cases, survival – have been increased by the fight against Ebola.
In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In part one, we looked at the basics of the disease and the 2014 – 2015 outbreak. Our second feature looked at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, we look at the current state of this outbreak.
Dr. Leslee Jaeger, an OB/GYN in Minneapolis and a DFW chapter leader, recently returned from a medical training trip to MamaBaby Haiti. There she taught clinic staff how to screen for cervical cancer. She wrote this article about her concerns of the growing risks of cervical cancer for women in the developing world. Details
In December 2013, through the Smiles on Wings program, we invested in the futures of five young women. They are daughters of the Karen tribe in Thailand. The Karen people are outcasts in Thailand and often have little or no access to health care or education. These five girls are studying either nursing or childhood education and will return to work in their villages and improve the lives and health of their community. Here’s a look at the students we are supporting. Details
In August 2009, Dining for Women granted $18,437 to a small non profit providing support to farmers in Rwanda. Today, that program has grown from serving 25,000 farmers in two countries to a projected 305,000 farmers by the end of this year in four countries. We had a conversation with Briehan Lynch of the One Acre Fund to find out how they did it and to talk about the impact of our investment in them. This is the first in a series of Impact Hangouts to re-connect with past programs. Details
Our first Impact Hangout takes us to the One Acre Fund. We’ll reconnect with this program and find out how they’ve grown from serving 25,000 families to more than 300,000 families in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi in just six years. This is the first of a series of Impact Hangouts for 2015. Details
Eighteen DFW members recently spent a week getting to know the students and staff at the Mariposa DR Foundation. The program brought us all closer to the work this program does to empower girls who are living up to the legacy of their namesakes. Details
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in Africa, specifically West Africa. For the past year, the burdens of recovery from war, inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and in many cases, survival have been increased by the fight against Ebola. In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In April, we looked at the basics of the disease and the 2014 – 2015 outbreak. In May, we take a look at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, in June, we look at the current state of this outbreak. Details
Our 2015 slate is complete with programs addressing women’s health, mental health, support for victims or terrorism and conflict and more. Our executive director looks at the difference you are making in the world. Details
Our 2014 programs represent a strong focus on educating women and girls and building foundations of better health and economic sustainability. Take a look back at the work that you made possible in 2014.Details
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in West Africa. For the past year, the burdens of recovery from war, inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and, in many cases, survival have been overshadowed by the fight against Ebola. In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In April, we focus on the basics. In May, we take a look at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, in June, we look at the current state of this outbreak.Details
Two little words can mean a lot. Just for fun, we took a look back through our hangouts and online presentations in 2014 and found a lot of moments worth noting — thank yous to DFW, recognition of our members’ commitment and support and some calls to action from our programs. We mashed it up in this brief video. Details
Social media makes it easy to stay in touch with our programs — with stories, activities and ideas. Follow along — and join the conversation — by bookmarking this page with the live Twitter feed from programs DFW has supported. Details
For Dining for Women, everyday is International Women’s Day so here’s a list of ideas to help you celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of women around the world throughout the month of March. Details
CeCe Comacho, chief operating officer of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), joined us to talk about how the organization is tackling taboos, training teachers and developing innovative solutions to keep girls in school no matter what time of the month it is. Period.Details
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Cambodian teen-ager, whose name has been changed, who was helped through this tragic experience by Lotus Outreach’s aftercare and reintegration program — a Dining for Women sustained program.
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Kenyan girl who was spared the traditional female genital mutilation and sent instead to study at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Details
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Kenyan girl who knew the horrors of domestic violence at an extremely early age. Her mother was murdered by her father, who then abandoned Naanyu and her five siblings. Taken in by family, she is studying at the Kakenya Center for Excellence where she has learned that her life will not be the same as for others in her village. FGM will not be performed on her. Details
The 16 days between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Nov. 25) and Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) represents a coordinated effort to promote activism and awareness. Violence against women exists in every country and at every income level. So there are many voices talking about the issue this week.
Dining for Women has put together a digital magazine that is curating and aggregating these voices. On Twitter, #16days and #violenceagainstwomen are being used to coordinate the conversation, but there are others. On Facebook, these tags and DFWs #DFW16days are being used as a way to bring all your comments together.
And there are news articles, scholarly articles and posts from the UNWomen, programs and nonprofits.
You can read this magazine on the web just by following this link or by downloading the free Flipboard app for whatever flavor of mobile device you use. If you see a page that just has a hashtag on it, like #16days, that’s a custom search that will bring up a current list of all tweets using that tag.
The magazine will be updated automatically with new content from across the web. You can Follow the magazine to have it added to your Flipboard bookshelf and share it with others. Share your insights, observations and thoughts for increasing awareness: post on Facebook or Twitter with the #DFW16days.
Photo: The Empire State Building in New York City lights up orange to support the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The United Nations was also lit up in orange.
