10 Nonprofits Supporting Women In Rural Areas You Can Support On #IWD
In honor of the UN's theme for International Women's Day 2018, here are 10 women-centered organizations doing their part to address gender inequality in rural areas around the world.
A quick glance at Instagram on #InternationalWomensDay (IWD) will reveal two distinct themes: The vitality and diversity of women—of all identities, bodies, and backgrounds—coming together to support each other’s lives, choices, and just generally show love. And the second theme: Millennial pink-covered product marketing, in which ladies are encouraged to feel empowered via purchasing.
What’s less obvious is the actual origins of the day, and the work of women and nonprofit organizations around the world, to *actually* empower communities of women, through practical resources that affect their livelihoods and opportunities.
The United Nations created IWD back in 1975, in an effort to recognize the work of feminist activists of the first and second wave. Each year, the UN chooses a new theme, zeroing in on a subject area they deem in special need of attention. In 2018, our theme is “Time is now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.” But what does that mean, exactly? And how can we support these activists? Glad you asked.
Put it this way, rural women make up a quarter of the world’s population, globally, according to the UN. These women are often the first to feel the effects of environmental destruction and climate change, and the last left behind at every stage of development and “progress.”
In year where so many women have shouted #MeToo and #TimesUp, a rallying cry of #TimeIsNow seems only appropriate, nay urgent, if we’re to create the truly inclusive, truly global movement we dream about.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 organizations and women who are doing their part to address gender inequality for women in both urban and rural areas around the world.
Don’t forget them—check out the work they’re doing and support them in some small way, if you can.
Women’s Global Empowerment Fund
This advocacy group offers business training and micro loans to the under-privileged women of Uganda, in an effort to grow women’s economic independence in the area.
The organizations efforts and impact have not gone unnoticed either; five women affiliated with the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund have reportedly gone on to win political office in the nation.
The Lily Project
The Lily Project is the brain child of cofounder and executive, Anielka Medina. It’s goal is to provide healthcare to women in rural Nicaragua, educating people on women’s health, and seeking to diminish cervical cancer via early detection.
Well over 7,000 women have been checked for cervical cancer through its centers.
Mahila Umang Producers Company
Umang for short, this organization is managed by rural women in the Almora and Ranikhet districts of the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
Founded by Sunita Kashyap, the organization is co-owned by women farmers and producers, selling knitwear and organic jams and jellies. In addition to selling their produce, Umang supports its members through micro credit, which goes towards education, livestock, and household needs.
Centre For Reproductive Rights
As the name might give away, defending the reproductive rights of women is focus of this legal consortium, which has been said to have direct influence over reproductive health policies in the US, Asia and Africa.
AACE Food Processing & Distribution
An Indigenous agroprocessing company, AACE was cofounded by Ndidi Nwuneli, the managing partner at Sahel Capital, an advisory and consulting firm focused on the agribusiness and nutrition landscapes across West Africa.
AACE sources its fresh produce from small cluster farmers in rural communities across the region, and offers these agricultural workers access to microfinance and farming technologies. Its goal is ultimately to displace imports and promote exports.
Women For Women International
This nonprofit offers support to displaced or else marginalized women affected by conflict and social oppression in places as diverse as Iraq and Rwanda. Education is the greatest focus and empowerment tool—directing classes and assisting graduates to find work opportunities.
Right now, its efforts are going towards assisting Syrian women in the Kurdistan region, providing psychosocial and educational resources to those fleeing the horrors of war.
Global Fund For Women
This nonprofit’s mission is pretty simple; champion the human rights of women and girls. They essentially find, fund, and amplify the work of women who are building social movements and challenging the status quo around the women.
That mission has seen it launch over 5000 directives in 175 countries since 1987, including efforts to improve working conditions and stop human trafficking.
War and natural disasters, are the quickest way to damage the livelihoods of rural women. That’s why MADRE’s approach sees it teams with local community leaders to create a development plan—working on everything from clean water in Kenya to art therapy for trauma survivors in Colombia.
IBS Soluciones Verdes
Susana Chaves Villalobos is the founder of IBS Soluciones Verdes, an organization that helps small scale farmers with production strategies, communication, certification, and marketing.
They’re qualified to train and in turn certify organic farmers, and additionally they actively promote healthy eating across Costa Rica.
Girls Not Brides
A global partnership made up of 450 civil society organizations, committed to ending child marriage worldwide. According to the organization, each year, 15 million girls are married off before they turn 18. When this happens, girls are routinely denied their rights to health, education and, perhaps most important of all, opportunity.
Girls Not Brides rely heavily on crowdfunding efforts as well as pure donations, and always have a bunch of campaigns people can support on the go.
Words: Jerico Mandybur