WomenChangeMakers (WCM) is a Fellowship program from Womanity Foundation that focuses on identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs who run organizations working for women’s empowerment, addressing systemic gender inequalities. With the overarching goal of enabling Fellows to scale and replicate their programs and maximize impact, Fellows are provided with access to professional services from partners to improve their organizational capacity. This includes consultacy support, training and mentoring opportunities, as well as connections with investors and other social entrepreneurs.
WomenChangeMakers has successfully gone through 4 generations of Fellow. The first two generations have completed their Fellowship and have gone through the 2016 program evaluation, but remain as members of the WCM network.
This report covers the activities of the Fellowship developed in 2017 only, mainly including the 3rd and 4th generations of Fellows, with the addition of two cases from the 2nd generation.
WCM supports the Sustainable Development Goals Global Agenda (SDGs), tackling gender inequality through its Fellowship program and its work with Fellows.
WCM understands gender equality is an issue that needs to be addressed from different perspectives. Whilst WCM focuses on women empowerment, the Fellowship welcomes organizations who work on different SDGs as long as they have gender equality as a central element of their activities.
Coordinated by Anke Riedel, Casa Angela offers humanized childbirth assistance services to women including prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care, it also runs a mothers’ support group, for underprivileged women and their companions.
Founded by Lilian Prado, Acreditar promotes opportunities in microfinance and entrepreneurship for young people and women so they can develop their own businesses.
The Case of Mulher en Construção
MEC trains women for working in the construction business. Through this work MEC has been successful at both building women’s employment skills and their autonomy, but also in changing public perceptions on the type of work women can do. Given the context of the economic crisis in Brazil, the collaboration between MEC and WCM provided the organization with steady guidelines for their improvement, allowing MEC not only to survive during a difficult time, but to increase its reach to more women, training them and supporting them in a male-dominated industry.
After capacity building support from WomenChangeMakers, the organization is now better structured and has been professionalized. There are now processes in place that allow the team to be more effective in their work.
3rd GENERATION FELLOWS IN INDIA
Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHST)
Mahila Housing was founded by Bijal Brahmbhatt to organize and empower women in poor communities to improve and upgrade their habitat.
Led by Founder & CEO Ajaita Shah, Frontier Markets addresses the lack of access to regular and reliable electricity and lighting in rural India by providing affordable, appropriate high-quality solar energy products.
Apne Aap Women Worldwide is a grassroots organization founded by Ruchira Gupta that works to empower girls and women to resist and end sex trafficking. It organizes marginalized women and girls into small self-empowerment groups, where they work collectively to access their legal, social, economic, and political rights.
Case study: Industree Foundation (IF)
Before WCM´s intervention, IF institutional relations were completely directed by its for-profit brand, Mother Earth. Neelam worked as the visible face for the organization, but her business oriented profile and her scarce time availability were not conducive to leading a suitable strategy for a non-profit organization. IF was in need of a specific strategy to create opportunities and find new donors and allies in order to achieve its goal of social impact. The improvements made as a result of the partnership with WCM are translated into the engagement of more than 11,000 artisans.
Led by Juliana de Faria, Maira Liguori and Nana Lima, Think OLGA (CSO) and Think EVA (business branch) are feminist organizations that fight for women to have more choices and can make them in an informed, safe and consensual manner, without ever having to apologize for their decisions.
Denise Dora´s organization, THEMIS –Gender, Justice and Human Rights, was created in 1993 by a group of feminist lawyers and social scientists to address discrimination against women in the Justice System. Its mission is to create and expand the conditions for women to have access to a support network, as well as to defend the fundamental rights of women.
PLP 2.0 is a mobile app that, through an emergency button, allows women who feel threatened or are suffering gender-based violence to receive immediate assistance and get help from legal authorities.
Dandara (we use a generic name to safeguard her identity)is one of many Brazilian women looking for support from the justice system to help rebuild her life. She was one of the first women to have access to the PLP 2.0 application developed by Themis and benefited directly from it. By using the PLP 2.0 app they could access the Police in a faster way and alert nearby community leaders. Currently, more than 20 women have directly benefited from the organization’s initiative.
Case Study: PLP 2.0 APP, by Themis
Dandara had to go to court many times to seek protection from her aggressor and often found herself unable to move freely, go to work, or be able to wear whatever clothes she preferred. Women like Dandara, who have used the app, have reported improvements in their quality of life, social and family relationships, and changes in the conduct of aggressors. This has resulted in them feeling safer and more confident and courageous in facing situations of violence.
Urogynaecologist Dr. Aparna Hegde founded ARMMAN (Advancing Reduction in Mortality and Morbidity of Mothers, Children and Neonates) in 2008 in Mumbai, India, to stem preventable maternal, neonatal, and infant morbidity and mortality in the public health system.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog
Led by Prema Galan, Swayam Shikshan Prayog is an organization that empowers grassroots women to enable sustainable progress in underserved communities in India. They have transformed the communities where they work, by building self-reliance, and resilient communities based on education, health services, and financial support.
Through 56 collaborations in Brazil and India (32 in Brazil and 24 in India), WCM leveraged USD 875,955 to strengthen its Fellows in 2017. The collaborations between WCM Fellows and the partner organizations added up to more than 5,400 work hours.
For every USD 1 spent by WCM and its Fellows, a total of USD 1.76 were mobilized thanks to partners´ support.
29 partner organizations have helped WomenChangeMakers to continue the success of the Fellowship, kindly providing discounts and pro-bono services.
Partner organizations have collaborated with the Fellows to support different areas of their organizational growth.
In 2017, Fellows of WCM Brazil continued to create positive impact for women in the region.
Many women have attended workshops to gain professional and technical training. Think Olga/Eva achieved a great success in reaching people through social media to spread their message of gender equality with over 150,000 unique visitors to their website.
MEC continued its work training more than 20,000 women in construction jobs traditionally held only by men.
In 2017, Fellows of WCM India continued to achieve impressive results.
More than 260,000 people had access to training. Almost 100,000 families gained access to basic services and housing solutions. Women continued to be empowered economically by the Fellows’ initiatives with more than 20,000 people accessing capital and credit services, 859,000 benefiting with knowledge of their rights, while more than 1,200 girls went through support programs as victims of gender violence.
OTHER ACTIVITIES IN 2017
In October Womanity began planning its 5 year growth strategy for the WomenChangeMakers program. WCM finalized the evaluation of the 2nd Generation Fellows with the help of ZIGLA and Social Synergy, with key insights for the evolution of the program. The evaluation also included a study on the 3rd Generation Fellows. Focusing on the continuity of the WCM Program in Brazil, the UNA Platform (created to map women empowerment initiatives in the region) evolved a lot with the implementation of the quantitative research and sharing of its initial data with specialists.
WCM India Partners’ Meeting 2017 was held in Mumbai, on June 2nd, 2017.