March 2013 Newsletter

Welcome to the March 2013 issue of the Global Washington newsletter. If you would like to contact us directly, please email us.


Note from our Executive Director

Bookda Gheisar

Greetings and happy Spring!

On Wednesday March 20th,  we will celebrate first day of spring. Hope you can take some time this week to check out the beautiful blossoms all around Seattle.

We have some new and exciting programs this month. We are restarting our Global Socials which brings together organizations working in the same region. The first event is this Wednesday March 20th, bringing together organizations working on India and East Asia. We will also advertise this week our capacity building series for member organizations.

Many of you have been contacted and asked to fill out our member survey. In a bid to improve how we describe our members  and your impact on the lives of millions worldwide, GlobalWA is seeking solid data. Basically, we want to create a positive narrative around the work our members do and really show your impact. So in that spirit, we have reached out to our members to get their support to create this narrative. The data we want to gather is both in terms of economic impact in WA state as well as impact in the developing world – for example, how many kids have benefited from your organization’s school feeding programs over the past 20 years; how many homes have you helped build post Haiti earthquake; what have you done over the past decade in girls’ education? We hope to have a final report on this survey by June.

I hope to see you at some of our upcoming events.

In unity,

Bookda Gheisar, Executive Director

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Celebrate World Water Day – March 22nd, 2013

Each year, on March 22, we join together to highlight the global water crisis and celebrate the progress made to date. GlobalWA is honored to feature two of our members who work globally to provide access to clean, safe drinking water. Join us as we celebrate the amazing work these organizations do!

  • Since 2005, Water1st has completed 736 projects benefiting 82,000 people in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Honduras, and India. Check out Water1st Imagine video to see the amazing work they do!
  • The idea behind Splash, formerly A Child’s Right, was not to create new institutions with their work- but to help existing ones get even better. They work with children’s organizations, serving those with the greatest water needs, and help them build capacity with reliably clean water.

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Featured Organization

Hope and Hygiene with Days for Girls International

By Megan Boucher

Can a small bag of hand-crafted supplies create a more dignified, humane and sustainable world for girls and women? The answer is proving to be yes.  Half of the world’s population faces a challenge often left unaddressed- lack of reliable access to feminine hygiene. During their period, many girls and women around the world might be forced to stay in their rooms or use whatever materials are on hand—corn husks, rags, or trash to try to continue their daily lives. For many girls, their period interrupts their daily life, forces them to lose months of education, causes serious health concerns, and leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. Quality washable solutions are proving to change that with Days for Girls International.

days-for-girls-kenyaAlmost universally across cultures, menstruation is a taboo subject, and yet, for half of the world’s population, it’s a frequent occurence. Days for Girls International seeks to remove the stigma and the shame that a girl experiences with her period and empowers her to understand and protect her body and to take care of her health and hygiene. The organization also helps remove the disruption that girls experience when they have their periods by providing feminine hygiene kits. The mission of Days for Girls is to empower girls everywhere through access to feminine hygiene and, by extension, dignity, health, and education.

Days for Girls was founded four years ago by Celeste Mergens, who was then the director of the Clay Foundation. She traveled to Kenya regularly for sustainable community and secondary education initiatives and was working with one particular orphanage that had swelled from 400 children to 1400 children after the 2008 riots. Three weeks before one of her trips, she woke up in the middle of the night with a random question in her head about what the girls at the orphanage were doing for feminine hygiene. “I gasped,” Mergens recalled, “because I had never even thought about it. I asked about latrines, books, uniforms, and what kind of stove they were using, but it had never even dawned on me to ask this question.”

She immediately got out of bed and emailed one of the directors. They emailed right back a response: “Nothing. They wait in their rooms.” Celeste was “just dumbstruck.” During their periods, 50 to 70 girls were sitting in their rooms on a piece of cardboard, hoping someone would bring them food or water. Determined to do something about this monumental but unspoken problem, she found an NGO that supplied disposable products at a reduced cost for 500 girls. However, she realized that if she sent money for pads and the orphanage needed food, then the money would be spent on food. They needed a more sustainable solution.

