Power To Change Fund Success stories
Women in Myanmar face barriers to living informed and healthy lives. Myanmar is plagued with a lack of education on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), HIV and gender based violence. Cultural taboos, language barriers and vast expanses of rural areas pose a great challenge in spreading vital information, especially to young women.
Grenada’s economy is very much based on agriculture, producing 23% of the world’s nutmeg. Nutmeg production continues to play a pivotal role as a source of income, employment and revenue for Grenada. However, the recent decline in the nutmeg trading price on the international market has seriously affected the economy of the country. For the young, the future is equally bleak. Agriculture has little appeal for providing a secure livelihood and many are leaving the island.
Globally, an estimated 140 million girls and women are currently living with the consequences of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Young women and girls are too often subject to harmful traditional practices, such as FGM and child marriage, which increases their risk of maternal mortality or childbirth injury, HIV infection, and domestic violence. In Africa alone, an estimated 92 million girls, 10 years old and older, have undergone FGM (WHO, 2012).
The YWCA of Naucalpan was created in 1972 with the objective of promoting the leadership of women and young women in the municipality of Naucalpan, Mexico. What started as a modest structure offering classes to 30 children, over the years grew into a primary school. Today it boasts 1000 students and also a kindergarten with 260 small children. The students are given medical and dental attention and young people are provided with training in areas such as carpentry, sewing, hairdressing, etc. Adult literacy classes are also offered.
About 650 million people in the world (10 per cent of the world’s population) live with disabilities, and frequently encounter a myriad of physical, economical and social obstacles. They often lack the opportunities of the mainstream population and are usually among the most marginalised in society. Often, women with disabilities are invisible both among those promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, and those promoting gender equality and the advancement of women. As noted in the Platform for Action document, created at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, 1995, "Girls and women of all ages with any form of disability are among the more vulnerable and marginalised of society. There is therefore need to take into account and to address their concerns in all policy-making and programming. Special measures are needed at all levels to integrate them into the mainstream of development."
Since its beginning the World YWCA Power to Change Fund has been making a positive difference to lives of women and young women around the world. Direct grant making to YWCA Member Associations has meant that projects have benefited from a capacity building approach The Power to Change Fund provides innovative leadership programmes and empowering opportunities through dialogues, training and sharing of experiences and skills at regional, national and global advocacy platforms. Projects in 2011 included a range of YWCA initiatives from around the world on violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV, and economic empowerment. Three such projects were carried out in Myanmar, Colombia and Tanzania.
The Power to Change Fund is a permanent fund of the World YWCA, which endows leadership development programmes for women and girls worldwide. A number of exciting and empowering projects were successfully developed in 2011. The YWCA of Finland was one of the member associations that successfully applied to the power to change fund.
Thanks to funds acquired through the Power to Change (P2C) Fund, the YWCA of Sri Lanka provides guidelines and basic knowledge for young women to deal with social issues.
“According to my understanding and feelings, marriage was something like employment with poor conditions of service. Now that I have learnt more on sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and HIV, I know my rights as a woman, I know where to go when I face problems.” (A beneficiary of the YWCA of Zambia P2C project)
A successful project for the rights of Romanian youth was developed thanks to the Power to Change Fund. The project aims to create a non-formal educational programme to promote social, economic, girls/youth rights and advocacy. Three schools participated in the project, and young people were informed on their rights under the European Union and Romanian labour codes.