Women for Women International awarded Grant

Women for Women International (WfWI),  is an international nonprofit organization, has supported over 462,000 women, distributed over $120 million in funds, and engaged 402,000 sponsors since its founding in 1993. The organization was founded by Iraqi-American humanitarian and entrepreneur Zainab Salbi in response to the horrific atrocities committed against women in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war.

A $25,000 grant will be used to scale up its work and presence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), directly reaching 300 marginalized women with its 12-month social and economic empowerment program. The funds will establish and sustain its program in KRI through covering staff, training, communication, transportation, office and other program operation expenses. WfWI is requesting a general support grant for its work in KRI. These grant funds will be spent to support the establishment of WfWI’s KRI program office during the first half of 2018. This grant will support WfWI’s work in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. WfWI is currently serving women in communities in the governorates of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, and Dohuk. The project will make a sustainable difference in women’s lives through accomplishing the following: 1. Establish a local office and training center in Erbil to provide services to marginalized women. 2. Deliver WfWI’s 12-month training to 300 marginalized women. The economic empowerment component of the 12-month program will train women in the following areas: (i) numeracy skills for counting, adding/subtracting, and using money; (ii) benefits of savings, basic household budgets, and opportunities for income generation; (iii) business basics, credit, entrepreneurship, planning, selling, and bookkeeping; (iv) working in a group or cooperative, members’ rights and roles, collective decision-making; and (v) formal and informal savings and access to financial services. WfWI will also provide women with six months of vocational skills training. Guided by WfWI staff, women will choose the skill they want to develop into an income-generation activity in a process that will analyse their capacities and assets and be based on local market assessments. Local specialist trainers will be identified to provide practical hands-on training and guidance in these activities. Under the social empowerment component, women will be trained on: health and wellness; family and community decision making; social networks and safety nets; rights; and personal safety. This training will also include gender-based violence awareness and prevention. Similar to a small cash transfer, each woman will also receive a training stipend of $10 a month that she may use to meet family needs or begin saving towards her future.

WfWI’s program activities directly align with the Foundation’s goal, ‘to make sustainable improvements in women’s and children’s rights, education, and welfare’. This grant would support poverty reduction and improved gender equality for some of the marginalized women in the KRI. This grant supports women having full agency to determine the course of their lives, and have improved welfare that allows them to reach their full potential. WfWI program graduates have improved confidence, sustained income, increased assets, better physical health and psychological well-being, greater leadership, stronger support networks, and their children benefit from better health and educational investments. Sustainable change in women’s voice and agency. WfWI’s works with women to nurture their leadership skills and their ability to articulate their own needs, rather than being represented by others, and advocate for their rights in their families and communities. These are skills that can be used again in the future after graduation from WfWI’s program; women are supported to form savings groups and/or cooperatives which often continue after women complete the 12-month empowerment program.