The Days for Girls model was born out of this need. A few dozen volunteers began making washable hygiene kits. The kits have since evolved based on extensive feedback from thousands of girls and women worldwide, and the basic kit now consists of a drawstring bag, a plastic Ziploc bag, eight absorbent tri-fold liners, a washcloth, a visual instruction sheet, one pair of panties, two moisture barrier shields, and soap. The idea is that a girl can successfully use and launder her hygiene items with minimal water and inconvenience. She is no longer forced to sit in her room or stay home from school when she is menstruating.

The first volunteers made 500 kits within a few weeks for the orphanage before Mergens’ return to Kenya. After distributing them, the girls shocked Celeste with their feedback. “Thank you so much,” they said. “Before you came, the director would use us.” It turns out that this, too, is what Celeste calls “a worldwide truth:” girls are frequently sexually exploited in exchange for feminine hygiene supplies.

By providing a basic need that many of us take for granted, Celeste and the Days for Girls team have opened up a new world for many girls that goes far beyond health and hygiene. “If a girl doesn’t have this basic need cared for and doesn’t know what’s happening with her body, she can easily consider herself unclean or cursed,” Celeste explained. However, if she has the supplies she needs and gets the information early that her period is a powerful and positive occurrence—that “without periods there would be no people,”—then she sees more clearly the value of women and does not need to feel shame. . ”That changes everything,” emphasizes Celeste. “And I mean everything.”  Women and girls who understand this begin to see that they are not lesser human beings and do not need to be marginalized. They begin standing up to exploitation, early marriage, child trafficking, and other prevailing problems.

Days for Girls works with women to discover their own solutions—their own way of addressing a problem, standing up to injustice, or even of designing the kits. “We are keenly aware that our role as a nonprofit is not just to provide, but to partner in a way that will empower,” Celeste explains.

days-for-girls-ghanaThis attitude was put to the test when the organization was invited to talk to a group of women in Kenya about female genital mutilation (FGM). “We were a little skeptical,” Celeste admits, about being perceived as “ girls from the west coming in and trying to change a thousand-year-old tradition!” They thought carefully about how to open up the conversation, and expressed how much they loved the opportunity this tradition provided for women to come together and talk about what it means to be a woman. Celeste didn’t know the outcome right away but later found out that FGM participation in that community dropped from 92% to 62%.

Days for Girls discovered that talking about periods—what has so often been a taboo subject—opens doors to talk about other taboo subjects. After discussing menstruation, they might say something like, “Okay, now let’s talk about rape.” With these issues out in the open, the women are supporting each other to effect positive change. Celeste has seen women collectively come together and say, “We are not going to stand for this. Next time someone is raped, we will stand by her.” This kind of community building and collective action is a powerful force against longstanding problems.

Today, Days for Girls works in 31 nations on five continents, typically partnering with NGOs that already work in those communities to deliver the kits. They also work with numerous volunteer groups who create the kits. The organization’s goal is “Every girl. Everywhere. Period” by 2022.  Days for Girls was one of 12 organizations worldwide to be selected as a 2013 Nike Girl Effect champion, and as such will receive publicity and funding for their work. There are numerous ways to support this organization. Days for Girls loves partnering with other organizations that can serve as distribution points for their kits. There are also opportunities for people to offer skills like sewing kits, data gathering, research, graphic design and many others.

Celeste was recently in New Orleans, a trip which highlighted the fact that the need for sustainable feminine hygiene is universal. “There are more than 3,200 girls in New Orleans that need kits,” Celeste explained. “We need to develop a whole program there.” She talked excitedly about how this issue brings women together across borders, from all corners of the world. The need for health and hygiene is shared by women everywhere and opens the door for women to come together, celebrate their value and power as women, and address crucial needs in their communities—from New Orleans to Kenya.

