Wednesday, December 30, 2015

WEA not alone

“As a young child, barefoot women and girls carrying heavy containers of water on their heads, walking long distances under the searing sun were a common sight. The reality of this stayed with me, and I knew I would do something about it someday.”

Through the support and investment of our friends and partners, WEA has unlocked the future for leaders like Olanike Olugboji, a WEA founding mother, who participated in our first Women and Water Training in Kenya, and then returned to Nigeria with a clear vision and a strong network. Equipped with technical skills, entrepreneurship training, and seed funding, Olanike launched her own NGO called WISE, which today has trained over 3,000 women in clean energy, safe water technologies, and entrepreneurship. Her work has created refuge for Nigerian women, who risk rape or assault on the long walks to fetch water and firewood, as well as opportunity for women to create a livelihood and secure a future for their children.

After joining WEA as a regional coordinator, Olanike linked with women around the world. She is not only a regional leader, but she has a global reach as well. Olanike is a correspondent with World Pulse, a recipient of numerous international awards, and a participant in several prestigious leadership trainings. In 2016, WEA will collaborate with Olanike and her team to train women in promoting and selling clean cookstoves, linking up with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves in Nigeria. (If a woman cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner over a wood fire, she suffers the equivalent of smoking between 3 and 20 packets of cigarettes a day. Over 120,000 Nigerian women die annually from inhalation of firewood smoke.) Olanike's impact on the environment and on women’s well-being and livelihood has only just begun.

Our community of supporter such as yourself are a vital part of WEA’s efforts to build alliances. As we embark on our 10th year, please join with the others in this global alliance to ensure WEA’s impact and our solid beginning to the next decade. We are just $2,000 from reaching our Year-End Campaign goal. Please know that a gift of $100, $50 or $20 makes a huge difference. Together, we can build the leadership of women who will create a future of balance, health, and peace for our world.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wishing you peace this holiday season

The Peace of Wild Things

By Wendell Berry 

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

As we gather together with friends and family to celebrate the season of peace and joy, we hope that you offer this point for reflection and wish you all the peace of the natural world. Let us remember the tranquility that can be found all around us and give thanks. As we think about this beautiful poem, may contemplate the effect that the environment has on us as well as the effect we have on it, and the value of this relationship.

Happy Holidays from the WEA family to yours!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Women Climate Warriors

"I’ve got a 25-year-old son named Abe. I’ve got a 20-year-old daughter named Jessie. I would throw myself in front of a bus if it was coming at them. We all need to throw ourselves in front of this bus called climate change."

— Mindy Lubber, one of Vogue's 13 Climate Warriors 

Have you seen the absolutely stunning piece VOGUE published just as COP21 was getting underway? The articleand the profoundly beautiful photographs by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin that accompanied itfeature 13 of the formidable women leading the way on climate action.

Elizabeth Yeampierre. Photo: Vogue

Meet all 13 of these fierce women by checking out the full article here.

While we so deeply respect these women climate warriors and all they do, we also recognize that there are many more women living on the frontlines of climate change and taking action to protect their communities.  We are humbled and honored to support a number of these women and communities.

Monday, December 14, 2015

An Anthem of Climate Action and Hope

This inspirational music video from 1 Million Women, calling women from around the world to speak up about climate change and hope, is out-of-this-world amazing!

As we all look over the Paris Agreement, adopted just two days ago at COP21, and consider the message of hope it brings, this anthem is being spread around the world, creating sparks and starting discussions about how climate policies can be created and enhanceda critical message as countries decide whether to ratify the Agreement.

You can read more about 1 Million Women’s anthem and movement here.

Friday, December 11, 2015

[In the News] The First Woman Of Women: How Melinda Gates Became The World's Most Powerful Advocate For Women And Girls

We're loving this look at the life and work of Melinda Gates, co-founder and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and a champion for the health and rights of women and girls.

Photo: Forbes
For the first decade and a half of its existence the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation deployed its remarkable scale toward eradicating polio and malaria, and experimentation in education issues. But over the past few years Melinda Gates has embraced having her name on the letterhead of the largest-ever charitable foundation, along with the influence that comes with that. She has become the most powerful person on the planet whose singular focus is women and girls...

"When you get women in roles of leadership, we make things happen,” Gates says. “It takes us using our voice, and it also takes us making investments, huge investments, in women and girls.”
Melinda Gates has stepped up to use her voice and platform, as well as make those huge, critical investments. We are so inspired by the message this sends about the importance and global impact of investing in the leadership of women and girls.

It's through women leaders like these, believing in the women leaders on the ground, that we can change the world.

Read the full article on Forbes.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Women are the victims of climate change – and the keys to climate action

Are you keeping an eye on the goings on at COP21 in Paris?  We are, and we're especially interested to see if/how a gendered perspective is incorporated into any (and, hopefully, every!) discussions and mechanisms for moving forward on climate action in a sustainable way.

For more of our take on COP21, read our recent post here, and for an even deeper look at why a gendered lens is so integral to developing effective solutions around climate change, check out this article from The Guardian.

Photo: The Guardian

"As the nations of the world meet in Paris to address climate change, it is critical that women play a central role in these historic negotiations. Gender equality is central to effective climate action. The world cannot afford to neglect the needs of half the world’s population, nor ignore their talents and potential in innovating solutions...

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security recently released a new study that examines climate change as a human rights imperative, global security threat and a pervasive strain on economic stability. The report highlights how women bear severe gendered impacts of climate change – including adverse health, economic, social and physical consequences – but systematically lack equal representation in decision-making. 

The report also demonstrates – through a plethora of examples from around the world – that women are critical agents of change. Despite their vulnerabilities, women contribute to both adaptation and mitigation efforts in many parts of the world through creative, localized solutions. Numerous mediating institutions are working to provide women with opportunities to create their own sustainable businesses that also serve to reduce the global threat of climate change"
We'd love to hear what you think about COP21!