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Thinking Ahead blog series

Women for Women International has set big goals to achieve a world where every woman can use her power. Across the world, our teams have set their ambitions high to reach more women and support them better. Learn more about how we’re investing in women by reading our Thinking Ahead series, as we highlight each country office’s goals for this year and beyond.

What are we doing in Nigeria?

Recent social movements have shown that women’s leadership is crucial to the future of Nigeria. After years of planning, the Nigeria team is looking towards an expansion in 2021 to fully invest in the power of participants. Besides expanding the program, we’re equipping women with the leadership and advocacy skills to combat violence against women and support women’s economic empowerment. The team is also investing in women’s financial ability to support themselves, their families, and their businesses through partnerships with United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) to establish savings and loan groups. With the support of a grant from the UK Department for International Development and local Disabled Persons’ Organizations (DPO), we’re living up to our commitment to reach women where they are, and are expanding our work to reach women with disabilities and provide tailored support, so they can use their power to transform their lives.

Read more on our Nigeria team’s goals for women’s leadership and beyond.

What are we doing in Iraq?

Just as staff in Iraq quickly pivoted to support women in crisis in 2020, they’re bringing that spirit of innovation and expansion to support more women survivors of conflict and war. Besides building on their technological success, the Iraq program is helping women forge support networks to protect each other’s safety and address gender-based violence. They’re expanding the program to serve refugees from Iraq and Syria as they rebuild their lives, in partnership with UNHCR.

Read more on our Iraq team’s goals to innovate and invest in women.

What are we doing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo?

Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have for decades faced challenges on multiple fronts, from extreme poverty to multiple, simultaneous health crises to persistent, violent conflict. Yet the future of their families and communities still rests on women’s shoulders. Our team is prioritizing solutions that allow women to access income and savings in safe, social distant ways such as piloting the virtual apps that allow women to participate in Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA). This year the DRC team will also be implementing a land-rights and awareness project, so women can protect their land rights while decreasing the risk of violent retaliation that women often face when attempting to reclaim their land. The DRC team is expanding into new communities and looks forward to piloting projects that have seen success in our other country offices.

Read more on our DRC team’s goals for piloting new efforts and protecting women’s rights.

What are we doing in Rwanda?

Three years after the 1994 genocide took millions of lives in Rwanda, Women for Women International founded an office in Kigali. Since then, 78,000 women have gone through the Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program and supported the reconstruction of our country to make it more equal, peaceful, and prosperous.

After 20 years, we are following the lead of the powerful women we serve and see every day and transitioning Women for Women Rwanda into an independent, national organization. The next few years will be ones of great change and growth for my team and office, but with skilled and diverse Board leadership and the support of Women for Women International, Women for Women Rwanda will remain a stakeholder in the national movement for women’s rights and empowerment.

Read more on our Rwanda team’s future as an independent organization for gender equality.

What are we doing in South Sudan?

When we were able to fulfill our promise of returning in 2019, we rehired many former staff and implemented a six-month program focused on strengthening women’s business skills so they could rebuild their lives and the local economy. Last year, we resumed our year-long Stronger Women, Stronger Nations program before COVID-19 paused programming yet again.

Since then, we’ve resumed again and continue to support women in South Sudan who have lived through it all. The growth that our office has experience would not be without the strength of the program participants and their hope in a brighter future. They continue to be our guiding light through the pandemic and our recovery.

Read more from Moses Abure as he and his team grow our South Sudan program to greater heights.

What are we doing in Afghanistan?

Nearly twenty years ago, war erupted in Afghanistan. The United States occupied my country in an attempt to quell conflict between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Afghanistan has now entered a pivotal but highly uncertain time.

As all parties recognize that a military solution is likely infeasible, increased war fatigue has shifted Afghan and international attention towards a possible political settlement to the ongoing war. Grassroots peace movements and a three-day cease-fire between the Afghan government and the Taliban during Eid in June 2020 demonstrate Afghans’ widespread desire for sustainable peace.

Read more about our Afghanistan team's work to build a local network of women and allies supporting women.