Yesterday, The Gates Foundation released their annual letter on their work that saves and improves lives in developing countries. We are as always impressed with the data-driven approach they take, and are this year equally excited to see that they have chosen to highlight issues that are central to us, namely the critical role of women’s groups in reducing global poverty, as well as the need to do more on nutrition, and on family planning.
At Women for Women International, we know that networks help women regain their strength and confidence. Our program is a testament to the idea that community women’s groups, like the ones The Gates Foundation has established in India, provide the psychological and financial support necessary for women to remain resilient in times of conflict. Our participants come together to work hard, persevere, and lean on each other for help in times of need. We have women’s groups for training, for savings and lending, and also, through cooperatives, for earning. Women’s groups are essential to our approach.
We also know that proper nutrition and knowledge of family planning is essential to the stability and well-being of women and families in conflict affected areas. The Gates Foundation has identified malnutrition as a significant factor in child mortality in developing countries, and though the numbers are improving, they acknowledge in their note that 45% of child deaths are linked to malnutrition. In our program, we teach our participants the importance of nutrition and family planning as essential to the health and well-being of their families. Post program, an incredible 99% of graduates report practicing nutrition planning compared to 26% at the beginning of the program. Similarly, 87% of women graduates report practicing family planning compared to 30% at the beginning.
Our program at Women for Women International is built off the knowledge that economic outcomes and women’s leadership cannot be sustained unless we also achieve outcomes in health and well-being and connectedness to other women, hence ensuring our program combines all these elements. Another key part of our program is the value of women’s work – the subject of last year’s equally important Gates Foundation letter.
Though mission may differ, we have a significant level of overlap in our proven and transformative program. We commend The Gates Foundation on bringing attention to critically important issues and look forward to seeing more of the incredible impact of their work where our paths may cross in the future!
To learn more about our work, click here.