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“We are ushering in a critical mass of new economies filled with life.” WAHU KAARA | Kenyan Visionary

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Building a New Global Economy Fatima Bhutto on Pakistan The Girl Revolution Unraveling Women’s Fair Trade | c1

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R E A L I N G R E D I E N T S F O R A P U R E TA S T E | 1

The best of Cambodia meets the rest of the world. A cocktail of influences from the culture of Cambodia and the catwalks of couture, Kambuja’s collection is a blend of western design and eastern mystique. We use world renowned Cambodian silk, much of it sourced from rural communities, providing an incentive for young women to stay in their traditional villages rather than risk the uncertainty of life in the big city. We also employ seamstresses who are former street children hoping to get a start in life. Any fabric, any colour, any occasion, we can deliver the dream. Live style with Kambuja.

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The New Silk Road


t’s standing room only at Bloomberg in the financially embattled city of New York. I am pressed between rows of hedge fund managers, financial analysts, and investors as the National Council for Research

on Women unveils a new report on women in fund management. In that corporate glass-walled room, the murmurings I have been hearing over the last six months are confirmed: Women manage money differently, and had there been more women at the helm of investment decisions all along, the worst of the global financial meltdown might have been averted. The report finds that women—in charge of just 3% of hedge funds © Benjamin Brink

and 10% of mutual funds—are more patient and consistent with their investments. They are less apt to take overconfident risks and more likely to integrate detailed and conflicting data into their decisions. Moreover, women-owned funds are more stable and consistently outperform general funds with higher returns. As I watch these women fund managers speak about the critical mass of women leaders required for sustainable financial systems, I know I am witnessing an historic moment. The words I am hearing are indicators of a much larger economic metamorphosis to come. Today we have a new trade route opening up—a kind of “Silk Road” of knowledge and ideas. The communications revolution is accelerating a living exchange of information, medicine, technology, and culture—breeding innovation across borders—not unlike the ancient silk routes of the past.

The hot commodities are no longer textiles and spices— they are the shared values of caregiving, healthy ecosystems, spiritual well-being, community, and beauty. As they gain influence and access, women are using these opened passageways to carve new routes bearing treasures of wisdom and collaboration that are transforming our economic systems. The hot commodities are no longer textiles and spices—they are the shared values of caregiving, healthy ecosystems, spiritual well-being, community, beauty, and complex diversity. Along this new silk road of women’s economic leadership, global spending priorities fundamentally shift and the true shareholders become our children. In these pages you’ll read the fresh thinking of economic visionaries, women reinventing businesses, and girls on the frontlines of a youth revolution. And on PulseWire, our online community newswire, you can travel a silk road of your own by importing and exporting ideas with women from over 130 countries. Through the rising pulse of women’s voices, what was once degraded is becoming sacred. What was taken for granted is celebrated. What used to register zero sum on the balance sheets is creeping upward. Past paradigms that left us all feeling hollow will start to feel fulfilling. Love, | 3


Departments 3

Founder’s Pulse


Voices of Our Future


PulsePoint Vital Signs of Women’s Rising Leadership


Woman to Watch Five Questions with Natalia Morar

Frontline Journal 15


Visionary Leaders

MEXICO: Happiness in a Dirty War

A New “Irrefutable Truth”


Business Alchemy Giving by the People, For the People


20 Through His Eyes Soak

The Man with Many Grandmothers

Finding Your Path BY LESLIE GRAY

56 Cradle Child Messengers


Global Gatherings

66 Arts



80 In Action

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For My Homeland: New Zealand BY FIONA FARRELL


61 © Rolf Hicker Photography |


59 © Holly Wilmeth



18 © Marcelo Salinas




The New Economic Visionaries “The main obstacle isn’t economic; it’s cultural.”

Unraveling Women’s Fair Trade


48© Anthony Asael | Art in All of Us

42 © Maciej Dakowicz

26 © Lindsay Stark

21 © Steve Simon

32 © Lynsey Addario





Grandmother Wisdom “We are strong, we are determined, we are resourceful…We have needs today, needs for the short term and needs that will never go away. We demand the ear of the powerful.”

“It seems like this brand of empowerment commerce is a simple win-win, but the reality is less clear.”

Pushing Pakistan

42 48

“This is a country where women have to push for what they want. If you push—if you’re loud enough—you make waves.” BY FATIMA BHUTTO AND UZMA ASLAM KHAN

Girl Revolution “It’s a massive voice—not a single girl speaking alone.” BY CATHY GARRARD | 5

FOUNDER & CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jensine Larsen © Ton Koene | Peter Arnold Inc.