In 2012, DFW supported Starfish One by One by funding an education and internship program to empower girls in Guatemala. The class graduated in November 2014 and are moving on to start businesses or continue their educations. Read more. Details
Nonprofits are trapped in a “starvation cycle” – a concept identified by some of the largest oversight and watchdog organizations in the nonprofit world like Charity Navigator and Guidestar. It’s destabilizing good organizations that do important work and can eventually threaten their sustainability.Details
By Jessie Cronan
Executive Director, Gardens for Health
More than 500 people gathered at the Gardens for Health farm in Rwanda on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, for a very unique Thanksgiving celebration. Families enrolled in our program joined local officials, neighbors, and visitors, for a day of dancing, singing, and – of course – eating. Details
Those of us who arrived in Lima before the official first day of the DFW 2014 Peru trip, were invited to join the Lima chapter for their October meeting, We had no idea what to expect. We were overwhelmed by the joyous welcome of our hostess Elle Bagnarol and the chapter members. Details
Was there great curiosity as we arrived in Llachon for our first homestay? Absolutely yes! The people in Llachon speak Quechua as their first language with Spanish as the second. But the real language was that of human kindness which needs no translation. Details
Our loads considerably lightened after distributing baby clothes and supplies, maternity gowns and medical supplies, we spent some time in the town of Pucallpa. We took a boat ride in the lake and saw many vultures, tuki tuki birds and had a wonderful lunch at a floating restaurant with our friends that are beginning to feel like old friends – not strangers that we met five days ago!
We motored by the bathing spot for the vultures. After cleaning in the lake, they stand on the bank and spread their wings to dry. Very impressive! (some of us thought menacing would be a more appropriate adjective!)
There are many small green plants floating on the lake. They were so thick that the tuki tuki bird appeared to walk on water. When the tuki tuki found a promising plant, he would flip it over and eat the insects off the bottom.
We learned an interesting old tale. It was feared that dolphins stole women by impregnating them. No women were allowed to swim in the lake during the time they were fertile!
Tonight we head back to Lima and a few hours later we head to Puno and our home stays.
As we finish off the first part of our trip, I’d like to extend a sincere thanks to everyone who donated and helped us collect supplies. They were very gratefully received!
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s a day selected to coincide with a date very important to the founders of the Maiposa DR Foundation. Read why.Details
Fifteen US-based DFW members embarked on a journey to Peru. Their first stop was an very special opportunity to break bread and join with DFW sisters in the Lima, Peru, chapter for a meeting, to share and learn about each other and about our featured program for October – Bumi Sehat. Chapter Leader Eli Bagnarol sends this post on the experience. Details
Dining for Women is pleased to announce its grant program for the first six months of 2015, which will provide more than $331,000 to grassroots program from Jordan to Haiti. The programs will directly benefit more than 13,500 women and girls, and countless more indirectly.
The programs work toward improved health, increased educational opportunities, training of healthcare workers to return to rural villages and medical care.
“This group of grantees all offer something new to Dining for Women,” notes Dr. Veena Khandke, interim program director. “These programs are innovative and collaborative,” she says, noting that they represent a strong cross-section of need from aiding Middle Eastern refugees to inventing a completely new and renewable process to make affordable sanitary pads for girls in Rwanda.
The featured programs are:
The Collateral Repair Project in Amman, Jordan, which focuses on providing support for women and families who have been displaced by war and unrest in the region. The program will provide therapy and wellness programs, health and nutrition support, leadership training to rebuild lost self-esteem and exposure to women-led organizations in Jordan.
Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) based in Rwanda will provide critical health education to young girls, along with manufacturing and distributing affordable go! Pads, made from a renewable source – banana fibers – and offering education and menstrual hygiene. Due to cultural norms and misinformation, girls are often excluded from school and social activities during menstruation. This program aims to break the silence around menstrual taboos in schools.
In Senegal, the Grandmother Project develops training and education programs to encourage grandmothers to be agents of change in their communities. The leaders program will include the development of reusable training materials and workshops as well as a series of “Under the tree” pilot training programs.
Cervical cancer is a major women’s health issue in Haiti where the Mama Baby Haiti program is launch a well woman project. The project will include screenings and treatment for cervical cancer as well as education on sexual health, risky behavior and sexually transmitted diseases.
Open fire cooking, which is the norm in Malawi, is a dangerous practice. Improper venting of fumes can cause serious respiratory illness for women and their families. Well-vented open cook stoves, such as a Changu Changu Moto stove provided by Ripple Africa can save lives as well as preserve the critical forests.
Women artisans in Rwanda have been benefitting from the entrepreneurial programs of Indego Africa. But a new program – the Leadership Academy — will offer women advanced business training and the opportunity to apply classroom learning in actual situations by managing cooperative programs.
In addition to these six programs, Dining for Women has also granted $75,000 to five programs we have selected for multi-year funding. They are: The BOMA Project, a program supporting micro-enterprises in Kenya; Matrichaya, which offers vocational training, health education, medical aid and literacy programs in Ranchi, India; Friendship Bridgeis a microloan program that works with women in Guatemala to assist them in starting, expanding or diversifying their business; Village Enterprises in Uganda works in partnership with the Jane Goodall Center to provide women entrepreneurs with business and conservation and work toward the goal of sustainable livelihoods and environmental awareness; and PINCC, a medical treatment and training program in India that treats cervical cancer, trains and educates professional staff and women on prevention and treatment.
