March 2014 Newsletter
Welcome to the March 2014 issue of the Global Washington newsletter. If you would like to contact us directly, please email us.
IN THIS ISSUE
- Introduction Letter
- Women in the News: Why Women and Girls Count: Using Data to Help Build Changemakers
- Featured Organization: Ayni Education International
- Changemaker: Rita Egrari, Director, Mona Foundation Pacific Northwest Region
- Girl Rising: Seattle Pacific University Professor Describes Impact on Students
- Seattle International Foundation Announces Call for Applications for 2014 Global Program
- Welcome New Members
- Upcoming GlobalWA Member Events
- Conferences & Trainings
- Career Center
- GlobalWA Events
Members and Friends,
We are excited to announce two very important additions to the Global Washington team.
Kristen Dailey has joined us as Interim Executive Director. Kristen has over 18 years of experience in international development, including advocacy, issue campaigns, microcredit, and building partnerships among NGOs, businesses and government agencies. Most recently, she served as Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President at the Initiative for Global Development, where she played a leadership role in growing the organization from a small Seattle program to an international business alliance. Read more about Kristen and her background.
Also, Jeffrey Riedinger has joined the team as a member of our Board of Directors. Jeffrey serves as Vice Provost of Global Affairs at the University of Washington. He oversees the university’s activities in the global arena, including study abroad programs, student and faculty exchange programs, and support services for UW’s research and academic centers abroad. Before joining UW, Jeffrey was Dean of International Studies and Programs at Michigan State University, where he facilitated multidisciplinary research and project collaboration. He also formulated proposals for external funding and strategic partnerships abroad to advance research, teaching and engagement on critical global issues. Read more about Jeffrey and his background.
Last week we celebrated International Women’s Day, and we’ve dedicated our March newsletter to the strength and potential of women and girls everywhere. We celebrate those fighting for gender equality, and support them in their efforts to make the world more equal and just.
I hope you’ll take time to read the stories below, which include several about GlobalWA member organizations that are empowering women and girls and encouraging them to flourish. This is just a snapshot of work being done in Washington State’s global development community. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and thus be a small part of the work you’re doing to create a better world.
Bill Clapp, Founder, President of the Board
Women in the News
Why Women and Girls Count: Using Data to Help Build Changemakers
By Holly Koch
What does it look like when three of the country’s most influential women come together to empower women and girls? On Feb. 13, Melinda French Gates, philanthropist and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; and her daughter Chelsea Clinton, sat down at New York University to launch a new collaboration called “No Ceilings: A Full Participation Project.”
No Ceilings will aggregate hard data to identify gaps in gender equality as a way to target resources and to fuel an international dialogue about why investing in girls is vital to development. Using the Beijing Conference on Women of 1995 as a marker for progress, No Ceilings will measure gains and losses in gender equality to inform future programs.
“The data is very prescriptive,” said Gates. “Data makes a huge difference in terms of where you make investments and where you can see you’re making progress and where you’re not.”
One of the most difficult barriers to cross in obtaining data is knowing where to look. “Women are in the informal economy, which nobody measures,” said Secretary Clinton. Of our responsibility to these women, she said, “We need to be valuing the work women do and we need to be opening doors so that more women are able to participate in the so-called formal economy.”
Regarding the domestic gender gap, Secretary Clinton and Gates touched on the lost ground the U.S. has seen in the percentages of female graduates in computer science. Gates explained that at the time she graduated with her degree in 1987, women made up 33 percent of graduates; by 2001 the percentage had dropped to 20 percent, and by 2011 the number was even lower at 16 percent.
“Where we lose girls are those critical middle school years, where girls and boys start to lose their self confidence, but girls usually first,” said Gates. Adding to this, Secretary Clinton said, “This is a period when women begin to doubt themselves, when they, unfortunately, develop the perfectionist problem.”
Gates and Secretary Clinton spoke of the importance of women holding up other women, but agreed on the necessary role of men in gender equality. “It takes men using their voices and their positions to both mentor and sponsor women, to then pull them up,” said Gates. On the role of women to be the changemakers in their own lives, Gates advised, “If you’re a changemaker in the world, you’re usually up against something tough – I don’t care what your field is – so, have a base of support back home that you can rely on, that you can try your ideas out on first.”