EDITORIAL Managing Editor | Corine Milano Consulting Editor | Leslie Heilbrunn Global Editor | Ramya Ramanathan Photo Editor | Ula Kuras Copy Team | Mead Hunter, Jill Kelly Design | Cary Design Group PROGRAMS Global Programs Director | Jennifer Ruwart PulseWire Community Director | Janice Wong Technology Director | Ankur Naik Executive Coordinator | Elsie McIver Partnerships Advisor | Cynthia Casas Online Community Manager | Jade Frank Program Coordinator | Scott Beck Africa Outreach Specialist | Leah Okeyo Accountant | Kim Hegdahl VOLUNTEERS Editorial Outreach | Amelia Hays Arts | Emily K. Garcia Global Gatherings | Erin Dhruva Distribution | Kate Van Raden Programs | Gretchen Lee, Brigitte Wezel-Janssens Connect with the World Pulse team on PulseWire! EDITORIAL GUIDE COUNCIL Mariane Pearl, Lisa Ling, Hafsat Abiola, Hazel Henderson, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mahnaz Afkhami, Winona LaDuke, Riane Eisler, 13 Indigenous Grandmothers, Zainab Salbi, Paul Hawken, Loung Ung, Ritu Sharma


World Pulse Magazine (ISSN# 15496678) is published by World Pulse, a US-based nonprofit. While we look to include articles consistent with our mission, the opinions expressed in the articles published in World Pulse Magazine are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of World Pulse management and staff. World Pulse welcomes comments and suggestions as well as information about errors that call for correction. Reproduction in any manner, in whole or in part, is prohibited without permission. All rights reserved throughout the world.

The Soul of World Pulse Let us be a loudspeaker for women of the world. Let us call forth voice where before there was silence. Let us stand back while they speak up, for their words are so beautiful they need no adornment. Let us be their platform, their forum, their safe haven, their sanctuary, an amplifier no one can ignore. Let us create a world where women are not only free, but empowered so greatly as to be unstoppable. A world where each woman can transform her life and the lives of those around her, simply by raising her voice. One voice at a time, millions of voices strong. Until the sound is so deafening, the whole world will hear their music. It’s not just a dream, it’s a revolution that has already begun. This is the pulse that transforms the world.


Send editorial comments and queries to: ! %0+.Į3+.( ,1(/!ċ+) or 4223A NE Fremont St., Portland, OR 97213. Submission guidelines at +.( 1(/!ċ+). Find us on newsstands at Borders, Barnes and Noble, and independent bookstores across the US and Canada. To purchase additional copies of this issue, email %*"+Į3+.( ,1(/!ċ+). Subscriptions will become available within the year. For more information, go to 3+.( ,1(/!ċ+). Find out how to advertise with us at 3+.( ,1(/!ċ+)ĥ+10ĥ 2!.0%/!. Please share this issue. World Pulse is printed on recycled paper.

World Pulse Magazine is published by +.( ƫ1(/!, a media enterprise covering global issues through the eyes of women. We are dedicated to listening to and broadcasting the unheard voices and innovative solutions of women worldwide. From web to print, we’ve created a forum where women and their communities can connect across oceans, continents, and cultural barriers to create a new world. Visit our website at +.( 1(/!ċ+) to download our vision book, read additional articles, and connect directly with many of the featured leaders in this edition through 1(/!%.!.

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The PulseWire Community Speaks! Our online community newswire is thriving, with women and men connecting and reporting from the ground in over 130 countries. Shouting from up high PulseWire has awakened me to the fact that the words I write will always shout louder than those I may shout from the highest podium. I realize that there is a higher podium than anything in my wildest imagination. The potential of connecting with diverse voices excites me, and I really look forward to growing old while continuing to engage within this space. MARTHA THOLANAH Community Leader | Zimbabwe

When I started this journey, little did I realize how fond I would become of you all! I fell in love with you the day I saw my first comment, because I never thought I would actually receive one, nor the many I have actually received. With your feedback, I have also been able to reach out and form a community of online friends, whose posts I read and enjoy very much. To all my friends, I want to let you know how honored I am that you have accepted me as your friend and have taken the time to get to know me better. JACQUELINE PATIÑO Activist, Fundación Activa | Bolivia

Since joining PulseWire, it feels as if a hand has been extended from Bangladesh to my basement in the US. We have all become fast friends. M. RUDBERG Marketing Strategist | United States

Finding support I want to advance the voices of underprivileged women and see at least one woman every month come to the realization that she is beautiful, important, and worthy of respect. I want to see women heal from deplorable conditions and set free to live up to their fullest potential. I highlight the stories of survivors in areas where we have implemented our programs. My capacity as a change agent to educate and empower the people of Kibera will be enhanced with your continued support. Thank you all! I feel supported as I continue in this cause. STELLA NDUGIRE-MBUGUA Community Activist | Kenya

Bridging borders I wanted to share with you a huge miracle that happened to me a few days ago. I found the story of Theary Seng, a wonderful woman working for peace in Cambodia, on I was really touched by her story of growing up amidst the killing fields, and I knew I wanted to publish that text on my Peace Correspondent website so that readers in Mexico could learn about her too. With Theary’s permission, I translated the text to Spanish and published it on the website. It was a miracle between Mexico and Cambodia, thanks to PulseWire and World Pulse!