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Heidi Breeze-Harris, co-founder and Executive Director of One By One

By Angelina Kalinovich

heidi-breeze-harrisHeidi Breeze-Harris, co-founder and Executive Director of One By One, a Seattle-based non-profit dedicated to eliminating fistula worldwide, is seemingly fated to lead the fight against fistula. Her journey began in her childhood: coming from an internationally focused family, by the age of seven Heidi had been on four continents. Her passion for global work and awareness only further directed her life. She gained expertise in East and South Asia, and has lived in India, Thailand and Japan, focusing on Women’s Studies in those regions. Once she came back to Seattle, Heidi pursued her artistic ambition and worked with Dale Chihuly.

In 2004, pregnant and sick in bed, Heidi stumbled upon an episode of The Oprah Show that discussed dowry burning in India, along with the issue of fistula and its effects on women’s lives. It took Heidi by surprise that she knew so little about this struggle, given her overall interest and previous background in global development. That same week she heard about fistula two more times; Heidi doesn’t take such coincidences lightly.  After learning about fistula, she dedicated two months to intense research of fistula up until the time she gave birth. Heidi herself had a complicated and life-threatening labor experience, which both transformed her life and made this fight for women’s health also a personal one. She realized that her labor and delivery ended well simply because of the access to she had to medical care, which she was privileged enough to have here, in the US.

After that, everything moved very quickly, as Breeze-Harris alongside with her friend Katya Matanovic launched One By One in March of 2005 and raised significant funds in just 9 months as two volunteers. With encouragement from various institutional partners that had become interested in the organization’s approach, Heidi and Katya registered One By One as a non-profit in 2006. This same year, One By One also gave its first grant to Bugando Medical Center, a hospital in Tanzania working to repair women with fistula.

Since 2005 One By One has gone from a volunteer initiative to a staffed grantmaking agency in 2006 and then transforming in 2010 into a direct service agency designing and implementing its own programs to treat and prevent fistula.  Currently, about two-thirds of the donations to One By One come from individuals, who have always been seen as having a major collective impact on this work – as Heidi says, “small is not insignificant.”  One of her favorite donor stories is about a woman named Joanne, who lives in Tennessee. They have never met in person, but Joanne donates $2 every month, and takes her time to write letters and create handmade books about the organization. “This proves that you don’t need to give a lot to focus on what you care about, and do something about it at the right level for you”, comments Heidi. One By One loves its donors, both big and small.  It is proud of its relationships with individual donors worldwide like Joanne, as well as those with foundations and corporations, such as Philips, Johnson & Johnson, Expedia and others. Most of the donors are consistent givers; Heidi confesses that their loyalty is one of the things that keeps her going on days where the challenges seem insurmountable.

Amongst other sources of personal motivation, Breeze-Harris names her family, the professional staff of One By One, and her favorite book, which Heidi always carries with her- “It’s Not How Good You Are, It Is How Good You Want to Be” by Paul Arden and Roger Kennedy.

A true optimist at heart, Heidi admits that the challenges of this work can still be daunting. Like many non-profit founders and executive directors, she struggles with finding a balance between working for social change and time for her own family and friends.  Yet Heidi’s impatience with the pace of change for the women she serves is what drives her to push even harder in hopes of arriving at a better world faster.  She believes that both patience and impatience have their virtues in her line of work.

Being located in Washington State has made a difference in One By One’s work.  Heidi agreed that there is a particular climate in this state that allowed her idea to be turned into something real and become successful. “There is an incredible international emphasis in Seattle. Corporations and people here are sophisticated, aware and driven,” concluded Heidi. There is a mature development sector, which empowers partnerships and has helped One By One expand certain projects and increase its impact.

In five years, Heidi hopes that One By One will have successfully tested their newest model project in Kenya and proven that fistula can end in a region of a developing country. The final goal is to empower local leaders in any country or region in need to have as much information and data and proof in their efforts to bring their own change in fistula treatment and prevention, “One By One.”

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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!

Unitus Seed Fund
is a new investment fund based in Bangalore and Seattle that provides opportunities for economic self-reliance, education, and obtaining basic necessities to millions of people living at the base of the economic pyramid. We create opportunities by accelerating the growth of early-stage “BoP startups” that serve low-income populations.

The Bo M. Karlsson Foundation
The Bo M. Karlsson Foundation started off as a non-sectarian fund to honor the legacy of the late Bo M. Karlsson, a compassionate man deeply dedicated to his family, the natural world, and education.