Leaders, members and friends of Dining for Women met the weekend of Oct 10-12, 2014 in the Central Region to get to know each other better, to learn more about Dining for Women and to share experiences and information. Details
The Cascade Life community magazine profiled Jill Peirce, Central Region co-leader and Grand Rapids chapter leader, and her chapter. The linked file is a PDF version of this print-only publication. Go to page 17 for the story.
The Chestnut Hill Local reprinted a profile of Margaret Guthrie of Mt. Airy, PA, a 77-year-old author of eight published cookbooks. Margaret is a member of the Mt. Airy chapter, a prolific author and a dedicated community volunteer. Great story, great subject.
Marsha Wallace hosted a conversation with “A Path Appears” co-author Nicholas Kristof about the new book, the gains made in reducing extreme poverty and women’s equality — and the distance yet to go. The authors mention Dining for Women in several spots throughout the book. “Sheryl and I are such big fans of what you guys do,” Kristof said during the Hangout. View the on-demand video of this insightful conversation.Details
Is it luck, good fortune or just being in the right place at the right time. Whatever, DFW is the beneficiary of a lot of it — finding the right people when we need them, being in the right mind-space when we need to be. It’s luck the Dining for Women way — strategic serendipity.
There are a lot of reasons to check out Dining for Women virtually. You might be out of town on business and miss your regular chapter meeting. You might not have a local chapter but still want to be part of the organization. Or you may just want to see what we’re all about. Find out more about how to get connected with DFW virtually.Details
Many Dining for Women members and constituents raised questions about what would happen to the women supported by the Bond Street Theatre program when they are released from prison or once the US leaves Afghanistan. We posed these questions to Bond St.’s artistic director and founder, Joanna Sherman. Her answers are thoughtful and thought-provoking. Details
Former kamlari slaves have had their lives transformed thanks to the efforts of the Nepal Youth Foundation and the support of Dining for Women. They now are transforming the lives of other. An inspiring self-perpetuating cycle that we are proud to be part of. Details
Foundation Rwanda was our featured program in September 2013. This summer, chapter leader Reiko Johnson had an opportunity to visit Rwanda and meet some of the women during a peer support group session. Details
The Nepal Youth Foundation was our featured program in January 2012. Dining for Women funded the Indentured Daughters Program, which, with the official abolition of kamlari, has become the Empowering Freed Kamlaris program. We recently saw an inspiring television report on their success and asked for an inside look. This update on the organization’s efforts and the photos and success stories show the tremendous impact we can all have. Details
Ever wondered how to read about some of the trips the Travel Program has taken? This post will show you the easiest way to access the travel blogs, plus give you a taste of our recent trip to India.Details
How does Dining for Women select its featured programs? It’s a strenuous and stringent process that requires a remarkable commitment by the volunteers who take it on. Take a walk through the process with Dr. Maggie Aziz, program director. Details
Life is a series of special connections and we never know where threads will lead you. Travel Program Director Patricia Andersson ties up the threads in this look at how the travel program and our October 2014 featured program Bumi Sehat are connected.
Certain keywords help define ourselves and our values. DFW has four that we think describe the essence of who we are, what we value and how we work toward achieving our goals. Tell us if you agree and how you see those words in action. Details
With 8000 members spread out from Bangor to Santa Cruz, DFW uses email as the most efficient way to communicate. These messages include monthly newsletters, donation acknowledgements, tax receipts and other messages.
Dining for Women is very aware of the flood of emails all of us receive on a daily basis. To that end, in 2013 we significantly reduced our communications. Most months, the average member receives one email from us – The Dish; chapter leaders get two with the CL Newsletter. We have consolidated what used to be separate emails for new programs, trips or products into these monthly communications.
Annie Johnston (left) and Karen Faunt in the living room of Karen’s new home.
By Patricia Andersson Chapter leader, Portland
Annie Johnston could never have predicted that getting involved with our Portland Southeast chapter of DFW would allow her to once again visit the home where all her childhood family gatherings took place.
And Karen Faunt, long-time chapter member who’s also on DFW’s Program Selection Committee – as well as being the home’s new owner — would never have guessed that by hosting a DFW potluck, she’d be able to provide a new friend with a cherished walk down memory lane.
Editor’s Note: Foundation Rwanda, this month’s featured program, addresses horrific situations that are the result and the legacy of the 1994 civil war. Rape, brutalization, genocide are not pretty and many of our members have been disturbed by some of the images. We provide an array of tools that can be used to learn about our programs – the video is only one. Due diligence – on all of our parts – to make sure we make members aware of sensitive content is important. But equally as important is understanding that there are horrible and ugly things in the world. We can’t help to change them, if we won’t open our eyes to them. This post looks at the sensitive balancing act we must try to walk.
The International Violence Against Women Act is one of several important pieces of legislation around the world needed to stop stoning, rape, assault and other forms of inhumane and degrading treatment of women around the world.