I started the Rafiki Club through PulseWire to promote literacy and education amongst women in rural Kenya through letter writing. Rafiki means “friend” in Swahili. When you write a letter to a woman living in a remote village in Kenya, you will be giving her a chance to read. And when she replies to your letter, you give her a chance to write. Find us on PulseWire to be matched with a rafiki of your own. Through PulseWire, we are a growing club with 65 active members. Two members have even come to visit their rafikis at their homes in Kenya. We are now in four villages; soon we will cover the whole of rural Africa!

CRISTINA AVILA ZESATTI Editor, Corresponsal de Paz | Mexico

LINDY WAFULA Founder/Director, Project Africa | Kenya

I realize that there is a higher podium than anything in my wildest imagination. MARTHA THOLANAH

Through his eyes I must confess I am not a very keen reader of testimonies from women because I have always assumed I already know what to expect. However, since finding PulseWire, I have spent a lot of time reading the stories, and I must say I am ashamed, challenged, and feel very exposed to what we men have caused our sisters and mothers. PulseWire is a way to learn about our world, and I deeply thank the initiators of this forum. PulseWire has been a turning point for me, and I believe the lives of women will never be the same! DENNIS KARAMUZI Heifer International | Rwanda

In April, my friend Katrin and I visited Project Africa in Kakamega, Kenya. It was a very moving visit because some of the women there belonged to the Rafiki Club. They all seemed so incredibly motivated to learn. I felt so very welcome, and it is so easy to support women there. It gives them so much strength to know that there are people on the other side of the world who care about them and who appreciate their daily struggle for education and a better life. Join PulseWire and take part in the Rafiki Club so you can experience it yourself. CHRIS Activist | Germany

Raise your voice!

To connect with these women and men, and many more, join PulseWire! Our editors are active on the site listening to your stories. Selected fresh and powerful stories will be featured in our magazine—the next one could be yours! Throughout this edition, you’ll see this icon, which means you can connect directly with these leaders on PulseWire by visiting | 7

Inside From villages in India to boardrooms in Chicago, is connecting the world of women—one voice at a time. On, you can experience the heartbeat of a new movement rising across the globe. Read solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues through the eyes of women. Get urgent alerts, articles, and interviews from emerging leaders of our time. Immerse yourself in a vibrant transglobal culture with hot new books and music. And directly connect and collaborate with women on the ground from over 130 countries!


Articles Featured stories from women around the globe Columnists Today’s hottest

rising voices

Global Gatherings The most exciting gatherings of women on the world stage

Marketplace Products to

empower the world’s women

Arts The best in transglobal

No one speaks for me, I speak for myself. PulseWire—our global community newswire—is the “online sanctuary” of where every woman has a voice. New ideas and solutions rise from the ground up as women speak out from remote regions and hot spots via Internet cafés or cell phones. Hear about arrests in Bolivia and protests in Ireland, or participate in unprecedented dialogues taking place across the virtual barbed-wire fence in the conflict zone of Kashmir. Our editors are always active on the site, looking for breaking stories. When fresh stories break, we investigate and commission stories for our magazine.

books, music, and film

Actions Hand-picked actions to make a global difference

VoicesRising Share your story Recent News of Women Trafficked in Nepal There is a fresh political crisis in the country because of conflict between President and Prime Minister… READ MORE » SUNITA BASNET | Nepal


News and Commentary

Daily headlines from international news sources

ResourceExchange Post your offerings or needs Feminine Supplies Needed for Women of Kenya Our community of rural women needs sanitary napkins… READ MORE » ALEILA | Kenya

Groups Collaborate with Our Community Pakistan Café

8 |

Girl Revolution

Through His Eyes

MobileLink Post urgent

stories to PulseWire directly from your cell phone



Follow us on

Join us on

Network on | 9

© Swiatoslaw Wojtkowiak

We will shake the Earth.

World Pulse launches a new online network of women citizen journalists speaking out from remote regions across the globe.

