Thank you for supporting women survivors of war in 2020
For women already living in crisis situations, COVID-19 made life even more difficult and dangerous. Lockdown measures exacerbated food shortages, unemployment and financial insecurity. Rates of sexual and gender-based violence surged, while support services for survivors were cut back.
Despite this, because of your support, the women in our programmes have been able to access knowledge and power, build resilience, and drive positive change. We saw how the combination of vocational and business skills, health and rights awareness, and group support structures boosted our women participants’ ability to cope and to support each other though the COVID-19 crisis.
Our teams around the world adapted their ways of working to rapidly changing circumstances, working closely with women and their communities to deliver critical services, information and solidarity. With your help, we used innovative methods to reach and support women, such as online learning, messaging platforms and digital savings groups. We’re delighted that in most locations, we have been able to re-start our in-person training activities after lockdown suspensions, following recommended physical distancing and hygiene measures.
Crises greatly exacerbate gender inequalities - but they also present a vital opportunity to accelerate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critical importance of listening to women’s voices and investing in their potential as changemakers.
Thank you for being part of a year in which women survivors of war have led their families and communities through unprecedented hardships and uncertainties, towards a brighter future.
2020 in numbers
Response to COVID-19
Your support has helped us provide women with the accurate information and health resources they need to prevent the spread of disease.
From handwashing to hygiene kits, women across the world are better prepared to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from COVID-19, with many drawing on the power and leadership they learned during the programme to educate others.
IMPACT EVALUATION IN DRC
In collaboration with researchers at the University of Washington, University of Texas at Austin, Marakuja Kivu Research, and the Innovative Hub for Research in Africa, our DRC team conducted a randomised controlled trial (RCT), the gold standard for rigorous evaluation.
The results of this study help us understand where our programme is leading to significant positive changes for women participants and lay out an exciting roadmap for how we can continue to improve our work and deepen our impact.
Our UK aid funded projects
Throughout the year, we followed the journeys of two project participants in northern Nigeria, Hassana and Saratu, who shared their experiences as they took part in the training and how COVID-19 was impacting their lives.
WE ARE CONGOLESE WOMEN, AND WE ARE LEADERS
Our Country Director in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Audry Shematsi reflects on 60 years of independence, power of women and progress towards gender equality.
IT'S TIME TO BREAK THE SILENCE AND STOP SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN NIGERIA
Buki Onyishi, Country Director of Women for Women International - Nigeria, speaks out on the pandemic that is plaguing her country: sexual violence.
In 2009, Amela enrolled on the Women for Women International programme, which provided support, training and community for women affected by the legacy of war. She was matched with a ‘sponsor sister’ from the UK, Brita Fernandez Schmidt, and they began to exchange letters.
16 Days of Activism
One in three women experience violence during their lifetime, and in countries affected by conflict women are 50% more likely to experience domestic violence. Since the start of the pandemic, this violence has intensified.
Together, we can change this.
Women for Women International is generously supported by players of People's Postcode Lottery.
OUR AGENDA FOR ACTION FOR 2020 AND BEYOND
Marginalised women in fragile and conflict-affected states have been left behind the progress and ambitions of world leaders’ commitments. Our Agenda for Action sets out the five priority areas where we are calling for urgent action to achieve the changes needed for marginalised women affected by conflict.
As well as this life-changing donation, Charlotte Tilbury has continued to support the women we serve by participating in NET-A-PORTER’s IWD collection, the Virtual Car Boot Sale, hosting a makeup masterclass with our ambassador Niomi Smart and incentivising donations with a special Giving Tuesday competition.
The year started off strong: NET-A-PORTER celebrated its 20th anniversary with an International Women’s Day collection of 20-t-shirts from 20 iconic female designers.
With 100% of profits from the collection being donated to Women for Women International, NET-A-PORTER continues to reinforce its commitment to support the empowerment of women affected by war and conflict. NET-A-PORTER built upon the success of their International Women’s Day collection by donating 20% of profits from their holiday collection, 100% of profits from their branded face coverings and launching a social media filter in support of women survivors of war.
Following their participation in NET-A-PORTER’s International Women's Day collection, leading global luxury house Jimmy Choo committed to a 3-year partnership with Women for Women International. The partnership will include an annual company donation, employee engagement programme and a series of bespoke brand activations. In 2020, Jimmy Choo participated in the Virtual Car Boot Sale and raised an amazing $100,000 for our vital work through staff sales globally, helping women survivors of war to become successful entrepreneurs and inspire hope for the future.
St Andrews’ RAG
In 2019 – 2020, St Andrews Charities Campaign chose Women for Women International as their charity of the year and raised an amazing £22,770 for women affected by conflict. St Andrews’ students kicked off the year by organising an adventurous hitchhike to Valencia, followed by a fabulous catwalk. St Andrews Charities Campaign also participated in #MessageToMySister, sending important messages of hope to the women we serve.
Supporter Spotlight: Mira's Story
Mira Borggreen shares her experience of being part of the Women for Women International global sisterhood - from attending #SheInspiresMe LIVE 2.0 to becoming a sponsor and supporting a woman survivor of war.
Our Ambassadors use their platform to raise the voices of the women we serve and shine a light on the issues faced by women in some of the world's most dangerous places. Clarissa could not be more perfect for the role, having reported from front lines across the world including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Ukraine.
She shares five tips for staying engaged and connected with the news, without getting overwhelmed by negativity.
Virtual Car Boot Sales
Born from the creativity and passion of the much-loved annual #SheInspiresMe Car Boot Sale, which was unable to take place this year in May as planned, this new online initiative was an opportunity to stay connected and raise funds for Women for Women International's work with women survivors of war during this pandemic.
The two Virtual Car Boot Sales were a phenomenal success raising over £165,000 for women survivors of war!
#SheInspiresMe LIVE 2.0
#SheInspiresMe LIVE was back for a day of inspiring talks and interactive workshops: we brought our global community together, shared ideas and skills, and got energised to transform our world in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Together, we reflected on the unmissable opportunity we have to build a “new normal” for future generations.
Our work in the press
25 APRIL, 2020 | SKY NEWS
Brita Fernandez Schmidt, our Executive Director, talks about the effect of COVID-19 on women survivors of war with SKY News.
19 MARCH, 2020 | STYLIST
Shan Sherwan Hussein, our Economic Empowerment Manager, talks about how the courses she runs for women in our Iraq programme, equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to sustain an income.
7 MAY, 2020 | THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION
Brita Fernandez Schmidt, our Executive Director, talks about how 2020 was due to be the critical year for women's rights and how COVID-19 put it all on hold and left women and girls living in conflict-affected countries disproportionately impacted.
Best of the blog
As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world, we are hearing from our global colleagues about how the crisis is affecting them and the women they serve.
For the past few months during the COVID-19 pandemic, dozens of Women for Women International graduates in Rwanda have been putting their sewing skills to use as part of a local effort to provide more masks. As well as helping protect their local community, women are also earning an income despite the economic impacts of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has served as a reminder that the existing, long-term challenges we face as a global community are exacerbated in times of crisis.
Over 4,700 of our programme participants in Afghanistan were provided with crucial supplies against coronavirus. With these kits, women could put lessons about health and hygiene from our programme into practice, to protect themselves and their families from disease.
Although Iraq is in lockdown our team continues to stay in touch with the women we serve. Shan, our Economic Empowerment Manager has been making calls and using social media to send women important news about health, government resources, and especially to make sure women know they aren’t alone.
On International Men’s Day, the Magama community offers an inspiring example of what can be achieved when male allies support women’s rights and gender justice