Winrock Innovations Newsletter Logo
December 2011

News & Notes Sidebar logo

16 Days Logo
For the 20th anniversary of the global campaign known as “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence,” this special edition of Innovations highlights some of Winrock International’s programs that educate, protect and empower women and youth around the world. The campaign was initiated in 1991 by the Women's Global Leadership Institute and symbolically links Nov. 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. As part of this campaign, Winrock joins with individuals and other organizations to end gender discrimination and violence and improve educational, economic and political opportunities for all people .

Many times, when children experience gender-based violence, they may be ill equipped to cope with it. However, in the past year, school children in sub-Saharan Africa have been learning about this sensitive topic with help from Winrock. Scholars in the USAID-funded Ambassadors' Girls' Scholarship Program have explored the definition of gender-based violence while learning how to report it and what resources exist in their community to cope with the aftermath. For example, South African children serving as “Youth Ambassadors” performed a mock talk show on child abuse and talked with their peers about child trafficking. In Namibia, the focus at the Ebenhaeser Primary School was on careers, with girls and boys exploring why certain jobs are labeled as appropriate for one gender or the other and discussed the challenges of overcoming gender barriers.

For a Tibetan woman, becoming a writer is significantly more difficult than it is for a man, since the contemporary Tibetan literary world is created mostly by men and women’s voices are rarely heard in this context. Read about how a Tibetan Women’s Writing Competition organized by Winrock International’s USAID-funded Tibetan Sustainable Environmental Resources for increased Economic Growth project helped Tibetan women pursue their ambitions.

In Kenya, young women lag behind when it comes to representation in national, regional and local government. As part of the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation Framework process, Winrock is supporting the growth of a grassroots movement of youth to improve their economic, social and political voice. Last month, over 1,000 youth organizations sent their gender-balanced elected leadership to convene County Youth Forums to elect county-level representatives. Early next year, these representatives will elect a National Bunge Association, forming the first-ever grassroots-elected body of youth representatives in Kenya, and likely the first elected body of any kind that reflects the goals of the new Kenyan Constitution of at least 30 percent representation of women in government.

In South Sudan, less than 1 percent of girls complete secondary school and only 10 percent of teachers are women. The Gender Equity through Education (GEE) Program supports gender equity by emphasizing the reduction of financial and infrastructure barriers, social and cultural barriers, and institutional barriers to gender parity. If you would like to support this project, you can make a donation on GlobalGiving. Thank you.

Women-owned small businesses showcased their products at the first ever Mistletoe Market in El Dorado, Ark., last month at the El Dorado Conference Center. The event was a match fundraiser for Winrock International’s Arkansas Women’s Business Center (AWBC) and South Arkansas Community College. More than 50 vendors and 800 customers attended, generating over $7,000 in matching funds. The AWBC provides training, technical assistance, and access to capital services to women entrepreneurs. Funding for the center is provided through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and through matching funds generated by the center .

We want to know what you think! Winrock is preparing to redesign its web presence, including our website. Please take a few minutes to answer this short survey and tell us what type of web content and information is important to you. We appreciate your input .

Are you interested in working at Winrock? Search current openings and post your resume. Would you like to volunteer with Winrock? Learn more about new opportunities for volunteers.

If you were forwarded this newsletter, consider signing up as a regular subscriber.

Winrock Helps Woman Go From Bonded Child Laborer to Agri-Entrepreneur
Winrock Helps Woman Go From Bonded Child Laborer to Agri-Entrepreneur“I spent my childhood as a kamlari,” says Manita Chaudhary, referencing the system in Nepal of bonded slavery.

“It was just like jail and a sin.”

Many poor families sold their sons and daughters for income and to reduce the number of mouths to feed in their impoverished home. Because Manita’s father sent her to work for a local landlord at the age of six, she never attended school. She worked in the landlord’s household cleaning, sweeping, washing kitchen pots and taking care of the cattle. Given only the small amount of NRs.500 per year, she had to wear old clothes from the landlord’s family. She was sometimes beaten and abused.

Today, Manita has two daughters with her husband Ram Kisan Chaudhary.  Manita heard about a business literacy class and agricultural training offered by the Winrock-implemented Education for Income Generation (EIG) project, funded by USAID. She now earns income from producing high-value agriculture crops on her small plot of land.

The impact the classes had on her life was profound. Eight months after Manita enrolled in the class, she was able to read and write and went on to take the EIG agriculture training, as well. Now, she grows high value off-season vegetables including bitter gourd, okra and cow pea and has been earning an additional NRs.2,000 per month for her family. The increased income has allowed her to send her children to boarding school.

However, there are many more like Manita in the Nepal districts of Dang, Bardiya and Banke – they are hard working, honest, innocent, illiterate and often landless. For example, In Manita’s class alone, 13 of her 20 classmates were ex-kamlaris. Throughout the 15 districts of the Midwestern Region of Nepal, Winrock has trained 32,000 individuals in entrepreneurial literacy and a total of 53,852 marginalized youth to earn income from high-value agricultural production and rural employment, greatly increasing their incomes and food security.

