People always ask us: How can I help the world’s needy? How can I give in a way that will benefit a real person and won’t just finance corruption or an aid bureaucracy? There are innumerable answers to those questions, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that many of them involve women. From among the examples in our book “Half the Sky,” here are a handful:
Choose a woman to lend to on kiva.org. The minimum amount is $25, and you can choose from people all over the world. The money will be used to support a business and will be paid back. Or go to globalgiving.com, find a woman abroad whose cause you identify with and make a small gift. On GlobalGiving, for example, we have supported a program to prevent runaway girls from being trafficked into brothels.
Sponsor a girl abroad through one of the many child-sponsorship organizations. We do so through Plan USA (planusa.org), but there are many other great ones, including Women for Women International (womenforwomen.org).
Become an advocate for change by joining the CARE Action Network at care.org. CARE is now focused on assisting women and girls for the pragmatic reason that that is where it can get the best results. The network helps people speak out and educate policy makers about global poverty.
Find a cause that resonates with you, learn more about it and adopt it. For example, we send checks to support an extraordinary Somali woman, Edna Adan (see above), who has invested her savings and her soul in her own maternity hospital in Somaliland (ednahospital.org). Even school kids can make a difference. Jordana Confino, an eighth grader in Westfield, N.J., started an initiative with friends to help girls go to school in poor countries. The effort grew to become Girls Learn International (girlslearn.org), which now pairs American middle schools and high schools with needy classrooms in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
An expanded list of organizations that specialize in supporting women in developing countries is available here.