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Last week, dozens of women in Saudi Arabia got behind the wheel. Driving while female may seem trivial or mundane to us, but this is a major act of courage for Saudi women. While driving is technically not illegal for women in Saudi Arabia, they are banned from obtaining driver’s licenses, along with countless other acts of independence. Yet over 60 women (most equipped with international driver’s licenses and experience) coordinated a “drive-in” and posted videos of their activity online, continuing a small but persistent movement for improving women’s rights.

The Associated Press reports that the first time a Saudi female driving protest took place, in 1990, 50 women were arrested, had their passports confiscated and lost their jobs. But not a single woman was arrested on Wednesday. Activist and professor Aziza Youssef explained that they plan to continue driving and posting photos and videos, which they hope will normalize the notion of women driving. Check out some of their videos on The Guardian’s website.

Youssef and the other female Saudi drivers are an inspiration for women empowerment efforts everywhere, including partners and participants in Jolkona’s Women and Girls Give Together campaign. We believe that when given the right economic support and educational tools to rise out of poverty and oppression, women can make an incredible impact on the world.

If you want to make an impact of your own for women and girls, there’s only a few days left in this month’s Give Together campaign, with collective funds going to support Jubilee Women’s Center, MADRE, and the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation. We have $1,500 in matching funds from the Seattle International Foundation, which will double these Give Together donations and amplify October gifts to our Give Direct projects that also support women and girls.

Time is running out: help empower a woman or girl today!

Photo by MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images

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Seattle may be best known for its contributions to the music, tech, fishing and coffee industries, but did you know it’s also a major hub for global philanthropy? The region is home to more than 300 organizations — including Jolkona and about a third of our nonprofit partners, plus powerhouses like the Gates Foundation and World Vision  — working to improve lives in the world’s 144 developing countries. I think we need a brand, like Silicon Valley. How about Compassion Corner?

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 2.09.52 PMAimed at raising awareness of our amazing global development sector, Jolkona partner Seattle International Foundation and the Office of the Mayor launched the Seattle Ambassador program earlier this year, inviting citizens to apply to be the city’s representative on tours of poverty-alleviation projects abroad. The inaugural ambassador is Jozlyn Pelk, 21, a University of Washington – Bothell senior who is currently making her first trip outside the United States, visiting Guatemala and Nicaragua. She’ll be back next week, making her first public remarks about her trip at Jolkona’s Corks & Forks celebration on Oct. 10, then a featured appearance at the Seattle Ambassador Fall Bash on Oct. 17.

Jozlyn is blogging and tweeting (hashtag #206global) while in Central America. Here’s some observations from her blog posts so far:

Oct. 1, 2013:

I spent hours with the group of 20 scholarship students; who knew drawing and balloon exercises could teach us so much about community.  It struck me to hear the children speak about their desire to help out at home, what their communities’ need, and their dreams to become teachers, firefighters, and singers. The children are so young yet they know what community is and how to contribute. This was striking to me.

I see where their passion comes from. At the end of our visit at Casa Blanca, we met with the school’s committee of mothers of these students. I have never encountered such genuine and endearing people, who expressed their deepest gratitude for their opportunities provided for their children by showering us with beautiful gifts consisting of hand woven cloths, headbands, and typical Guatemalan atole and tamales. Their gifts and long goodbyes will be something I will always cherish for the rest of my life.

Oct. 2, 2013: Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 2.23.46 PM

I was inspired by the CECAP’s emphasis on creating economic opportunities for women. Rosalía shared that nearly all of the women I met with in these workshops have become small business owners and are able to generate an income because of their new vocational skills. 90 percent of vocational workers in Santa Cruz have graduated from the help of the Amigos scholarship program.

I had life-changing experience of meeting with a woman who has set an example for others in the community because of her involvement at CECAP. We were welcomed into the humble home of Espiritu Santos Alvarez, a 30-year old woman who has completed two beading workshops at the vocational training center. Espiritu laid out her jewelry portfolio on a table under the shade of the tin roof of her house, which consisted of aqua-colored doorways and windows, an outdoor stove, and a weaving table. Espiritu shared her story of becoming an artisan, and how her time at CECAP has allowed her to earn an income to support her family.

Oct. 3, 2013:

Before Escuela Milagros (“The Miracle School”) was built in 2011, children had to walk down this steep rocky hillside to Tzununá to get to school. When the river is high, they are unable to leave Tzanjumel. I thought to myself, “How in the world are children supposed to get to school in these conditions?” It was already a struggle trying to drive up the uneven rocky surface with four-wheel drive. Imagining children trying to hike up and down this hill everyday — or not being able to make it to school at all — consumed me with frustration.

This is the stuff that creates new philanthropists. We can’t wait to hear more from Jozlyn at our Corks & Forks dinner next week!

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Last month, Jolkona held its third annual Give2Girls Campaign, in honor of International Women’s Day, and Women’s History month. We partnered with the Seattle International Foundation (SIF), with the goal of empowering, educating, and improving the lives of girls and women all over the world. Throughout March, SIF matched each donation to one of the 30+ projects that impacted women, up to $250 per donation. This was amazingly successful, and the campaign was fully funded, making over $5000 in just around three weeks!

