6 Women's Organizations Making a Global Impact on the Female Front
Updated: Oct 22
These six women-driven organizations go the extra mile to dramatically change the lives of millions of women and girls worldwide, be it on the financial, physical, interpersonal, agricultural and or educational front.
Their stories are inspiring. Read on to see how you, too, can help by giving back by donating or volunteering. It takes a village, all be it a global one, to raise great women.
Women’s Global Empowerment Fund
The Women’s Global Empowerment Fund creates economic opportunities for women through microloans and educational programming. It primarily works in the Northern Ugandan city of Gulu, a post-conflict area with eroded economic structures. WGEF provides women with resources to build up their businesses, communities, and lives.
Credit Plus, WGEF’s main program, provides microcredit loans to disadvantaged women who can’t get larger loans from most banks. At the same time, WGEF educates on business, leadership, and health skills.
Other WGEF initiatives include a six-week literacy program and a leadership development campaign to help women run for office. It operates the Gulu Women’s Resource Center, a library and community space that hosts trauma counseling, alcohol education, and the Acholi Gender Conference. Women in the Credit Plus program can participate in the Kikopo Pa Mon Drama Festival, where they write and perform systemic issues.
Karen Sugar, WGEF’s founder, has focused her career on women’s rights and microfinance. She has worked with homeless women in Atlanta, Georgia, campaigned for reproductive rights in Denver, Colorado, and presently teaches ethics at CU Denver. She has achieved several awards for her work, including the Global Changemakers Lifetime Leadership Award from the Foundation of Global Scholars.
WGEF’s managers and staff members mainly come from Gulu. The Program Director, Bukenya Musa, has worked with WGEF since its founding in 2007. The Program Manager, Eunice Apiyo, has been with WGEF almost as long. She holds a lifelong passion for helping the women and children within her community.
The Orchid Project, a British NGO, works to end female genital cutting (FGC) around the world. It works with partners in Kenya, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Mali, India, and more; it has helped over 200 million women and girls across 90 countries.
Orchid Project programs share medical knowledge on FGC and why it is harmful. The organization runs Knowledge Sharing Workshops, which present UNICEF’s Six Elements of Abandonment of FGC and apply them to local cultures. They partner with grassroots programs to ensure effective practices.
The Orchid Project uses all charitable donations to keep running and help partners. 56% of donations go to grassroots organizations, 29% to advocacy programs, 7% to administration, and 8% to further fundraising efforts. Supporters can donate to help.
Julia Lalla-Maharajh, the Orchid Project’s founder, has worked personally to end FGC in Senegal, Gambia, and Ethiopia. She earned an Order of the British Empire decoration for civil service.
Women for Women International
In post-war countries, Women for Women International helps women get back on their feet. They work in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda, Herzegovina, and Kosovo; they’ve reached over 500 thousand women.
WWI connects local women in groups of 25. Together, the women build a support network, learn economic skills, and access their resources. Group leaders, trained by WWI, always come from the same community as the women they teach. WWI provides cash stipends and health services. Vocational training happens at the local level so that women can achieve economic independence in their specific contexts.
WWI runs supplemental programs to enforce its empowering work further. These include a Men’s Engagement Program, a WWI Graduate Support Program, and a Community Advocacy Program.
In the context of COVID, WWI stepped up. It temporarily suspended in-person training, to be restarted on a country-by-country basis. WWI-affiliated women sewed masks and produced soap; WWI distributed over 4,700 hygiene kits across the world. It also gave fruit trees to communities in need of food, and it established radio programs and group chats to keep women informed.
WWI’s Conflict Response Fund was launched in 2018. It lets WWI offer grants to immediate crises, such as Syria, Bangladesh, and Yemen. The organization is no stranger to mitigating concerns, and they’ve continued to help throughout Summer 2020.
Global Girls Collaborative
The Global Girls Collaborative encourages girls to engage with the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It aspires to share resources, grow existing projects, and increase gender equality in STEM.
Over 36,400 organizations unite under GGC. It provides mini-grants to STEM-based, girl-focused programs, and it promotes related organizations. The GGC Connectory is an online database that helps kids and their parents find STEM education opportunities.
GGC Collaboratives are local chapters affiliated with the broader organization. Each Collaborative begins with a Kick-Off Conference and a Collaboration Forum, in which community members share strategies for Collaborative operations. 33 Collaboratives currently exist.
School Girls Unite
According to their motto, “there’s no minimum age for leadership,” School Girls Unite believes that girls can take charge through education. This youth-led, U.S.-based organization expands educational opportunities through various initiatives. It promotes education as a powerful human right that can end poverty, encourage peace, and improve world health.
School Girls Unite supports a coalition of locally run clubs across the U.S. It provides funding and support for their projects. It raises money for its sister organization in Mali, Les Filles Unies pour l’Education, to send 75 scholarship students to school. School Girls Unite chose to focus on Mali after UNICEF identified it on a list of countries with low percentages of girls. Less than 50% of girls in Mali complete elementary school; School Girls Unite wants to help Mali’s educators change that.
School Girls Unite mobilized support for the first United Nations International Day of the Girl Child in 2012. Every October 11th, this day celebrates education for girls and spreads awareness on school dropout rates.
A group of seventh-grade girls, African women, and activists launched School Girls Unite in 2004. Anika Manzoor, who was a child when she helped found the organization, currently works as the Executive Director of the Youth Activism Project.
Supporters can donate to School Girls Unite or sign up for the newsletter on their website.
Women make up 43% of agricultural workers in developing countries. Organizations that help these workers assist women’s rights- and CropLife is no exception. This global nonprofit supports agricultural innovators and sustainable agriculture throughout the world. They aim to preserve the Earth, feed world populations as they grow exponentially, and help rural agricultural communities to survive.
CropLife spreads agricultural news through the Plant Science Post. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the organization, has worked for 19 years to streamline the agriculture industry with information from the plant science field. CropLife chapters operate in Canada, the U.S., and several continents; CropLife partners with various major world agricultural companies, including the European Crop Protection Association and Biotechnology Industry Org.
The previous CEO of CropLife International, Howard Minigh, released an article on the importance of supporting women in the agricultural field. He notes the prominence of women farmers and how they struggle to access agricultural technologies. He calls for greater representation of women in the plant science industry.
The current CropLife CEO, Giulia Di Tommaso, aims to protect food security and farmers during the pandemic. The organization adapted to a remote model in response.
Written by Olivia Cipperman