In what should be an anthem for any woman wanting to empower herself to make a difference, Secretary Clinton urged, “Start with a passion for what you want to do, what you want to change. Become as well educated as you possibly can. Get all the evidence. Practice your arguments. Don’t assume just because it’s the right thing to do people will do it … and then work on your own confidence and your own ability to withstand the inevitable criticism that will come your way.”
To watch the full discussion, click here.
Ayni Education International
By Holly Koch
Imagine a school for young girls located in the middle of a war zone. It is a cluster of tents tattered by the extreme shifts in temperature of the harsh climate of Balkh Province in northern Afghanistan. If the girls are lucky, they will have a stone to sit on during class. Now, imagine that the development of their country, which hovers at the bottom of the UN Poverty Index, depends on their education.
This is the educational landscape for thousands of girls within which Seattle-based Ayni Education International operates. After Ayni (pronounced “eye-knee”) is invited into an area, a prerequisite for its work, it builds and repairs schools, which include libraries, security walls and guards, latrines and libraries, before handing them over to the Afghan government’s Ministry of Education, to be integrated into the formal education system. Ayni also offers training in their highly competitive computer programs and teacher certification program.
While Ayni has contributed to schools for boys, its focus is on providing the infrastructure, both physical and institutional, for the education of women and girls.
“We’re building upon a statistic,” said Executive Director Ginna Brelsford, “which is, 40 percent of girls in Afghanistan are in school now, which means our work isn’t done. It’s gotten better, but we still need to tackle getting 60 percent more girls in school.” Of Ayni’s pursuit of full participation of girls in school, she said, “Without question, when you educate a girl, you end up educating a whole family,” an important statistic in Afghanistan where families often have upwards of over ten members.
The obstacles to reaching more Balkh girls, while not insurmountable, are formidable. For one, “culturally, after a certain age, girls aren’t allowed to be taught by men,” said Brelsford. This is compounded by the fact that approximately 245 of 412 districts in the province don’t have a woman who is certified to teach. As Brelsford puts it, “If there aren’t enough women who are able to teach, then the fact is, you don’t go to school.”
To combat this issue, Ayni established a teacher-training certification program wherein women’s education and transportation are sponsored. After the program, “the new teachers tend to go back to their villages,” Brelsford said. “So, it sets up a system where you build into the village structure more and more teachers who are female and who are qualified to provide education to the girls in the village.”
Another obstacle to the education of girls, historically, has been a lack of male leaders’ support. “Without support of fathers, husbands and brothers, it’s hopeless,” Brelsford explained. However, Ayni has begun to see a shift. “What we’ve seen is an increasing number of men who are incredibly supportive of girls’ education.” This support has also been influential on the effects of child marriage, according to Brelsford. “We’ve seen more and more girls who are already married but still coming back to school and working toward graduation, and that’s a different trend.”
Ayni also operates a successful computer training program. With help from the Paul Allen Foundation, National Geographic, and Seattle International Foundation, the program teaches basic Microsoft Office skills and Internet use, which keeps students current with the world’s technological shift, and it sets them apart from other applicants in the job market. A program Ayni originally thought might garner modest interest has seen an explosion of demand. “We could do nothing but build computer programs,” said Brelsford.
In addition to bolstering the education of girls, the organization is also improving the lives of local workers. Ayni hires and trains local labor to build and renovate the schools, as well as to dig wells for drinking water. “There’s no question that we’re having an impact on the local economy,” said Brelsford.
In Seattle, Ayni partners with the University of Washington School Of Architecture and the Janet W. Ketcham Foundation to “marry architectural design and sustainable development with international development and poverty eradication,” said Brelsford. The goal is to build a “space for girls to come into a place of beauty while they’re learning. I think that enhances not just their well being, but their ability to absorb the learning material that they’re being given.”
That in itself is going to give women and girls in Afghanistan a fighting chance to reach their potential.
Rita Egrari, Director, Mona Foundation Pacific Northwest Region
By Holly Koch
Spend just a little time talking with Rita Egrari and you’ll know you’ve met someone who is doing exactly which she was meant to do. Egrari, director of Mona Foundation’s Pacific Northwest regional office, embodies a dedication to women and girls. While her focus began with an interest in the health of mothers and children, which lead to a B.S. in Nutritional Sciences and a Ph.D. in Public Health, her path was directed to education early on in her career.
