Archive for the ‘Org spotlight’ Category

Org Spotlight: Million Women Rise Coalition

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

Million Women Rise is a coalition of women united in outrage at the individual and institutionalized violence committed against women, particularly women of color and other minority women, across the globe. The coalition is formed from the voluntary and community sectors in the United Kingdom.

Million Women Rise presents ten demands to UK government and society (abbrev.): 1) To acknowledge the discrimination faced by all women, particular women of color, 2) To adopt a broad definition of violence against women that includes domestic abuse, rape, and commercial s ex exploitation, 3) To support the women’s non profit sector, 4) To support EVAW, ECPAT, and to adopt a cross-governmental strategy addressing violence against women, 5) To abolish the ‘no recourse’ requirement for abused women with insecure immigration status, 6) To provide special support to trafficked women and children, 7) To commit to changing public attitudes and behaviors towards women, 8) To hold the media accountable for misrepresentation and misappropriation, 9) T o recognize the effect of global war and conflict on women and children, and 10) To make International Women’s Day a national holiday.


The coalition works to achieve these goals through a program of prevention, provision, and protection. One of the coalition’s largest projects is the annual Million Women Rise march and rally on International Women’s Day in London. The march is fully organized by grassroots activists and has no corporate ties. The first Million Women Rise march was organized in 2007 by MWR founder Sabrina Quereshi.

Org Spotlight: The Banyan

Monday, November 16th, 2015

The Banyan is an organization in Chennai, India that works with mentally ill and homeless women. Homelessness is commonly a reality for mentally ill Indian women who are unable to access care. Accessing care is particularly challenging for families experiencing poverty. Ignorance and misconceptions about mental illness often leads to discrimination against these women by employers, society, and family. Banyan works towards “a vision of a society that accepts the mentally ill for who they are and finds a constructive place for them within its folds.”

The Banyan runs four projects:

  • Adaikalam, a transit-care center for women rescued from the streets where women stay for an average of 6 to 12 months
  • A community mental health project that provides urban and rural mental health services
  • A community living project that provides long-term care for clients
  • The Banyan Academny of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM), a networking project to increase stakeholders in the sector through education and training

Banyan’s model combines medication, rehabilitation, psychological therapies, vocational training, occupational therapy, and reintegration services. In addition to support of mentally ill women themselves, the organization provides support and education to family members who struggle to support their mentally ill relatives. Banyan’s holistic model addresses prevention, rescue and care, community awareness, and research and advocacy.

Since its founding in 1993, Banyan has provided services to over 5,000 women.

Org Spotlight: Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) Nigeria

Monday, November 9th, 2015


49AdJDBlWRAPA is an NGO dedicating to promoting women’s rights within the Nigerian legal system [customary, common, and Sharia]. Founded in 1999 by Nigeria’s former First Lady Hon. Justice F.L. Abubakar, WRAPA works to enhance women’s access to justice, to highlight the gross cultural/legal challenges faced by Nigerian women, to provide legal representation, and to advocate for legal reforms and cultural shifts in line with women’s human rights. WRAPA’s network of volunteers and members operate in all 36 Nigerian states. There are over 16,000 registered members, including men and youths, who work at group and individual levels to advance the organization’s ideals.

The organization’s activities include legal aid and counseling services, mobilization and sensitization, skills training, advocacy for legal reform at the national and international level, work around violence against women, and work around women’s political participation. WRAPA is one of the leading organizations in the campaign for ratification and domestication of CEDAW and the African Union Protocol on Women’s Rights.

WRAPA was one of seven global recipients of the 2014 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, worth U.S. $750,000. It was the only organization that was not American or Canadian.



Org Spotlight: Women’s Learning Partnership

Friday, October 30th, 2015

The Women’s Learning Partnership is a collective of organizations committed to women’s leadership and empowerment. WLP’s network of 20 autonomous and independent partner organizations are spread throughout the global south, particularly in Muslim-majority countries. The goal of the partnership is to empower women to develop their communities, create a more peaceful world, and secure human rights. The organization’s primary objectives are to “increase the number of women taking on leadership and decision-making roles at family, community, and national levels, and to improve the effectiveness of feminist movements in Muslim-majority societies and globally” through capacity building of partner organizations. WLP seeks to inspire a cross-cultural dialogue on class, gender, generation, and nation in order to inspire change.

