The Time is NOW: Volunteer for Women Empowerment

By Yaara Schattner 12 days ago
 In 1994, the UN published a report stating that the empowerment and autonomy of women, apart from being an important end in itself, is essential for the achievement of sustainable development. As we are heading closer to 2020, gender equality remains a substantial worldwide issue and a key factor in numerous local and global concerns.

One reason is that women empowerment programs (also going by the nickname (F)EMPOWERMENT) find it harder to get the attention that environmental, animal and child care issues obtain. Another issue is that the interconnectivity between causes goes unnoticed.

Because this evident connection is becoming noticeable, gender equality and women empowerment are slowly taking place in the wider efforts for sustainable development. women empowerment nonprofit organizations are emerging worldwide, social-impact companies focusing on gender equality are founded, and existing businesses are shifting funds and implementing methods to create more jobs for women. These are amazing news for those looking to support gender equality: in addition to volunteering abroad for women empowerment, the ways to make a positive effect are only growing. Here’s a short breakdown of issues you can focus on, and ways in which you can help:

Volunteering for Empowering Women

“It’s a simple idea, but remains a deeply radical one: that if we decide we want a different kind of future, we can reach it. That just making the commitment can be the catalyst we need.” Caroline Lucas MP, Why Women Will Save the Planet.

Volunteering serves as an amazing opportunity to exchange skills, experience, and ideas. This exchange is particularly significant when working to empower women because “women are key managers of natural resources and powerful agents of change”, as Jenny Hawley wrote on the International Institute for Environment and Development.

This means that women need to become active participants in both strategy and implementation. It is not enough to have more jobs for women, rather — at a local and a global level — women need to be participating in offering solutions and strategizing. Hawley points out the different perspective on environmental issues and climate change solutions that women bring to the table. Until more women become an integral part of the decision-making process, environmental sustainability is yet a distant goal. As a volunteer, you can work in a nonprofit organization promoting gender equality, or rather work to empower women in educational or environmental nonprofit organizations.

These organizations focus on different aspects of women empowerment:

Girls on the Run in Los Angeles, USA

The nonprofit organization inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running.

Link: gotrla.org

Kenosis Foundation in India

The Indian nonprofit organization focuses on rural areas and support women and children of widows, single moms, victims of abuse and physical harassment, and disadvantaged.

Link: kenosisfoundationindia.org

Sambhali Trust in Rajasthan, India

The charitable organization based in Jodhpur focuses on the development and empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan. Since 2007 the organization has operated up to 19 projects that supply underprivileged women and girls with an education in English, Hindi and Maths, as well as training in vocational and social skills. These projects support them in developing confidence and self-esteem and help them work towards financial independence.

Link: sambhali-trust.org

Huellas que Trascienden in Mexico

Located in San Cristóbal de las Casas, the nonprofit organization combats poverty by turning, in an innovative and integral way, the talents that the indigenous women of Chiapas have into income for their households.

Link: chqt.org

Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment in Thailand

Working since 1990, WEAVE aims to empower indigenous women mainly from Thailand and Burma with a strong focus on refugee assistance by supporting their needs and basic human rights. The projects provide opportunities such as education, healthcare, and business ventures through fair trade.

Link: weave-women.org

Empowering Women Through Economy: Network and Exchange

“Feminine knowledge of agriculture has evolved over five thousand years… the Scientific Revolution remained blind to this knowledge, but was unable to destroy the foundations of food and agriculture.” Vandana Shiva, author of Who Really Feeds the World.

Promoting gender equality and empowering women has an undeniable on seemingly unrelated causes. While women play a vital role in everything — from agriculture to social development — promoting gender equality and empowering women has been overlooked by many nonprofit organizations and initiatives.

With that, those who were and are interested in making this change happen — starting with nonprofits, organizations, businesses, and ending with social-impact startups are more able to do so these days. The ability to support causes online and offer help from a distance has evolved tremendously. This is particularly central in the efforts to empower women because this generates a network through which participants can exchange skills, crafts, and even financial abilities. As this network grows women in remote places gain access to basic necessities, education, and a chance of financial independence. So, if you are not able to head out and volunteer in your own community or even abroad — there are many amazing ways to make a contribution.

Women empowerment social enterprises

Making a purchase through the Basha Boutique will actually assist the Friends of Basha nonprofit. The business model enables the nonprofit to provide support and services for women at risk and survivors of trafficking to escape exploitation, rebuild their lives, and break the cycle of poverty and abuse.

Link: friendsofbasha.org

Another amazing social enterprise is Voice 4 Girls, that works with marginalized adolescent girls and through activity-based camps. Voice 4 Girls enables girls to acquire critical knowledge, spoken English, and life skills and provides them with information about their bodies, health, safety from abuse — and a girl-safe environment.

Link: voice4girls.org

Part of the TAO Expedition, the TAO Women’s Association is an adventure tour company in the Philippines that puts high a priority on sustainability. The association trains and employs local women to produce many of the things needed for the camps and the tours: from sewing mattress and pillow covers for the camps, to cook food for the tourists and guides at the TAO base camp. This gives local women an opportunity to earn money while staying close to their families.

Link: taophilippines.com/womens-association

Women empowerment social impact companies

Making a purchase through social-impact companies can make a difference. The eco-friendly Ruby Cup sells menstrual cups on a “buy one — give one” model. For each cup they sell — they donate one to a girl or woman without access to menstrual care products.

Link: rubycup.com

Empowering women through microfinance

“Bit by bit, I became more independent. I started working with a loan from the microfinance agency Promujer (“Pro Woman”). I used it to buy my first machine and began producing my own pieces of pottery. I ended up paying off one loan and requesting another. Each loan was invested in the business. That way, I began to create an artisan’s workshop. It took six years for my dream of having my own business become a reality.” Francis Gutiérrez Cano, a potter based in Nicaragua about the benefits of microfinance.

Womentum is a microlending organization, on a pay-it-forward model. All the money that they raise on the Womentum platform is a donation, not a loan like other organizations. When women entrepreneurs turn a profit, they pay it forward and give money to someone else in their community to start a business. The Womentum goal is to build communities of women supporting women.

Link: womentum.io

Now you have many options to choose from, you can show support in any day of the year. Empowering women can bring ecological, economic, and cultural sustainable change that is critical today. The road towards gender equality may be a long one — but it is also filled with opportunity.

Know any women empowerment social impact? Want to share your volunteering experience? Write to us at community@givingway.com!