Welcome to the very first installment of FundsforNGOs new feature: NGO of the Month. We will be showcasing some of the most effective and innovative development organisations from around the world that will inspire you to help create a better world.
This month we are honoured to feature the Women Worldwide Initiative. They are a US based NGO with projects in Zambia, Dominican Republic, Guinea and Nepal who work to to empower women and girls to strengthen their own capacities as decision-makers.
Uraidah Hassani, Founder and Executive Director of the Women Worldwide Initiative, joined us to share the story of this fantastic NGO and it’s vision for the world.
What inspired the establishment of the Women’s Worldwide Initiative?
Uraidah Hassani: I was inspired to found The Women Worldwide Initiative (TWWI) upon noticing the lack of high impact, sustainable, holistic and innovative programs for women and girls in the most under-served and marginalized communities across the globe. For example, there tends to be a dearth of attention focused on women and girls in poor neighborhoods in both developed and under-developed countries.
I was further compelled to launch TWWI by realizing that we are able to have an impact in poor communities abroad. We are able to do this simply by asking what their greatest needs are and leveraging our resources, contacts and experience to support or develop small-scale projects to fill the gaps not met by aid; the areas and communities that are ignored.
What is special about the TWWI?
Uraidah Hassani: Our organization is unique in that it is based upon the notion that one cannot go into another community or country and make a plan for it. We believe that the people we serve have very good ideas of how progress and peace can happen and they need to be asked, particularly women and girls. For this reason, our mission is to empower women and girls to strengthen their own capacities as decision-makers. We have an incredible team that is passionate, sincere, experienced and all work pro bono.
Our mentorship program is not a lecturing experience and participating girls receive as many opportunities to lead discussions as mentors. Participating girls develop a personal relationship with their mentor, but also receive the benefit of group dialog and diverse perspectives as we meet weekly as a group. By speaking to young women living in poverty during their formative years about issues of self-worth, health, goals and aspirations, our mentorship program is able to have the highest impact in interrupting the poverty cycle.
We work with communities most in need and those that are often overlooked by aid and support. In the United States, those communities are the inner-cities. Our mentorship programs are in neighborhoods where little to no personal development or leadership programs exist for girls, and our international development projects work with rural and deeply under-developed communities abroad.
How does your NGO change lives?
Uraidah Hassani: TWWI changes lives by empowering women and girls in the most underprivileged circumstances to realize their potential and power as individuals. The chances of them succeeding and being free from want and fear is slim if they do not first believe in their own self-worth and capacity as a leader.
Development research indicates that when we support the growth and empowerment of women and girls, we raise the quality of life for everyone. This is because when women are empowered to lead they not only lead and flourish in businesses, they lead and make a difference in their community, they stand up for their children and all children, and they give voice to issues that are important to our global future.
Why is the Women’s World Initiative important to the community you work in?
Uraidah Hassani: Our organization is important to the communities we work in because we address the societal marginalization often caused by poverty: lack of access to resources and lack of a strong support system. Our programs in the U.S. – in the South Bronx and Brownsville, New York – assist communities that have increasing rates of teenage pregnancy, drug-related deaths, violence, HIV/AIDS and STDs, and other societal ills.
In the developing countries we work in, we focus on strengthening programs and projects around girl’s education and women’s entrepreneurship. In a rural community in Zambia, we supported a local NGO in building and furnishing the community’s first and only computer lab, encouraging the lab to double as an internet cafe run by local women. In a slum in the Dominican Republic, we jump started an income-generating sewing project for women and girls to encourage mothers to be self-sufficient and not pull their daughters out of school.
What is your NGOs vision for the world?
Uraidah Hassani: TWWI envisions a global community of women and girls who believe in their self-worth, are informed and smart decision-makers, and are motivated to be leaders and change-makers in their own lives and communities.
Discover the amazing work of TWWI at their website: http://womenworldwideinitiative.org/