In 2012, the Global Fund for Widows partnered with Alfanar and the Future Eve Foundation to create the Amal project, dedicated to the economic empowerment of widows and female heads of households in multiple villages in rural Egypt.
As the first venture philanthropy organization working exclusively in the Arab world, Alfanar strengthens grassroots organizations that serve the region’s most vulnerable citizens.
Alfanar applies the principles of private sector investment to charitable giving and offers small-sized grants and highly engaged management support to social enterprise organizations — organizations that generate both financial and social returns while also transforming lives in the region’s most disadvantaged communities. Alfanar works hand-in-hand with these organizations, supporting them to become resilient and financially sustainable in their local communities while bolstering civil society in the Arab world.
True to the meaning of its name in Arabic, Alfanar strives to be a ‘beacon’ of change for the Arab world.
Future Eve Foundation
Established in 2001, the Future Eve Foundation is one of the leading organizations working with women in the Minya region of Egypt. FEF works to raise awareness and promote access among women on topics ranging from legal rights, literacy, healthcare and reproductive health issues and to prevent female genital mutilation.
Guild of Service’s Mission is to empower women and children become self-reliant by providing better education along with skill/capacity development training and also provide them social, economic and psychological support for healthy living.
How it Started
Well… it all started in the year 1972 the dark war clouds of the 1971 Indo-Pak war had abated, leaving behind a trail of anguish, loss and despair. One soldier dies-leaving behind at least 5 lives, in living death. The civil society in India was shaken by the uncertainty of the lives of women who had been widowed. Those with a sensitive foresight realized that this uncertainty extended to all women who are dependent traditionally, socially and economically on the patriarchal framework. Women had to come out of the confining walls of their homes if they had to carve out a future for themselves in the changing world. Women would have to come out of their cocooned existence if the process of nation building had to be undertaken. Women themselves would have to realize and build on their own strengths and capacities.
With this realization was born the War Widows Association & Guild of Service in North India. Dr. V. Mohini Giri’s committed initiative was beginning in 1972. Since then there has been no looking back.
To be a catalyst of social change for conflict affected women, widows and children by formulating integrated and innovative methods for progressive social change with innovative skill development.
- To provide women with skill/capacity development training to become self-reliant.
- To provide children with better education thereby creating a platform for better future.
- To provide beneficiary with social, economic and psychological support for healthy living.
- To provide legal and social awareness to the beneficiaries.
- To provide suitable and friendly environment for healthy growth and development.
- Ensure women and children’s issues are addressed in all programming and represented at major fora.
- Collaborate with key stake holders to represent the cause of widows and the elderly.
- Uphold a rights perspective and propagate for dignity and justice for women and children.
- Develop sustainable program models that can be scaled up nation-wide.
CTWOO : COME TOGETHER WIDOWS AND ORPHANS ORGANIZATION
Come Together Widows and Orphans Organization (CTWOO) is a non-profit organization founded by Dianah Kamande, a young widow and a survivor of Gender Based Violence whose experiences gave birth to the idea of creating a safe space within which widows could share experiences and draw support from others. In 2013 she, together with other widows, formed a Community Based Organization which later blossomed into a national NGO. She now leads CTWOO which focuses on widows, orphans and survivors of Gender Based Violence. The organization supports and champions for the advancement of their rights, social and economic empowerment in recognition that widows rights are human rights.
CTWOO’s mission is to put in place strategies and policies that ensure that widows’, survivors of Genders Based Violence and orphans rights are guaranteed, protected and that they are economically, socially and politically empowered and that they live fulfilled lives.
The International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment, Tanzania, (ICSEE (T))
“We didn’t know we could do work like this…we thought only men could.” —Paini Lorwasa, Women’s Stove Installation Team Member, Eluwai, Tanzania
Engaged with the Global Fund for Widows for a fruitful, growing and expanding partnership, the ICSEE (T), or International Collaborative, brings unique capabilities. It has built an unprecedented relationship with people of the Tanzanian Maasai communities, especially women. Learn more at www.internationalcollaborative.org.
The difficult situation of Maasai widows is a reality calling out for action made possible through this partnership.
Revealed through years of organizing and work in the field, the International Collaborative had directly observed the severe situation of Maasai widows. In response, it established two corn flour mills focused on a viable business providing earning opportunities, especially for widows.
This modest effort dedicated to widows can now grow to a much more significant level through new initiatives resulting from a partnership with the Global Fund for Widows.