It was a trip to a small village in Kenya for an internship during her Masters program that would ultimately guide Egrari to her present work. Of the women she met there, she said, “I felt that if they had had the same opportunities as me, they would be so much more than I could ever be, and that really affected me. It became a driving force for me to want to have education for all women, because I could see the lost potential.”
Three children and a doctoral degree later, Egrari attended a party in 2003 where she was introduced to Mona Foundation and its founder, Mahnaz Aflatooni Javid. “We ended up talking the whole night,” she said. Of her reaction to the organization, “I absolutely fell in love with its approach to development.” Two years later, she transitioned from her volunteer position to the Board of Directors. That same year, Egrari’s husband joined Mona’s Board of Advisors. “It’s been really great to partner with him and something that we both love,” she said.
As Egrari described the different projects she has visited as a part of Mona’s yearly site evaluations, there was a theme that emerged of what impacted her most: The joy in the women she met that was created by the opportunity to get an education. “They were happy,” she said.
Of the effect education has on students’ self-esteem, she said, “They realize that, ‘Yeah, I might be poor…but I can do something. I can give back,’ and I think that shifts the mindset of people.”
On a trip to Cambodia with her son, she said that, despite the poverty in which the students were living, it was not the state of their clothes or lack of shoes that her son noticed. “What he saw were kids that were so happy getting an education.”
All of Egrari’s children have visited an international Mona Foundation project because she wanted to instill that same sense of agency in her children. “I’m so happy that they experienced that because it’s given them a passion that they can make a difference.”
When asked about her passion for the education of women and girls as the catalyst for change in communities, she said emphatically, “I really am! It’s so real. I mean, I’ve seen it over the last 20 years of being involved in development.” Of getting involved, she said, “I think every one of us has the opportunity to contribute whether we’re doing it professionally or not.”
Egrari urged people to read books such as Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and watch movies like Girl Rising, “and get uncomfortable” with the knowledge that women and girls are oppressed in many parts of the world. “Let’s talk about it.”
Egrari also serves on the board of Recovery Café. “They work with folks that are afflicted with addiction and homelessness to help them remember that they are worthy and loved for who they are, and that becomes their tool set for overcoming addiction,” she said. Of working with the organization, it’s “something incredibly meaningful to me at a local level.”
Of her own goals, “the development of Mona Foundation itself as an agency” and “further examining how I can be of service to my own community” are paramount. “So, while I guess my passion is international, I also believe in being mindful about giving back to my local community too. I certainly love the opportunities that exist in Seattle.”
Seattle Pacific University Professor Describes Impact on Student
By Holly Koch
As I walked into the First Free Methodist Church for the screening of Girl Rising, the pews were filled with an audience of mostly young women. Seattle Pacific University’s Professor Dr. Margaret Diddams spoke to the audience about the realities of global injustice and that one of the most important solutions was dedication to international development. Two girls in front of me looked at each other with wide eyes and bright smiles, elbowing each other in a way you might expect to see young girls reacting to a cute boy. These girls, however, were lighting up at the prospect of making the world a better place. I wondered what the nine stories of struggle and courage would inspire them to do.
To find out, I asked Diddams. “There is a growing concern in America, and in the Free Methodist Church, in particular, with human trafficking,” she began. “I think as people learn more and more about it, they understand that it’s a global issue that’s also in our own backyard.”
Human trafficking and gender inequality benefit greatly from the lack of information and conversation about them. “Watching this film is a place where people can go, ‘I didn’t know,’ and that’s why I’m excited,” said Diddams.
As with any problem, sustainable impact will come not only from addressing the effects, but also from directing attention to the societal causes. “Where I see traction happening is our students are seeing the root causes of trafficking, that those roots go deep, and that if you want to deal with this problem, it’s not just stopping the trafficking,” said Diddams. “It’s building capacity and resources for communities in which this is happening. Education of women is one of them.”
As more people, and students in particular, become aware of social issues in need of advocacy, more of them want to get involved. It is then up to organizations to know what potential volunteers are seeking in an experience. What Diddams has seen is that students “really want to make a difference. They want to see that their life has meaning and that what they do is purposeful.” One problem she says is “Students don’t always know how.” Another issue her students run into is “They don’t always know what the commitment is going to be, and that can be kind of scary.”