University of Puget Sound:
The Office of International Programs focuses on providing opportunities for international education and fostering an appreciation for cultural diversity at the University of Puget Sound. Our office plays an important role in the university’s study abroad and international communities by bringing international students and scholars to campus and by providing study abroad opportunities around the globe.

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Global Washington Announcements

New member benefits available in 2013

Global Washington is excited to announce that we have new benefits available for our members in 2013! We have partnered with local Law, Accounting, PR and Communication firms  to offer discounted services for current members. At GlobalWA, we believe this will lead to a mutually beneficial relationship that will help members get access to much needed services and will give local businesses the opportunity to connect to Washington’s vibrant global development community. Sample benefits include 1 hour free consultation and 20% off of ClarkNuber’s services. Stay tuned for more details as we will be communicating with our members soon with a detailed list of businesses involved and discounts available.

GlobalWA welcomes David Wu and Katie Young to our Board of Directors

In other exciting news, we are happy to welcome David Wu, Chief Development Officer at PATH,  and Katie Young, Director of Retail Transformation, Starbucks Coffee Company, to Global Washington’s Board of Directors! In September 2012, Mr. Wu took on a new leadership role at PATH with responsibility for driving the direction of PATH’s philanthropic fund development strategy and operations, expanding its philanthropic support system, and accelerating funding for new innovations. Mr. Wu has a more than 25-year track record improving organizational effectiveness and results through delivery of leading-edge fundraising programs and executive leadership.

Ms. Young joined Starbucks from McKinsey & Company, where she worked in several major sectors including social sector, consumer packaged goods, and agribusiness. Her work primarily focused on agricultural development and food security. Please join us as we welcome David Wu and Katie Young  to the Global Washington team!

The Dr. Is In- Upcoming Member Only Events

From advocacy to communications, our “doctors” are experts in their fields. They have the cure for your most pressing nonprofit complains! This Spring, GlobalWA members have the opportunity to meet with other member organizations who have expertise in areas of fundraising, communications, planning and evaluation.  These small workshops will allow for a more intimate setting where participants can get their questions answered. Experts will provide targeted advice and mentoring on specific issues and in some cases, moderators will facilitate group activities towards targeted goals. Session leaders include representatives from Global Partnerships, PATH, Pilgrim Africa, Splash, RJZ Connections, UC-Berkeley, and Imago, LLC. For more information check out

Collective Impact Work

In February, GlobalWA hosted 7 initial Collective Impact focus group with 100+ individual participants. Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from our members and community partners, GlobalWA will continue to help support and facilitate these working groups. During these initial meetings, participants identified goals and next steps for getting this work off the ground. If you are interested in joining one or more of these groups please contact Amanda Bidwell at for more information and to sign up for upcoming meetings. For a list of active collective impact groups & group facilitators see below:

  • Increasing general Public Awareness: Vijay Talwar (SPLASH), John Jensen (World Vision), David Owens (World Vision)
  • Creating a member clearinghouse: Cliff Schmidt (Literacy Bridge), Ryan Richards ( Lasting Change, LLC)
  • Higher Education & NGO Partnerships: Kathleen Hasselblad (Highline Community College), Tom Rasmussen (Institute for Self-Reliant Agriculture)
    • Business & NGO Partnerships– 3 sub groups have been identified:
    • Increase Awareness & Connections between Businesses & NGOs: Paul Kostek (IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology)
    • Engagement with Mid-Sized Businesses: Kat Schwegal (Starbucks), Cliff Schmidt (Literacy Bridge)
    • Clean Technology & Environmental Biz and NGO partnerships: Burt Hamner (Hydrovolts)
  • Programs for WA Schools: Justine Miley (Facing the Future)
  • Program Evaluation: Joelle Cook (Organizational Research), Nadia Khawaja (Jolkona)
  • Policy & Advocacy: Jonathan Scanlon (Oxfam America), Jonathan Young (ONE Campaign)

GlobalWA Events // Global Socials

Wondering what other organizations are doing in China? Running a small non-profit in Tanzania and want some local business support? Operating a corporate office out of Vietnam and looking for ways to give back? GlobalWA  invites you to meet with people and organizations working in the same region as your organization. Join us every month for the opportunity to meet people working in your focus area, get ideas for your organization, build business and non-profit partnerships, and discuss ways in which, working together, we can make a greater impact. Each session will begin with an informational talk by an activist from the global region of focus and end with an opportunity for you to network with others. Oh and did we mention, happy hour drinks and appetizers will be provided! Cost: $10 GlobalWA members (use member code at checkout) $15 for non-members.