The Give2Girls campaign had a truly global impact, affecting the lives of women all over the world. From $100 in Haiti, to $600 here in the U.S, to over $1600 in Nepal, each dollar helped to improve health and sanitation, and education. Here are some of the impacts that your generosity accomplished:

  • 1 emergency blood transfusion provided in Palestine
  • 2 technology classes provided in United States
  • 9 girls received education support in Nepal
  • 4 weeks of food provided in Afghanistan
  • 4 women saved from honor killing in Iraq
  • 16 months of oral contraceptives provided in Nepal
  • 10 health kits provided in Somalia
  • 30 books provided in Myanmar
  • 40 people sponsored to a workshop in Kenya
  • 7 women received education in Afghanistan
  • 2 pre-natal examinations provided in Nepal
  • 2 hygiene kits provided in Haiti
  • 2 life-skill classes sponsored in United States
  • 2 “safe birth” kits provided in Palestine
  • 2 stoves provided in Costa Rica
  • 16 girls received school supplies in Liberia
  • 2 weeks of stipend provided in United States
  • 12 girls rescued from servitude in Nepal
  • 2 jobs created in India
  • 2 postpartum classes provided in Japan
  • 2 children received dental care in Bolivia
  • 2 business literacy classes provided in Ghana
  • 6 school girls received uniforms in Liberia
  • 100 students received learning materials in Myanmar
  • 4 women received bio-intensive farming training in Kenya
  • 1 emergency medical kit provided in Palestine
  • 2 uniforms provided in Nepal

We also featured interesting projects and organizations that made supporting and empowering women the center of their work.

  • We featured MADRE, an organization that addresses the immediate needs of women in crisis. In conjunction with Give2Girls, 2 safe birth kits, and 1 emergency medical kit were provided in Palestine, and 4 women in Iraq were saved from honor killing.
  • We also featured the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation’s project of funding higher education for women in Nepal. Last month, 9 Nepali girls received educational support.
  • In addition, we talked about iLEAP’s International Fellowship Program, which brings women grassroots leaders to Seattle for leadership training. 2 weeks of stipend were provided through Give2Girls.

Even though March is over, you can still take the opportunity to donate to a project that supports women. Small donations can have a huge impact in the lives of women and on their communities, as they tend to reinvest 90% of the funding they receive. Through Lumana, you can fund a woman entrepreneur in Ghana with working capital, with a donation of $120 , or you can donate $50 dollars to provide a woman in Nicaragua with a bag of seeds, so she can feed her family . It is never too late to empower woman, as many face adversity every day.

The 3rd Annual Give2Girls Campaign was quickly and successfully funded through your support, enthusiasm, and generosity. With your help, Give2Girls 2014 can be just as successful. Thank You!

You can also help spread the word by liking us on Facebook, and by following us on Twitter, and Pinterest.

To celebrate and participate in Women’s History Month, we’re proud to be launching our third Give2Girls matching campaign, running through the rest of March – starting today! We’re dedicating twenty four days to improving the lives of thousands of women and girls around the globe. This year we’re partnering with our local champions of change, the Seattle International Foundation.

How does the campaign work?

Give to any of our 30+ projects related to women or girls, and we will match your donation, dollar for dollar, up to $250 per donor! Even better than that, though, we will double your proof! So donate $15 to provide workshops and other business opportunities for Peruvian women, and we’ll not only match your donation, but we’ll send you two impact reports. The campaign is being matched up to a total of $2,500.

Why this campaign?

Here are just some of the reasons:

  • Out of the world’s 130 million out-of-school youth, 70 percent are girls.
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
  • When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
  • When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
  • The total global population of girls ages 10 to 24 – already the largest in history – is expected to peak in the next decade.
  • One-quarter to one-half of girls in developing countries become mothers before age 18; 14 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth in developing countries each year.
  • Medical complications from pregnancy are the leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 worldwide. Compared with women ages 20 to 24, girls ages 10 to 14 are five times more likely to die from childbirth, and girls 15 to 19 are up to twice as likely, worldwide.
  • Approximately one-quarter of girls in developing countries are not in school.

(statistics taken from girleffect.org)

I’ve said this many a time, and I won’t apologize for saying it again: at Jolkona it is necessary that we talk about statistics, of course. Statistics give us the overarching picture. But what fuels the fire that drives us is the story behind each statistic – the individual. And this is what we want you to see. This is why we give you, the philanthropist, not just the chance to change statistics, but to actually glimpse into the life of the individual behind the statistic by seeing exactly how your donation makes an impact.

Our Give2girls campaign is not about changing statistics; it’s about changing people’s lives. So let’s do that.

Here are 4 ways for you to take action today:

  1. Make an investment in women and girls. Choose from over 30 different projects that support women and girls and give to girls today
  2. Get Educated. Learn about the history of Women’s History Month and then learn about investing in women for poverty alleviation. We like the Girl Effect and UN’s womenwatch
  3. Watch the film Girl Rising made by the inspiring 10×10. Find a screening here.
  4. Spread the word. Support this movement by sharing the importance of investing in girls for poverty alleviation and share our campaign. Tweet using #Give2girls.
You can also help spread the word by liking us on Facebook, and by following us on Twitter, and Pinterest.