For generations my ancestors have lived in the high lands as I live now. As a World Pulse correspondent, I can show the realities of indigenous women. Our feminine energy may change the world. CRISTINA QUISBERT | Aymara Blogger from Bolivia

10 |

valdete dodges the bullets of gang warfare as she makes her way to an Internet café in the favelas of Brazil. Victoria uploads photos of the youth revolution as it unfolds on the streets of Chisinau, Moldova. Half-a-world away, in Anchorage, Alaska, Maria, an Aleut Alaskan, logs on to PulseWire after leaving an abusive marriage. In a village in Nepal, Anjana’s electricity flickers on and off as she writes about her exhausting night comforting an 11-year-old girl who is a survivor of human trafficking. Ivaldete, Victoria, Maria, and Anjana are just four of 30 finalists from 21 nations who have become World Pulse’s inaugural Voices of Our Future correspondents. Selected from over 500 applications from 90 countries, these women have come together to form World Pulse’s new network of grassroots citizen journalists from some of the most unheard regions of the world. Calling them-

will receive rigorous training from a series of experts in web 2.0, storytelling, and citizen journalism, including how to perform rapidresponse reporting via cell phones and how to write stories to influence public opinion. Each correspondent has been matched with a personal empowerment coach so that she can more easily reach her dreams. Some will receive stipends to offset communication costs associated with the use of Internet cafés and transportation to these areas. All will be published in World Pulse Magazine, either online or in print. In the fall of 2009, three correspondents will be chosen to begin a media and speaking tour across the US to ignite international opinion and action. An international panel of media luminaries, including journalist Mariane Pearl and acclaimed Kenyan blogger Ory Okolloh, will help World Pulse determine the most

selves “voices for the voiceless” of their regions, they are learning how to use new media to change their own lives and uplift their communities. Throughout 2009, these 30 correspondents

high-voltage voices to receive this prize. The Voices of Our Future program, which will occur annually, is the first step in World Pulse’s larger vision to grow networks of women citizen


Meet Our Voices of Our Future Correspondents!

My duty is to be a mouthpiece for the many illiterate yet voice-full women and girls in rural Africa. Through World Pulse, I am teaching hundreds of women and girls how to read and write by linking them to pen-pals across the globe. LINDY WAFULA | Kenya

I will bring forth the stories of my people, my region, especially women who have suffered so much, because mere survival tops the priority list in a conflict region. The best part about being a World Pulse correspondent is finding solutions and fulfilling my dreams. NUSRAT ARA | Kashmir

journalists reporting from every region of the world. Obisakin Christianah Busayo, a rape counselor from Nigeria and a new correspondent, says, “I have no doubt in my heart that we are going to shake the whole world through this program. This is our chance for the world to see us as people who can work together in unity, and that if we are given the chance we can make things happen. I am ready for this journey, and I know we will succeed as we speak with one voice.” ●

Special Thanks to Our Program Partners

Arda | Palestine Leah Okeyo | Kenya Ayobami Olusola | Nigeria Obisakin Christianah Busayo | Nigeria Gertrude F. Pswarayi | Zimbabwe Cristina Quisbert | Bolivia Dando Mweeta | Zambia Dr. Edonna Alexandria | Uganda Gifty Pearl Abenaab | Ghana Halima Mohamed Abdel Rahman | Saudi Arabia/Sudan Ivaldete Santos Dos Neves | Brazil Jacqueline Patiño | Bolivia Joanne Wanjala | Kenya Khushbu Agrawal | Nepal Anjana Luitel | Nepal Liba | Botswana Luz Marina Jaramillo | Colombia Ma Chona Lasaca | Thailand Malayapinas | Philippines Lindy Wafula | Kenya Manori Wijesekera | Sri Lanka Maria de Chirikof | United States Martha Tholanah | Zimbabwe Nusrat Ara | Kashmir Olutosin Oladosu-Adebowale | Nigeria Stella Ndugire-Mbugua | Kenya Sunita Basnet | Nepal Tanya | Pakistan Tina Garforth | United States Victoria Vorosciuc | Republic of Moldova Cristina Judith Avila-Zesatti | Mexico

RESOURCECENTER Join PulseWire and follow our correspondents on their new media journey! Look for their work in future editions of World Pulse Magazine. | 11

Vital Signs

of Women’s Rising Leadership


Leading experts respond to the political upheaval following Iran’s disputed elections. “Iranian women are the canaries in the coal mine. If you want to know what direction Iran will go, watch what happens with the women.” AZAR NAFISI | author of Reading

Lolita in Tehran to CNN

“The huge social campaign against the rigging of the election…really came from the vast activities over the years of the women who put together the infrastructure, who organized demonstrations, and who knew how to do this.” ROYA HAKAKIAN | Iranian-American

journalist to

“[A much more restricted Iran] will ultimately fall heavily on women, but it won’t stop them. They’ve been through this before. What has changed now, so dramatically, is that the regime has no moral authority anymore.” ISOBEL COLEMAN | Senior Fellow for US Foreign Policy, Council on Foreign Relations


Reckless Spending


amount spent annually on the military worldwide, more than half by the US. Just 10% of this would provide the essentials of life for all: water, sanitation, basic health, nutrition, literacy, and a minimum income.

© AP Photo | Ben Curtis




© Kevin Mazur

The Obamas’ To-Do List

Paths to Power

Here’s what the Obamas have done— and should do—for the world’s women.