Upcoming Global Socials include:

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Do you want to do something against corruption in India?

Here is a chance to meet Dr. Kiran Bedi (India’s first woman police officer) who will be in Seattle to inaugurate her sister Anu Peshawaria’s law offices in Seattle. Talk by Dr. Kiran Bedi and Anu Peshawaria on “Immigrant Rights in America”

Anu Peshawaria is an Internationally awarder Indian American immigration lawyer, served as the first legal advisor Government of India, Embassy of India, Washington DC.

Place: Kent Event Center
10120 SE 260th St,
Kent, WA 98030
Time: 7pm to 8pm
Date: Friday 29th March 2013

First come first serve.

Host An International Earthcorps Corps Member In Your Home

EarthCorps is now seeking host families or individuals for our international corps members from June – December 2013. Hosts must commit to a minimum of three months.

International corps members are emerging young professionals (ages 22-26) seeking to expand their conservation/environmental skills with practical hands on experience.  Corps members are from over 80 countries around the world and are proficient in English. They will be training full-time at EarthCorps.

EarthCorps pays host family a stipend up to $350 monthly to offset food and living expenses. In exchange, host families provide the corps member with their own furnished bedroom and food, as well as help navigating Seattle and understanding customsin the Pacific Northwest. Corps members must be able to reach Magnuson Park by bus within 45 minutes.

Download and complete an application online, or email Su Thieda for more information.

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Career Center

Highlighted Career

Stephanie BicklerName and Profile
Stephanie Bickler, Director of Engagement and Operations, Mona Foundation, Kirkland.
How would you describe your job?
My main role at Mona Foundation is cultivate, manage, strengthen, report, and track the engagement of the Foundation with its base of supporters to ensure continued loyalty and scaling of the Foundation’s community outreach. More

Highlighted Paid Positions

Office Manager- iLEAP
The iLEAP Office Manager (OM) is an individual with a versatile administrative
support skill set who thrives in collaborative environments, has a gift for organization and efficiency, a commitment to servant leadership, a refined understanding of the art of hosting, and a love for cross-cultural learning and community. A successful candidate has a minimum of 5 years of office administration work experience with a passion for system and process improvement and customer service. The OM will work under the direction of the iLEAP Executive Director and in close collaboration with other iLEAP staff, Board of Directors, and community members around the world. Online application is here: More

Highlighted Volunteer Opportunity

Volunteer- BOSIA
The Sister Islands Association depends on volunteers! We have no paid staff on Bainbridge, which allows us to channel all of our revenues to Ometepe. Our volunteer opportunities on Bainbridge rane from tasks that take just an hour or two to ones that require ongoing commitment.

Highlighted Internship Opportunity

Program Evaluation Intern- OneWorld Now!
We are looking for a competent and self-motivated intern with excellent organizational and communication skills and strong interest in program evaluation to carry out a program evaluation for OneWorld Now!’s leadership program. The Program Evaluation Intern will utilize OWN’s evaluation tool to gather data on our and leadership program and report on findings. The Program Evaluation Intern will also make recommendations for improving the evaluation tool and write a manual for how the tool should be used for best results in the future. More

For more jobs and resources, visit

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GlobalWA Events

March 20
Global Socials // India and East Asia

April 10
Global Socials // Vietnam & Southeast Asia

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Upcoming Events

March 20
Money & Life

March 23
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Family Day

March 27
Habitat for Humanity: Stronger Together Breakfast

April 24
Third anniversary of the Confucius Institute

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