Women Leaders Push Women’s and Girls’ Rights to Top of Community Agenda
Women Leaders Push Women’s and Girls’ Rights to Top of Community AgendaIn Nyeromne, a community in one of the most remote northern border regions of the new Republic of South Sudan, women traditionally have been marginalized and abused. Generally, girls have been expected to stay home, instead of going to school, and those who did go to school were sometimes abducted during the 10-mile walk to school and forced into marriage.

However, conditions for girls and women in this community improved dramatically this year. Through community organization activities as part of Winrock’s USAID-funded Building Responsibility for Delivery of Government Services (BRIDGE) program, community members (both women and men) have successfully advocated to reduce domestic violence, prevent early marriages and promote girls’ education. For the first time ever, during community action group elections in Dec. 2010, women stepped up in front of their communities – competing alongside men for leadership positions. Community members put women’s and girls’ rights at the top of their agenda by electing two women to community action group management positions.

The new community leadership worked with local government and traditional leaders to reduce domestic violence and prevent early marriages through a series of public meetings. To promote girls’ enrollment in the local school, leaders worked to revitalize the local school and recruit volunteer teachers.

Six months later, the number of abuse cases and forced marriages has declined and there has been a 20-percent increase in girls’ enrollment at the school. BRIDGE’s assistance to these community groups is empowering ordinary citizens to become effective change agents. Most of all, the formation of community action groups is helping to increase women’s confidence and leadership skills, allowing them to voice concerns and engage in dialogue about issues they historically have been prevented from addressing.

Winrock Promotes Understanding Among Young Women in Moldova, Transnistria
Winrock Promotes Understanding Among Young Women in Moldova, TransnistriaWinrock International, with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and Lichtenstein Development Service, organized its fifth annual Summer School of Leadership (SSL) in August for young vulnerable women, aimed at developing leadership and entrepreneurship skills while addressing trafficking risks – including domestic violence.

Unlike the previous four schools that were solely for Moldovan women and girls, this year Winrock brought together 48 women aged 16-21 from both Moldova and Transnistria, challenging them to find common ground and build friendships. The interactive SSL sessions were facilitated by trained peer-volunteers who served as role models to help girls step into adulthood more confidently and knowledgeably.

As a result, not only did the participants elevate their self-esteem, readiness to enter the job market, and skills in conflict resolution, the women also realized that they have a lot in common and can support each other in life’s challenges – despite being separated by a demilitarized zone and different languages. Many of the participants became more active in their communities and have already shared the knowledge and skills they gained through activities for their classmates, friends and families. Also, the girls keep in touch to provide encouragement and support to each other in their endeavors.

“I frequently hear about violence in families in my village, I grew up in a society where domestic violence is considered normal.” said participant Tatiana Russu. “SSL helped me understand why it happens and how it can be prevented. Now I feel more confident and will not let anyone use violence against me; I also want to help young people in my community to gain the same confidence and knowledge.”

Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Transnistria) is an unrecognized state between Moldova and Ukraine that broke away from Moldova after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. War and tensions with Moldova resulted in isolation, exacerbating the social and economic problems faced by its residents. Young women found themselves in especially daring conditions with few employment opportunities and widespread violence in families. According to one Winrock survey, one in four women in Moldova has suffered from domestic violence .

With AMORE’s Help, Mindanao Women Lead in Rebuilding Their War-Torn Villages
With AMORE’s Help, Mindanao Women Lead in Rebuilding Their War-Torn VillagesBai Aniza Ibay still remembers her three children wailing in fear as bombs pounded their small village in Sapad, Maguindanao - 10 kilometers from the spot her family sought shelter.

That was 11 years ago, when more than 100,000 people (mostly women and children) had to flee their homes because of air raids and fierce gun battles in an all-out war in Mindanao, in the Philippines. Today, Bai Aniza and her neighbors are sowing the seeds of peace in their own village. Winrock’s help – through the Alliance for Mindanao and Multi-Regional Renewable/Rural Energy Devleopment (AMORE) program – could not have come at a better time for villagers struggling to rebuild.

With homes and livelihoods destroyed, it was the women who declared their place a “no war zone.” Most of the men left their villages to fight, so the women stepped up. “We wanted to rebuild the village, but that could not happen if we kept evacuating because of the fighting,” Bai Aniza said. “The ‘no war zone’ held up because the rebels and soldiers knew we women were protecting the village.”

Finding a river source capable of generating 45kW of electricity, AMORE set out to build a micro hdyro power plant in Sapad. To ensure sustainability, AMORE helped organize the Barangay Sapad Renewable Energy and Community Development Association. Women held key positions in the association, which grew to become a small electric cooperative in the village. As more families returned to the village, more connections were served by the association, with some households running their own small business.

“As soon as we had electricity, nobody ever thought of going to war,” said Bai Aniza, proudly. “I never imagined my village and my people to enjoy this kind of life after all that we went through."              jhkjhkjhkjhkjhjjkhkjh

Our mailing address is:
Winrock International
2101 Riverfront Drive | Little Rock, AR 72202
2121 Crystal Drive, Ste. 500 | Arlington, VA 22202

Copyright (C) 2010 Winrock International All rights reserved.