Repealed the Global Gag Rule to increase women’s access to reproductive health care around the world Established first-ever White House Council on Women and Girls Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act to strengthen current laws against wage discrimination Incorporated gender analysis to inform economic stimulus bill, giving support to care industries that employ mostly women Appointed strong advocates for women to key cabinet positions, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has made women’s rights a priority in her diplomatic approach Established Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues in State Department Create cabinet-level Department for Global Development, which makes development as important as defense and diplomacy Encourage Congress to reintroduce and pass the International Violence Against Women Act Incorporate gender analysis and equality into our foreign aid policies Ensure that women farmers, who produce between 60% and 80% of food in the developing world, are incorporated as beneficiaries of their strategy to end global hunger and promote food security Encourage Congress to pass the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, which includes provisions to prevent child marriage and to support the Office of Global Women’s Issues

The many ups and downs of women’s ascent to leadership. DECEMBER 2008 Ethiopia’s pro-democracy leader %.01'*ƫ % !'/ is sentenced to life in prison for false allegations of attempting to “overthrow the constitutional order” JANUARY 2009

+$**ƫ%#1. . +00%.ƫbecomes Iceland’s first female Prime Minister and the first out lesbian head of government in Europe MARCH 2009 US journalists 1.ƫ %*#ƫand 1*ƫ !! are detained and sentenced to 12 years hard labor in North Korea for illegally entering the closed country Obama elects Vital Voices’ co-founder !(**!ƫ !.2!!. as ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues MAY 2009 Kuwait elects four women to parliament, /!!(ƫƫ (ġ3 $%, 1(ƫ/$0%, //+1)ƫ(ġ 1.', and (3ƫ(ġ //., just four years after Kuwaiti women received the right to vote ./1(ƫ1.*/ becomes the first African-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company when she took over Xerox corporation Burma’s military junta once again arrests Nobel Peace Laureate 1*#ƫ*ƫ11ƫ 5% on false charges. Suu Kyi has been detained for the last 13 of 19 years, mostly under house arrest JUNE 2009 In Bangladesh, +/*!ƫ.ƫ!#1) is named the first female chief of a police division in the country’s history JULY 2009 (%ƫ.51/'%0! becomes Lithuania’s firstever woman president after a landslide vote

(Provided by Women Thrive Worldwide and International Center for Research on Women)

$12 BILLION $17 BILLION $105 BILLION cosmetic procedures in the US in 2008

pet food in Europe

alcoholic drinks in Europe




basic education for developing nations

water & sanitation for developing nations

basic health and nutrition for all | 13



5 Questions with Natalia Morar


Arrested in Moldova and exiled from Russia, journalist Natalia Morar is no stranger to hot water.




© Natalia Morar

“Your daughter is going too far, if she continues it won’t end well.” When it happens to you, you think, ‘Okay, I’ll survive.’ But when it happens to someone you love, it is a very different thing.


atalia Morar didn’t think many people would show up when she organized a protest against alleged vote rigging during Moldova’s April 6 elections. But her call had spread like wildfire via Twitter, Facebook, and text messages, and the protest grew to over 10,000 people, including the leaders of major opposition parties. Days later, the Moldovan government officially charged her with “organizing and staging mass disturbances” and sentenced her to house arrest. But this was not the first time Morar was viewed as a threat. Over a year before, she landed in hot water with Russian authorities when she broke a story about money laundering among several of Putin’s top officials. She was expelled from the country by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.


You were deported from Russia for exposing government corruption. Many other journalists have been killed doing the same things. What makes you take such risks? While investigating, I never thought about the risks, even though I received threats. One night I received a call that said, “You are too young and beautiful to end your life.” But for me it is about doing my job 100% and doing the right thing. My mother began to receive anonymous threats like,

14 |

You thought 300 people would show up for the rally in Moldova. What was going on in your mind when over 10,000 people arrived? It was a great surprise! Some say 15,000 showed up that day. Sometimes it seems that the youth are passive, but when you see thousands of people in the streets you realize you are not alone. We intended a peaceful protest, but on the second day it turned violent. Who knows if this was the dirty game of politicians. They have called me an anti-communist because of it, a criminal. If I were to do it again I would think about the consequences, because if you aren’t able to control the situation and guarantee people’s safety, maybe you shouldn’t do it. But now people in power won’t forget that young people can come out in the streets in a matter of hours if they don’t like what they are doing. Crowds of people have great power. We should use it.

What is the mood now in post-election Moldova? Many people are feeling like nothing has changed. We still don’t have press freedoms, or easy access to information. It is a great thing that we are having new elections, but many won’t vote. The obvious change is that young people no longer want to live in this system. Our protest may have been 15,000, but in the future it will be much more.

