News|ALL|21 March 2024

Championing change and inspiring inclusion for women and girls around the world 

Investing in the education of women, girls and marginalized groups empowers communities, strengthens economies and leads to a more inclusive environment for all. Girls’ education goes beyond the classroom—it empowers women and girls to make choices, seize opportunities, and actively participate in community development.  

Street Child is lucky to work with impactful women-led partner organizations who are championing change for women, girls and other marginalized groups around the world. Their expertise, perspectives and experiences play a key role in addressing the gender gap and ensuring that education is accessible for everyone. 

Recognizing and compensating the caregiving roles of women in Uganda 

In Uganda, Street Child’s local partner THRIVEGulu provides holistic, integrated counselling and empowerment services to survivors of war, with a particular focus on helping women recover from trauma and break the cycle of poverty.  

Women in Uganda typically hold the primary responsibility of caring for their families without recognition or compensation. Dora Alal Single, Director of THRIVEGulu, tells us, 'Women are responsible for 80% of food production for consumption, and provide about 50% of the labor for cash crop production.'

Yet women rarely see the income earned from their labor. While rights protect access to resources and authority in Ugandan society, to claim these rights requires resources, power and knowledge. For this reason, women, refugees and marginalized groups are often limited from claiming their economic rights and citizen privileges. 

'Marginalized groups cannot play in the power games,' adds Dora. 'They cannot favorably compete and so should be targeted alone to access services. Women do not need much support to stand to get on their feet; they just need a little help to leap out of the mire and mud.'

Overcoming patriarchal beliefs and social norms for women and girls in Nepal 

'Women, girls and other marginalized groups [in Nepal] face significant barriers due to entrenched patriarchal beliefs and societal norms,' says Manda Kumari Karn, President of our log-term partner Janaki Women Awareness Society (JWAS). 'Young girls in many communities face a difficult choice between pursuing education and succumbing to societal pressure to marry early.'  

Other barriers include limited access to education and economic opportunities, as well as a lack of autonomy for women and girls. JWAS and Street Child’s ‘Breaking the Bonds’ program targets 400 marginalized women and girls, empowering them with skills and resources to break free from traditional gender roles.  

Through the program, a young married woman named Ashima* learned essential skills in tailoring, financial literacy and life skills. She told Manda: 'Tailoring has given me the means to a livelihood. I can support my family and provide my children with better quality education with the income I am generating.'

Ashima also now employs two other women within her community, uplifting those around her and further aiding JWAS’ commitment to inclusive empowerment.  

'We have a local saying which goes, "A poet brings light to places where there is no light,"' says Manda. 'Similarly, in communities where government resources are scarce, it is the dedication of local NGOs and INGOs that illuminates pathways to empowerment and self-reliance for women.'  

Promoting the rights of girls and women in Mozambique  

In Mozambique, women, girls and other marginalized groups often internalize a mentality of inferiority, which has been ingrained due to societal norms. Boys are often looked at as ‘the superior one’ and are prioritized for educational or financial opportunities.  

'Most women look down upon themselves. They don’t know their rights, they don’t know their worth, and this is because it is what they have been taught,' the team at Street Child partner Girl Child Rights (GCR) tells us. 

Due to social norms seeing men as the primary breadwinner, women in the communities where GCR operates often do not have a stable means of income. This leaves them at risk as women’s financial dependency on men is one of the major drivers of gender-based violence, according to GCR. 

To address these issues, GCR is running programs directly with women to raise awareness of gender-based violence prevention and life skills sessions to help women set up their own businesses. These women can earn their own income, support their families and reduce dependency on their husbands.  

'The financial literacy and self-esteem boost also gives them a sense of authority to not auto-exclude themselves in decision making forums,' adds GCR.  

To further promote inclusion, GCR works with men, community and religious leaders and other male figures with the aim of inspiring positive masculinity and changing perceptions of women in society. Through their male role models, named ‘Male Champions,’ GCR educates communities around gender-based violence and its negative effects on women and society as a whole.  

When girls, women and marginalized groups succeed, we all succeed  

These stories highlight the importance of empowering women, girls, and other marginalized groups to create a more inclusive world for all. When we elevate women leaders, we can create lasting impact for everyone. Learn more from Street Child’s International Women’s Day webinar recap below: 

* name changed for safeguarding