How Women are Supporting Women
The world will never be the same after the surge of the #MeToo movement. The power of united women is a force to be reckoned with, and this online, female-instigated movement brought forth powerful impacts to the status of affairs, the society and the world at large.

In the light of recent events, the Borgen Project went a step further to find out how women are supporting women around the world. More importantly, how women-led-organizations are strengthening other women around the world to fight against poverty and hunger. In this research, two organizations stood out: Mama Cash and Foundation for Women.

Mama Cash

Mama Cash is an Amsterdam-based non-profit organization that provides financial support to women-led organizations in developing nations. Started in 1983 by a group of five like-minded feminist women around a kitchen table, the organization recently received around $5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Foundation for Women

Foundation for Women (FFW) is another great example of how women are supporting women. This group is a microfinancing organization founded in 1997 by philanthropist Deborah Lindholm. Based in San Diego, it enables individual women to achieve financial independence by providing microloans ranging from $250 to $1000.

Whom the Organizations Support

FFW’s nurtures women entrepreneurs in India and Sub Saharan African countries like Zambia, Niger and Liberia, and provide the women in these locations much-needed capital without requiring security money deposits or collateral. In fact, an applicant only needs:

  • An authorized proof of residence
  • A business idea

Mama Cash addresses the cause women empowerment through “movement building.” Movement building provides grants to indigenous women-led organizations that work at the grass-root level in India, Sri Lanka, Peru, Serbia and many others, that then work with local communities to empower its women.

The Funding Process

To understand precisely how women are supporting women, one must pay attention to the funding process. FFW sources fund directly from donors online to sponsor a woman entrepreneur in an impoverished country.

However, Mama Cash has a step-by-step process to select a grantee. The organization accepts applications only once a year during a “grant window,” wherein the company interacts with all stakeholders (founders, advisors, end beneficiaries) before sanctioning a grant. Even after the grant is decided upon, the members continue to provide knowledge and technical assistance to all involved.

Both Mama Cash and FFW strive to achieve a common goal of empowering women to earn their livelihood, attain economic security and gain equal property and human rights. These admirable efforts are uniting women across the globe, and all nations wait with bated breath to see what these empowered females accomplish next.

– Himja Sethi

Photo: Flickr