What do you see possible for the future of Moldova? Moldova has a chance to have a better future than Russia. We are a small country on the border of Europe, and the democratic process will need less time to come about. The new generation can see what is happening around the world because of the Internet, because of studying and living abroad. We are a critical mass that increasingly knows what it means to live in Western societies, who know independent courts, who know that even people living deep in the countryside can know what is happening in the Capital. We are a great power who will move this country.


What’s next for you?

I have many dreams, but since I was under house arrest, I can’t leave the country. I could receive up to 15 years in jail for “organizing a violent protest.” They have no proof. I have faith I will be okay. For now, I am working on a project to bring together young people to develop Moldova. We need to implement the kinds of judicial, health care, and banking systems that other countries have used successfully. I want my future children to live in a country with freedoms—a very different Moldova than we have now, but one we’re fighting for. ●

RESOURCECENTER Read Natalia Morar’s blog at


A New “Irrefutable Truth” With the changing economic climate, investing in women and girls is now more critical than ever. Global Fund for Women CEO and President Kavita Nandini Ramdas explains why.


othing yields greater benefits than putting financial resources directly into the hands of women leaders on the ground. Even mainstream groups from the World Bank to the Gates Foundation have recognized this important fact. Yet, just as the world embraced the potential of women, a global financial crisis hit, threatening to undermine investments in women. What we know: Women and girls bear the

the developing world are quick to point out that they have been enduring an economic crisis for generations. Up until now their effective strategies have gone mostly unnoticed and unsupported by the international community. It is time for this to change. At the Global Fund, we see an incredibly diverse and resilient movement of women’s organizations who are already advancing inclusive and sustainable economic solutions.

Most women in the developing world are quick to point out that they have been enduring an economic crisis for generations. brunt of hardship. According to the World Bank, the economic slowdown will cause an additional 22 children to die every hour. A worst-case scenario predicts an additional 400,000 child deaths per year. In parts of South Asia and Latin America, the struggle is for food or lack thereof, with girls paying the price. Cultural and practical realities lead most to prioritize sons over daughters. And, according to UN estimates, child mortality will rise five times higher for girls than for boys. While 1.2 billion (40%) of the world’s women work for pay, few are literate or highly skilled, thereby clustering them in low-wage jobs with no job security. A decade ago, most women in the developing world worked in agriculture; today most provide direct services, such as domestic work and childcare. Making matters worse, women earn on average one-third less than men. Worldwide, women make up about 70% of those living on less than a dollar a day; add children, who disproportionately depend on women for their care, and you have the majority of the world’s poor. As president of the Global Fund for Women, I hear first hand about these harsh realities and am deeply worried as government and charitable resources shrink. But I also regularly hear stories of ordinary women coming together and developing new strategies to meet this crisis head on. These stories show us the vast potential women hold for healing our sick economies. Most women in

One of the more exciting models I’ve seen is the Bangladesh Centre for Worker’s Solidarity, which organizes workers in Dhaka’s Free Trade Zone and others working in informal industries, such as domestic, construction, hospitality, and food services. Three garment workers founded the Bangladesh Centre to challenge their harsh working conditions: 12-hour days without sufficient light or ventilation, earning between 66 cents to $1 a day. In Bangladesh, 75% of the country’s export income is generated by the garment industry, which employs 1.6 million workers, of which 90% are women. Women established their own trade unions within factories to collectively bargain for fully paid wages, maternity leave, daycare centers, adult literacy courses, and safe labor conditions. In Kenya, the Rosemoja Women Group has started to give rural women small loans to help women’s self-reliance so they can own, buy, and control land in support of girls’ education. Their loans have enabled members to open small stores and to invest in more profitable farming practices. Confronted with the biggest economic crisis in 70 years, we must make hard choices. But it is clear that cutting support for women through decreased public investment in social services or funding by philanthropic institutions will only make things worse. Certainly, women are not to blame for the current financial mess—to the contrary, a recent study showed that banks with at least 30%

women in senior management positions were far less likely to have made risky and unsustainable loans. The silver lining here is that the world has a chance to increase support for the projects of women leaders across the globe. In 2007, Al Gore won the Nobel Prize for pointing out the “inconvenient truth” about climate change. Now it is time we recognize this “irrefutable truth”: Investing in the well-being and full empowerment of women is the single most effective strategy for a more peaceful, prosperous, and equitable world. ● KAVITA N. RAMDAS is the CEO and President

of the Global Fund for Women, the largest public foundation exclusively investing in women’s rights groups globally. Visit the Global Fund for Women at #(+("1* "+.3+)!*ċ+.#.

