The Work We Do and Support
WOW! supporters work to raise awareness of the issues that women face in poor communities of Asia, Africa and Latin America. And while WOW! supporters help support World Neighbors entire mission, we focus particularly on those central aspects of World Neighbors work that involve and benefit women. WOW! supporters help fund things like women’s savings and credit groups, income producing work of women, better access to clean water, family planning and reproductive health, literacy programs and couples communication.
However, WOW! supporters also support the work of social transformation within communities. Decades of work have shown us that truly lasting improvements in women’s lives are best achieved when everyone’s basic survival needs are met and entire families and communities begin to value women and girls and act in accordance.
We know that increases in women’s incomes are more strongly associated with improvements in their families’ well-being, especially their children’s nutritional status, than similar increases in men’s incomes. So when women are better off, they ensure that their entire families are better off.
Some of the stories we hear from women involved with World Neighbors work around the world bring life to some of these concepts. As Catherine Wanza Ndungu, who lives in the Makueni District of Kenya, relates,
“The biggest change in my life since we started cooperating with World Neighbors has been in my relationship with my husband and family responsibilities. I had fear of my husband because we do not talk about how we can share our decisions and responsibilities. [These days,] everyone in the house now knows that they can each carry their own responsibility.
The World Neighbors work that WOW! supports is central to helping women and their families meet basic needs like enough food and clean water. It helps women space their children to improve the health of both mother and children, as well as increase the number of girls who are able to attend school. It changes communities so that women are more involved in family and community leadership and decisions. Long lived, harmful cultural practices like that of female genital mutilation and children being married are on the decline. Finally, that women are able to give their personal opinions, make important decisions that can affect their lives and the lives of their family, share give knowledge to other women, and develop into important leaders in their communities.
As Olienne Accide, a Haitian woman who says she became a new person as she participated more and more with World Neighbors work, says, “I would like others to know what my life is like, what changes have happened in my life. I was very timid and shy, I couldn’t speak in front of people. But now, because of [these experiences,] I can speak publicly and give testimony of what it’s done for me.”