The start of a new year inspires us to make resolutions for change and self-improvement, for doing things differently, achieving our goals and fulfilling our ambitions. Many of us will, inevitably, let some of these aspirations fall by the wayside. Life gets in the way, priorities change, and some resolutions are just plain unrealistic to begin with!
How about, this year, committing to something positive and concrete that we can achieve together? #WhatIf this year we resolve to ensure that more girls and women than ever can exercise their fundamental rights? That more girls and women than ever are educated, empowered, and given a chance to earn the skills they need to establish sustainable livelihoods? That more girls and women than ever are free to live without fear of violence?
Across the globe, W4 is making these What-Ifs a reality, creating positive change in the lives of and empowering women and girls every day. Last year, thanks to the support of people like you, we facilitated momentous change in the communities in which we work, reaching around 15,000 people.
A few examples:
In Pakistan’s tribal regions, our field program, which provides access to IT and education, opened a computer center for girls and women — a groundbreaking achievement in a region where those who support girls’ and women’s education face severe challenges, including violent attacks.
We mobilised crucial support in response to two urgent humanitarian crises — the cyclone that devastated Vanuatu in March, and the earthquake that hit Nepal in April — providing emergency assistance for more than 9,000 members of affected communities.
Our project providing education to girls in the West Bank was fully funded, allowing construction to begin on a new school that will ensure that 100 girls aged 11 to 16 have a safe place to learn, play and build their own futures.
The W4 #WhatIf campaign and project were launched with great success, following the release of a beautiful #WhatIf T-shirt designed by W4 Ambassadress Clemence Poésy, and marked by the memorable #WhatIf cocktail evening in November, attended by over 65 supporters.
Many members of our wonderful W4 community also got involved in the campaign by sending in selfies and quotes about their aspirations for women and girls, including the deeply inspiring participants of our project in DR Congo — empowered women survivors of sexual violence who are taking part in our literacy and livelihood training programs.
Countless other projects were fully funded, including one in Kenya that ensures access to education for young women who would otherwise be at risk of Female Genital Mutilation, and one of our projects in Uganda, which provides solar-powered mobile IT technology and training to children and young women in rural areas.
So, if you’ve been looking to make a profound, positive change, helping to ensure that girls and women everywhere can be afforded the same rights as anyone else, we’re here to facilitate that goal.
We look forward to welcoming new faces into the W4 community this year, continuing our shared (ad)venture to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment everywhere, for the benefit of everyone.