CHECK OUT A NEW ONLINE COLUMN on featuring visionary leaders Zainab Salbi of Women for Women International, Ritu Sharma of Women Thrive Worldwide, Helene Gayle of CARE, and Geeta Rao Gupta of the International Center for Research on Women. | 15

Giving by the People, for the People


When Mari Kuraishi grew disillusioned with her coveted career at the World Bank, she took a chance and launched a new method of online citizen philanthropy. BY LESLIE HEILBRUNN

© Global Giving


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decade ago, Mari Kuraishi believed she had an ideal job at the World Bank. “You flew the Concorde to Europe, and ministers of finance would give you the time of day,” reminisces Kuraishi. But that all changed when she met three middle-aged women from a small town in Uganda in January 2000. The women had come to Washington, DC to compete against 200 others to win a portion of a $3 million pot of seed money the World Bank was offering for innovative ideas to fight poverty. They dreamed of setting up a microfinance project for poor pregnant women to get prenatal vitamins from their local clinic. “These women came to the bank, and they were ashamed because their materials were all handwritten. This was compared to NASA guys who were competing with beautiful infra-red photographs,” remembers Kuraishi. But then they started telling their story—and their project was one of the winners! When the Ugandan women ran up the steps to accept their award, they were dancing and singing. “The emotional impact these women delivered reminded me of what I came to the World Bank to do,” says Kuraishi. But it also made her realize how removed her job as a bank worker was from real people on the ground. “The last loan I managed for Russia was $1.2 billion,” she says unfazed. “But I had this suspicion that the majority of those funds went to line the pockets of Russian bureaucrats.” After the competition, Kuraishi thought, “My God, if I only had some of that money and could distribute it among ladies like this. Just imagine how much good we could have done.” Nine months later, in October 2000, she and a colleague, Dennis Whittle, left the World Bank

fully vetted projects on the website and could be more directly connected to their philanthropy. The dot-com boom was in full swing, and venture capitalists were throwing funds at anything and everything online, including charitable efforts. Kuraishi and Whittle were confident that their leap of faith would quickly find backing. They got their first offer of $3 million just a few months later, but the two thought the terms wouldn’t give them the leeway they’d need to build a successful business, so they turned it down. Then the dot-com bubble went bust. For the next year, Kuraishi and Whittle worked for free, paid for the office they used and their sole employee out of their own pockets, and did just about everything on the cheap as they searched for funding. “We would think, geez, $3 million! I can’t believe we passed it up,” says Kuraishi. “There were many times we felt like quitting.” Many suggested that Kuraishi and Whittle turn to foundations. “We had no idea what we were doing,” insists Kuraishi. “One of the things about the World Bank is that it teaches you a lot of skills—but asking for money is not one of them.” So they winged it and used any opportunity they saw to draw support. In 2002, once the beta version of GlobalGiving’s website launched, James Fallows, a writer for the highly regarded magazine The Atlantic, called them “the eBay of philanthropy” in a short article. Kuraishi and Whittle then heard that the founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, was speaking at George Washington University. They took the chance. “Dennis managed to catch him after the talk to discuss what we were doing and he goes, ‘Well, that sounds just like eBay!” He gave them $100,000. GlobalGiving was officially on its way. But in the last six years, the company has moved in fits and starts. In 2003, they scrapped their beta

to start GlobalGiving, an online marketplace of grassroots projects in developing countries that are in need of funding. The idea was that people who had money to give could find trusted and

version website because it was ahead of its time. “It was incredibly dynamic. It allowed you to chat and connect with donors and project leaders when social networking was not on anyone’s mind,” says Kuraishi.


© Sean Hawkey

They also converted the debt they’d incurred into equity, which was painful but opened the door for significant investors, like the Skoll Foundation, to inject the company with funds. Since then, GlobalGiving’s growth has doubled every year. The company takes 10% of project donations and also earns money creating customized websites for companies like Nike. “But it’s not been a straight line,” warns Kuraishi. “Our cash flow was never that high for us to allows donors to find a cause they are passionate about and give directly. But the organization’s growth has been anything but a straight line.

The last loan I managed for Russia was $1.2 billion, but I had this suspicion that the majority of those funds went to line the pockets of Russian bureaucrats. feel really secure that we had a year’s worth of funding.” There have been three times that senior management had to give up their salaries in order to make payroll for the other 17 people on staff. And last year revenues only covered a third of the company’s cost (donations made up the difference). “The promise we’ve been making is that we will one day be self-sustaining,” says Kuraishi. And while the economic downturn has thrown a wrench in their hope that this would happen in the next two or three years, she feels confident it will, indeed, occur—and that GlobalGiving’s current funders are committed enough to its work to help until that happens.

not getting funded. While the Ugandan women were their initial inspiration, over the years they have found equally inspiring projects. “One of the project leaders on our site decided to go on a trekking trip to Nepal, and broke her leg hiking,” explains Kuraishi. “She was taken in by this Nepalese village and saw that the girls in this village were being sold into bondage. She decided then and there that she would become the head of an NGO. She raised money from the US and purchased piglets that she offered to the families if they promised not to sell their girls into indentured servitude, which is equal to the same amount of money they would