WLP has four core programmatic strategies: curriculum development of culture-specific training and advocacy manuals for grassroots activists, leadership training for civil society organizations and grassroots women, strengthening civil society through capacity-building, and women’s human rights advocacy and movement building.

WLP has 20 national and regional partners based in Bahrain, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Turkey, and Zimbabwe.

Current campaigns include the , the in Morocco, and Iran’s One Million Signatures to demand an end to discriminatory laws against Iranian women

Org Spotlight: BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights

Monday, October 26th, 2015

BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights

BAOBAB is a Nigerian women’s rights NGO focusing on women’s legal issues under Nigeria’s three systems of law- customary, statutory, and religious. BAOBAB began as a small group of activists, lawyers, social scientists and specialists in the early ’90’s under the auspices of the International Solidarity Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws and formerly came into being as a separate organization in 1996.
BAOBAB works with Women Living Under Muslim Law to support human rights defenders including sexual rights activists. The organization, centered in Lagos, now operates in 14 Nigerian states.
BAOBAB’s mission is “to promote women’s human rights principally via improving knowledge, exercise and development of rights under religious laws, customary laws and statutory laws.” BAOBAB works with women, legal and paralegal professionals, human rights NGO’s, and the general public. BAOBAB programs include:
  • Capacity building through women’s leadership, human rights, and empowerment trainings
  • Women’s political participation training
  • Grassroots outreach and advocacy
  • Ben and Boys Against Violence Against Women pilot project
  • Research and documentation of legal issues as they affect women

Org Spotlight: The Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Monday, October 19th, 2015

Sylvia Rivera Law Project

The Sylvia Rivera law project works to ensure all persons are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression while receiving fair treatment free from discrimination, violence, and harassment, regardless of race or income. Understanding the linkages between gender, socioeconomics, and race, SRLP seeks to reconcile these factors through an intersectional approach to justice. SRLP focuses on poor gender non-conforming people of color who regularly face the most severe discrimination and violence in many realms ranging from employment to housing to healthcare. Many are rejected from essential, life-saving services like shelters and treatment centers. Furthermore, these individuals often face unfair legal treatment and are overrepresented in prisons, group homes, and detention facilities.

The organization asserts that injustice against gender non-conforming people is a threat to justice of all people. “We believe that justice does not trickle down, and that those who face the most severe consequences of violence and discrimination should be the priority of movements against discrimination. Our agenda focuses on those in our community who face multiple vectors of state and institutional violence: people of color, incarcerated people, people with disabilities, people with HIV/AIDS, immigrants, homeless people, youth, and people trying to access public benefits.” (SRLP, About)

SRLP’s works to address both the systemic causes of these causes and the everyday effects on low-income trans, gender non-conforming, or intersex people. The organization has three projects that provide direct legal services and assistance.

  1. Survival and Self Determination Project [name changes, assistance obtaining and updating ID documents, health care advocacy, criminal history/fingerprinting]
  2. Immigrant Rights Project [name changes, assistance updating immigration documents, adjustment of status, naturalization, removal defense, asylum]
  3. Prisoner Justice Project [assistance with name changes, obtaining hormones, obtaining gender appropriate undergarments, advocacy and support around sexual violence, alternate housing, mental healthcare, other civil matters, and more.]

Additionally, SRLP has four active campaigns: Every Day Abolition Series, End Solidarity, Healthcare, and Policy Advocacy.

The Sylvia Rivera Law Project was founded in 2002 in honor of trans civil rights pioneer Sylvia Rivera and in operates in New York City.

Org Spotlight: Women’s National Coalition

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Women’s National Coalition

wncFounded as a response to the South African apartheid, the Women’s National Coalition, unites women of all parties and political persuasions, in an effort to create not only multiethnic but also multiracial linkages.