The Maasai Stoves & Solar Project
Dedicated to improving the health, lives, and possibilities of the people, especially women, the sister organization, ICSEE (USA), founded the Maasai Stoves & Solar Project in 2009.
Through the Project, these organizations engage the people to find new ways to work together to make life better. Instead of focusing on a single need, it is the mobilization of the energy of the people, combined with new ideas and enabling resources that make the work so valuable, motivating, and successful.
Stoves & Solar right from the start
To address the toxic indoor air pollution from indoor cooking fires, the Project began with designing smoke-removing efficient chimney stoves. There are now 4600 installed in improved homes. It went on to installing solar-powered electrical systems located far off the national grid.
Addressing safe water needs
The Maasai, especially children, have serious health problems due to the terribly polluted surface water ponds that are their water sources. The Project’s concerns about this led to the introduction of innovative chlorination systems in remote areas where previously, no one imagined such technology could be applied. With four pilots successfully completed, the Project continues with these efforts on a village –to- village basis.
The need for changing livestock practices
The International Collaborative has new partnerships with Maasai herders to create better cattle management practices, now demanded by the more frequent droughts that challenge Maasai traditions. The International Collaborative also formed a breeding herd. The goal is to introduce a new cattle variety more capable of adapting to the difficult conditions that the pastoralists now face, due to climate change.
Women’s empowerment at the core
Through the flow of ideas, organizational development, and training, the whole community participates in the Project. At the core is the work of the Maasai Women’s teams in each participating village. These teams receive comprehensive training and become expert in the installation of the stoves and solar panel-based electrical systems.
More than two hundred of these empowered women, including many widows among them, formed the Monduli Pastoralist Women’s Organization, which now owns a successful bull fattening business.
A greater potential
The potential inherent in the merging of the Global Fund for Widows and the International Collaborative for Science, Education, and the Environment is enormous. All of us concerned for the developing and sustained welfare of Maasai widows are very energized and excited about what we can accomplish together.
WIDO: WIDOW DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION
WIDO is a universally recognized global leader in Nigeria and Western Africa on issues of widowhood. WIDO’s mission is to sensitize the world on the plight of widows, with the objective of eliciting improvement in their legal, economic, and social status. WIDO aims to create awareness on the rights of widows and female headed households in the areas of basic education, health, environment, and access to justice, while empowering them economically through income generating activities.
In addition to providing critical counseling and support centers to widows across Nigeria, WIDO also assists in educational support programs for the children of widows.
WIDO is also a key partner in advocacy, working closely with the Nigerian government to affect life- altering legislation and policy to protect widows rights and access to justice.
The GFW launched its Dominican Republic venture in July 2010 in partnership with Airline Ambassadors and the Mandell School of New York, in response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti. Recognizing that Dominican orphanages were struggling and overwhelmed by the arrival of orphans from Haiti, the GFW created an Orphanage Assistance Program. Through this ingenious program, the GFW provided funding for these orphanages to hire widows to become caregivers and teachers for the Haitian and Dominican orphans. Proudly, the Orphanage Assistance Program accomplished its goal by launching a virtuous cycle – not only did it create jobs for widows affording them economic empowerment, but it also it afforded the GFW to become part of the Haiti solution, and most importantly, allowed the GFW to participate in providing critical love and support to orphans in need.
Niños de cristo
Orfanato Ninos de Cristo was founded in the small beach town of La Romana, by Sonia Hane in 1993. At that time she was living in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children when she felt a deep summons to return to the Dominican Republic and open an orphanage for homeless, indigent and orphaned children. Today, Sonia is caretaker, teacher, advocate, and mother to181 children living at the home including 141 girls and 44 boys. The Global Fund for Widows is proud to support both a caregiver and a teacher at this orphanage.
One evening in 2010 in the remote town of Santa Cruz in Bolivia, the founder of a small non-profit held a town hall meeting for widows. There, the widows were asked to elucidate on their dreams to work, provide for their families, and find financial security if given a chance. The widows responded with insightful and very tangible dreams. They only needed someone to give them a chance. Armed with the widows’ dreams, aspirations, and prospects for profitability, Fundacion Amor y Esperanza met with the GFW in New York, where the partnership was born.
Amor y Esperanza
Founded in Santa Cruz, the Fundacion Amor y Esperanza’s mission is to provide services that collaborate with the community to diminish poverty. FAE’s vision is to execute projects that create job opportunities and sustain those who need it most. Their general objective is to seek aid and cooperation nationally and internationally in terms of health, education, shelter, and the creation of economical opportunities. Specifically, FAE focuses on female-headed households, most of whom are widowed or abandoned.