Groupon Jolkona campaign

Yesterday Jolkona launched a Groupon campaign to support a 10-week training fellowship for women grassroots leaders from around the world. This is a great campaign on so many levels. I decided to share my top 10 reasons why this is an awesome campaign.

10 Reasons to Support Women Grassroots Leadership Training through Jolkona

  1. According to the World Food Programme, for every dollar invested in a woman in a developing part of the globe, $0.90 of it will be spent on the woman’s family or community. So your dollars are going a long way.
  2. Women spend a lot of time with their children, setting great examples for the next generation on how to impact society.
  3. Women are proven community leaders. The training received by these women will be transferred to the rest of the community.
  4. Every one of these women is a great collaborator. Upon their return home, the impact of the training they receive in Seattle will be magnified through their collaborations with others.
  5. These women are champions of a fairer society. Your support for this campaign will lead to more just societies where these women live.
  6. After the training, these women leaders will be equipped with additional resources to grow their already high-impact programs.
  7. Through this training, women grassroots leaders will share best practices with each other. This sharing of ideas will lead to increased efficiency for each of their programs.
  8. All of Seattle will be able to learn from these leaders’ innovative approaches to solving problems in their societies, fostering deeper engagement by the Seattle community in international development
  9. This program works. Watch this video from the 2010 Women in the World Breakfast about the impact it had on a participant from last year.
  10. For every $10 donation you make to our campaign on Groupon, the Seattle International Foundation will match it, doubling your impact. Plus Groupon is covering all transaction fees, channeling 100% to go towards this cause.

If you can give a $1 for each of these reasons, then you will consider buying our Groupon deal for only $10.

BuyNow

You can read more about this unique program here to build capacity among a new generation of women grassroots leaders. With your support, these women leaders will be catalysts for positive change in their institutions and communities.

Invest in Women Grassroots Leaders

“Supporting women is one of the best ways to fight global poverty. Women grassroots leaders are on the frontlines tackling the toughest issues: hunger, violence, access to healthcare and education. By supporting their work as leaders, we can help them have greater impact and improve the lives of thousands in local communities.” — Mauricio Vivero, Executive Director of the Seattle International Foundation.

Join us as we launch a campaign in partnership with the Seattle International Foundation (SIF) and iLEAP: The Center for Critical Service, to promote and support global women’s leadership. We’re kicking off this campaign with a Groupon G-Team deal that will run today, Tuesday, July 26th until 11:59 pm on Thursday, July 28.

Groupon will be covering all transaction fees so that 100% of your donation goes towards investing in women. Plus, SIF will match every single donation made, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000!

$10 is All It Takes to Improve Women’s Equality

Starting today, you can make an investment in women’s leadership by pledging your support in increments of $10. For each $500 we raise through Groupon, we will fund one week of training for a woman leader to come to Seattle and participate in a 10-week fellowship program. The program will be implemented by iLEAP, which is an international nonprofit that builds capacity in a new generation of women grassroots leaders – creating positive change in their institutions and communities.

How to Fund Leadership Training through Groupon:

  1. Go to Jolkona’s G-Team campaign today until 11:59 pm on Thursday, July 28.
  2. Click on “BUY” and select quantity (e.g., 1 = $10, 2 = $20, etc.)
  3. Complete your order and tell your friends about your donation through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Each donation made will automatically get matched by SIF and our total impact will be posted here as the campaign progresses.

BuyNow

Bonus: For everyone who makes a donation to this campaign and fills out the Jolkona survey monkey at the end, you will be eligilbe to win two tickets to the Women in the World Breakfast at the Four Seasons in November, where the 2011 fellows will be honored. (Here’s a video to last year’s Women in the World Breakfast.)

On behalf of the entire Jolkona team, thank you for your support to empower women all over the world!

Cheers,

Nadia Mahmud
CEO & Co-Founder

On December 30th, 2010, while many of us on the Jolkona team were visiting some of our partners in Africa, the Seattle International Foundation announced their Round 2 Grant recipients under its Global Program here.

We are excited, humbled, and honored to announce that Jolkona was selected as 1 of 15 organizations to receive one of these grants. What is more exciting is that this first grant Jolkona has received and we hope this is a sign of more funding to come! We plan to focus the $15,000 grant towards vetting and adding new projects to Jolkona’s platform this year, particularly in South America, enhancing partner engagement, and improving the user experience of giving through Jolkona.

The Seattle International Foundation is a supporting organization of the Seattle Foundation and exists to promote global giving in Seattle and to invest in initiatives for global development. Jolkona is thrilled to be a part of this network, thanks to their generous help and support.

If you’re interested in supporting our work related to partner expansion and engagement, you can do so by making a donation to our Kona Fund here. True to the Jolkona model of providing feedback, we look forward to tracking our progress on increasing the number of projects and the impacts of increased partner engagement this year!

GET INVOLVED!