EMpower seeks to create positive impact that goes beyond the individual young person’s life story. This ripple effect is evident in changing attitudes, perceptions and norms. It can be seen as organizations come together around common issues that affect young people, building upon each other’s successes and broadening their spheres of influence and action.
The Adolescent Girls Learning Community in Mumbai was founded in 2012 by EMpower and four of our grantee partner organizations in India: Vacha Trust, Akshara, Aangan Trust and Vidhayak Sandad. The first three years were supported by the Nike Foundation, with the Novo Foundation supporting the Learning Community from 2014-16. The Learning Community’s goals are to empower and support girls to lead change within their local communities, to train junior female staff members to take on leadership roles and to provide member organizations with the tools and resources they need to build networks and become more effective.
In 2013, the Learning Community expanded to include CORO, Dosti and Stree Mukti Sanghatana. In 2014, YWCA joined the Learning Community. Over 3 years, the 8 member organizations extended their reach to 10 wards of Mumbai and Vasai, India, where they currently work. As of 2015, the Learning Community has trained 160 girl leaders. These adolescent girl leaders have led over 70 activities in their local communities on girls’ rights related to public safety, restrictions and mobility, a topic that the girls chose themselves. These activities – including speeches, rallies and campaigns – have directly reached over 1,700 people and influenced 22,104 more.
Girls Taking Action: Over 800 girls come out to play sports on a playground in Mumbai
To challenge the widely-held belief that girls belong at home, on November 30th, 2015, adolescent girl leaders from the Learning Community organized over 800 girls from 12 wards of Mumbai to play sports on a playground normally reserved for men and boys.
They were joined by Learning Community mentors, EMpower staff, local community authorities, press and the first dalit (formerly known as “untouchable”) woman mayor of Mumbai.
The ripple effect of these activities is far-reaching: the Learning Community has been featured 12 times in local and national print and TV media (in three different languages), and has been recognized by national leaders including government officials and Nobel Laureates.
This Collective of EMpower and 7 organizations-Stars Foundation, Malala Fund, Global Fund for Children, Nike Foundation, Novo Foundation, Plan UK and Mama Cash- came together in 2015 to develop a global awards process and to raise awareness of the value and importance of funding grassroots girl-led or girl-centric organizations. Thus far, $1million in funding has gone to 20 stellar grassroots organizations globally.
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.