Give a Girl a Chance—who we work with and how we do it
That's what we're trying to do—give girls (and women) the chance they need to live the life they deserve. Why do they need our help? Not because they lack intelligence, determination, faith or ability, but only because they lack opportunity and capacity. Working through our partners, NCP is helping women and girls have what they need to get where they want to go.
How do we do this? Of course money is important. Every year we send around $100,000 to our partners in South Asia, Latin America, and East Africa for girls' education (scholarships, uniforms, sanitary materials) and women's development (skills training, micro-credit, backyard gardening projects, Fair Trade initiatives). Where does this money come from? From individuals, schools and college groups, church camps, congregations, and sister groups like the Global Women's Project who share our commitment to empowering women and girls.
What do we do with the money we receive? We send 100 percent of all contributions to our Special Projects to our partners themselves. What do our partners do with the money? Whatever they want to—well, sort of.
The majority of the grants we send are used directly to implement programs, as most of our partners are small grassroots organizations such as Girlchild Education and Development Association in Sudan, Shakti Samuha in Nepal or a Baptist development organization in Burma, groups with modest overhead and a deep passion for their work. How are decisions made about which programs or students or women's groups receive support? So long as the programs fit within NCP objectives, our partners decide.
So part of “how” we do these things is by listening to and respecting the people and groups with whom we work. Here's what Josué, the guide for our 2009 El Salvador Learning Tour, said to our group one morning after our meeting with members of the community the day before: “I was so proud of you yesterday—you were the first group to ever ask to meet with the community. The other groups, they just come and work and don't look for interaction with the people. Some of the women told me afterward how much they liked it that you wanted to hear their ideas—no one has done that before.”
Another other part of how we operate is by visiting the communities where our grants are given on our Learning Tours. Such visits provide some accountability—for both parties. We see the success or struggles of our partners' efforts; they get to tell us what they think of us! Rose Lamia, a statuesque, strong and well-spoken South Sudanese woman, said to our delegation in a group meeting: “How do we know that you will do these things you have said. We have been let down many times by groups making promises.” “Well, we'll be back next year—and will have to answer to you if we haven't done what we said we would do!” was our impromptu but honest reply.
There are few things more critical for the health of families and communities than the capacitation of women and the education of girls. Such opportunities almost always mean later marriage, fewer and healthier children, larger incomes, enhanced self-esteem. Yet millions of the world's females are limited by poverty, gender bias, safety concerns—or the simple lack of sanitary materials. Join us in our efforts to give these girls and women the chance they need for the future we all deserve. Contact NCP for ways you or your school, church or group can get involved!