By Beth Ellen Holimon, DFW President
As Dining for Women grows, we see this as an opportunity to enhance the successful methods we have used to empower women and girls around the world. Growth inevitably brings change, and we are ensuring that we have relationships and access to research as we make decisions about the future. And this is not something we do without our members! We are always looking to improve, but 2017 is a more intense year of exploring and learning from other sources.
Veena Khandke and I recently led a delegation of DFW volunteer leaders to New York City during the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). Attending were:
- Susan Stall, Board Chair
- Susan Garrity, Grant Selection Committee Chair and Board member
- Betsy Dunklin, Advocacy Committee Chair
- Connie Lewin, Board member
We met with many different international women’s organizations to discuss potential partnerships and collaborations, attended panels on women as refugees and child marriage, and even joined a UNCSW event on female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and child marriage.
This last event was by special invitation from Safe Hands for Girls (SHFG) of The Gambia, one of our new, featured grantees, who led and moderated the session. The young leaders from this organization were impressive – the room was filled to standing room only with leaders from all over the world. The Minister of Health for The Gambia made an impressive speech. SHFG staff discussed the level of engagement they have with FGM/C issues in The Gambia and surrounding countries. Taina Ben-Amie of CATWA (Fiscal sponsor to CATWA-LAC, DFW grantee) has been a mentor to SHFG and spoke passionately about how feminist groups and human rights groups are not doing enough to eradicate FGM/C. We were humbled and grateful to participate in such an event.
The trip was immensely affirming for DFW. On numerous occasions we were told that DFW has something that most organizations do not – thousands of educated global citizens eager to add to the action of a donation. Through monthly chapter meetings, we have a community of engaged learners primed to impact inequality all over the world. We returned, energized, to grow DFW so that we can be a bigger part of ending inequality for women and girls.