Launched in 1992, the National Coalition brings together women across the full political, economic, social, religious, and cultural spectrum. It undertook an extensive research program with women around the country in order to identify the changes necessary for their emancipation. By combining scientific, academic research with participatory methods, hundreds of thousands of women were reached for their specific inputs. Their report details the lives of South African women and their self-defined agenda of the changes necessary for a non-sexist as well as a non-racist, democratic South Africa.


Org Spotlight: iDE

Monday, October 5th, 2015


gender1iDE is a nonprofit organization that believes in the power of technology to advance development. Following their guiding principle, 
“in technology, simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” iDE’s first project was as simple as re-inventing the donkey cart in Somalia. After their success in Somalia, iDE noticed a water access issue in Bangladesh and helped to develop irrigation pumps that also ended in success. 

Since that point iDE has expanded through Africa, Asia, and Latin America using simple technology to address development issues. Through their work they also make a specific effort of addressing gender equality. They address gender through the roles that individuals play. iDE has long recognized the central role women play in agricultural development.  Although women do much of the work, they often lack the resources available to men. Given equal access to resources and control over outputs, women farmers are as productive as male farmers. They are also more likely than their male counterparts to use their increased income to pay for children’s food, education, and health care.

Recognizing women farmers as a significant market segment, iDE ensures that women farmers are as likely as male farmers to benefit from program interventions. iDE selects agricultural value chains in which women can actively participate.

Whenever possible, iDE hires female program staff as way to overcome some of the gender barriers that may arise when working with female clients. Also, by recruiting female staff, iDE demonstrates to client households the importance of giving girls and women educational and productive opportunities.

It is iDE’s fundamental belief that all poor people have the right to a secure livelihood, and that both men and women play vital, yet often different, roles in the pursuit of secure livelihoods for their families.



Org Spotlight: MULYD

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Mujeres Lucha y Derechos Para Todas A.C.


ujeres-Lucha-y-Derechos-Para-Todas-A.C.-MULYD2Mujeres Lucha y Derechos Para Todas A.C. (MULYD), “Women, Struggle, and Rights for Everyone,” is the first organized group led by indigenous women in the Mexican state of Mexico, located in the south-central region of the country, focused mainly on working with the indigenous Mazahua women of that region.

Overall, there is a disproportionate level of violence against indigenous women than women overall in Mexico, MULYD says, while at the same time there is a lack of educational programming and support groups or frameworks for those women to turn to for help.

The group’s mission is to contribute to the knowledge and acknowledgement of women’s human rights by developing community leaders who promote and spread effective and appropriate information, particularly on sexual and reproductive rights to other women so that they may fully exercise their rights. The group is looking to grow the movement by educating and creating leaders to strengthen and perpetuate the movement, leaders say.

Currently, MULYD has organized 26 community alliances in five cities in the state, a figure they are looking to double in two years. The organization is also affiliated with the National Council of Indigenous Women and Human Rights Defenders Network of Mexico, more nationally organized human rights groups, to lobby for policy changes at the federal level.

Org Spotlight: The Light and Leadership Initiative

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

The Light and Leadership Initiative

lliThe mission of The Light and Leadership Initiative is to respond to the needs of the women in the Ate-Vitarte district of Lima, Peru in their struggle out of poverty by improving the availability and quality of education offered to women and children.

Lara DeVries, founder of LLI, first went to Peru in 2007. After meeting with locals in Huaycan, Lara returned to the United States, graduated college, and began work on forming Light and Leadership. In 2008, LLI was officially formed and recognized as a US 501(c)3 nonprofit. In May of the following year, LLI began operating programs in Huaycan, Peru.

Through workshops and classes, women are empowered to better care for themselves and their families by improving both their physical and emotional well being, as well as advancing their skills in the workforce. Children are offered similar opportunities and learn the value of education and respect for one’s community. The organization’s core belief is that  the women and children of the Ate-Vitarte district will become positive leaders for change through love, support, and education.