To find ways to get involved, Diddams says students are directed to SPU’s Center for Career and Calling, the on-campus SPU Abolitionist Club, and to the opportunities available at GlobalWA. Of the final resource, she said, “The goals of GlobalWA are totally aligned with what we want to do with education as a transformational experience.”
A final recommendation Diddams left with students on how to effect change was this: “A good leader is cranky and hopeful. To want to drive change, you have to be cranky about how things are today, but you also have to be hopeful that they can change.”
Click here to see available volunteer opportunities with GlobalWA member organizations.
Seattle International Foundation Announces Call for Applications for 2014 Global Program
The Seattle International Foundation (SIF) is accepting applications for the 2014 Global Program beginning March 24, 2014. The Global Program supports local organizations based in Washington state that are working internationally. SIF is interested in development projects in all regions of the world. The Global Program is open to 501(c)3 organizations, or those with fiscal sponsorship, with an annual organizational or project budget of less than $2 million (USD). The deadline to apply is April 27, 2014. For more information, please visit: www.seaif.org.
Welcome New Members
Please welcome our newest Global Washington members. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with their work and consider opportunities for support and collaboration!
The Krista Foundation: Provides mentoring support and Service and Leadership Development Grants for young adults engaged in voluntary or vocational service as an expression of their Christian faith. Seeks to encourage a new generation of leaders to develop a lifelong ethic of service, civic engagement and global understanding. The Krista Foundation honors the life and vision of Krista Kimberly Hunt Ausland, who was killed at age 25 while volunteering with her husband, Aaron, in global service in rural Bolivia. Inspired by Krista’s desire “to show God’s love in actions,” her family and friends wanted an enduring legacy to celebrate her spirit of active love and faith. http://www.kristafoundation.org/
Third Sector Company: Founded in 2002 by nonprofit professionals to benefit their peers, The Third Sector Company, Inc. is a highly specialized professional services organization deeply committed to and driven by a mission statement that values human capital development as fundamental to an organization’s success. http://thirdsectorcompany.com/
Upcoming Member Events
March 11, 2014:
World Affairs Council // The Magic of Turkey
March 12, 2014:
Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies //A Taste of Life in Israel Film Screening
March 12, 2014:
Washington Clean Technology Alliance // Controversy Over Coal Terminals: Should the Northwest Export Coal?
March 13, 2014:
Shoreline Community College // Project Education Kenya: Transferring Lives through Education
March 13, 2014:
Seattle University, MA in Transformational Leadership // Information Session
March 18, 2014:
Habitat for Humanity // Annual Benefit Luncheon
March 19, 2014:
Woodland Park Zoo // Thrive
March 21, 2014:
Landesa // Annual Seed the Change Luncheon
March 23-28, 2014:
Evans School of Public Affairs, UW // Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute
March 24, 2014:
Engineers Without Borders // Monthly Project Committee Meeting
March 24, 2014:
IDRI // World TB Day Event
March 25, 2014:
Trade Development Alliance // International Hot Topic Series Presents: 2014 Business Outlook for Mexico
March 25, 27, and April 1, 2014:
NPH USA // Faces of Hope – NW region
March 27, 2014:
World Trade Center Seattle // Next Generation Sustainability: Cutting Edge Practices for Small Business
April 4, 2014:
Trade Development Alliance // Trade Alliance Coffee Break: Opportunities with Australia
April 5, 2014:
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center // Family Day: Food for Good
Conferences & Trainings
March 12, 2014:
Essentials of Grantwriting
March 20, 2014:
Leadership from Within
March 26-28, 2014:
March 28-30, 2014:
Human Rights Watch Film Festival at SIFF Film Center
April 3, 2014:
Nonprofit Board Membership 101
April 4-6, 2014:
Western Regional International Health Conference
April 12, 2014:
11th Annual Global Health & Innovation Conference
Highlighted Paid Positions
Fund Development Coordinator – Etta Projects
Grants & Compliance Manager – Splash
Youth Programs Specialist – Woodland Park Zoo
Highlighted Volunteer Position
New Chapter Opportunity – Healing the Children
Highlighted Internship Positions
Communications and PR Intern – Global Visionaries
For more jobs and resources, visit http://globalwa.org/strengthen/careers-in-development/
New Member Orientation
Executive Director Roundtable