Kuraishi and Whittle started GlobalGiving because they saw that there was a huge, pent-up demand of legitimate community activists doing great work at the grassroots level who were

get. She is rescuing girls from bonded labor and working within the community to make it culturally unacceptable.” So as hard as the road has been, Kuraishi and

Whittle are determined to keep at it for one simple reason: They do not want to see the great ideas they help fund fall by the wayside. “We could go back to the World Bank, but it would be like going back to an institution knowing you weren’t making a difference,” explains Kuraishi. “At the end of the day, we still believe in all honesty that what we are doing right now is the best thing we could be doing for development.” ●

RESOURCECENTER Learn more about Mari Kuraishi’s inspiring work at | 17

Happiness in a DIRTY WAR In one of the most perilous countries to tell the truth, journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro risks her life to expose the web of corruption behind Mexico’s escalating drug war. was eight years old when I learned what it means to be a Mexican citizen. It was June of 1971. The sun shone as if embracing all life, and blossoming trees colored an eternal spring paradise over Mexico City. To the international community, Mexico was at peace; but inside, we were in the midst of a dirty war with a president who carefully controlled our image to the outside world, silenced those who stood up against poverty, and censored journalists for revealing truths to the media. I remember hearing my mother and her friends whispering in the living room of our middle-class apartment. They were discussing the increasing authoritarianism of our government. Earlier that day, in Northern Mexico, police had seized a student movement, and most of those students had “disappeared.” But this wasn’t an isolated incident. From 1968 until I was a teenager in 1980, more than 3,000 young men and women who challenged the legitimacy of the State’s carefully controlled rhetoric were assassinated, incarcerated, or simply went missing. Around the same time, my family and I traveled by car through the mighty mountains of Chiapas, where indigenous girls were sold into marriage. I got a crash course in the true realities of my homeland. From the mountains of the north to the rivers in the south, millions of Mexican women had no right to own land or go to school. I learned that skin color divided my people between Indian, mestizo, and white. My country was blessed with amazing rivers, lively jungles, deserts, and beaches—a sampling of a perfect world—but the government stole land from farmers, forcing mass emigration to the United States. We had enough oil to become a rich nation, but politicians squandered the money for their own purposes. And now, four decades later, we are still a people under siege. We are bleeding under a “war against drugs,” with more than 11,000 deaths in two and a half years. With drug prices lowering,

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we have more addicts than ever in our history. More than half of our 110 million people are as poor as the poor in Africa. Women in Chiapas live as do the poorest women in Pakistan. Mexico has only 34 shelters for battered women; all of them are run by nongovernmental organizations. Our right wing, war-prone president has made violence a formal tool for social control. While our government tells the world we belong in league with developed nations, we have been declared one of the world’s more dangerous countries, with femicide persisting from north to south and drug

Every day I am confronted with the enduring question: Should I keep going? Should I continue to practice journalism in a country controlled by 300 powerful, corrupt rich men? Is there any point to demanding justice or freedom in a country where 9 out of every 10 crimes are never solved? Is it worth risking my life for my principles? As long as Mexico is a corrupt, violent nation, the answer is yes. I know the true power to building peace and equity lies in our ability to choose, every day, not to live in fear and to never give up

While our government tells the world we belong in league with developed nations, we have been declared one of the world’s more dangerous countries, with femicide persisting from north to south and drug cartels controlling our government’s every action. cartels controlling our government’s every action. My early experiences have led me to commit my life to exposing these truths and fighting these injustices. Along with millions of Mexicans, everyday I explore my ability to listen, to understand, to question. But I must also exercise my ability to stay alive. I am a reporter, but also a survivor of rape, kidnapping, incarceration, and torture at the hands of the police. I travel around Mexico in an armored car due to the death threats against me—death threats enacted by Mexican officials who have sold justice to the very mobs I expose in my writing. Just this month, I received e-mails threatening me with decapitation. These are not idle threats; in the last two years, Mexico has seen almost 1,000 journalists assassinated by organized crime groups who are fearful of exposure.

our right to happiness. I have learned that when a policeman tortures, he does not want a confession; he is doing it to exert power. Every time I have tequila and dance with my friends, when I hug a woman who has trusted me with her story, I challenge that power. A corrupt government will try to take away our hope and our power to believe in change. For me, to write, to share, to tell the truth sets me free from the power of tyrants. ● LYDIA CACHO RIBEIRO is the recipient of the 2007 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award and is the author of The Demons of Eden: The Power Behind Child Pornography, for which she was arrested. Follow her blog atƫ(5 %$+ċ*!0.

© Marcelo Salinas


Over the last 15 years, Mexican journalist LYDIA CACHO RIBEIRO has taken on her country’s most powerful and deadly figures—exposing corruption at the highest levels, child pornography rings led by the political elite, and the web of power behind the drug war.


RESOURCECENTER Sign the International Women’s Media Foundation petition to call for Lydia Cacho Ribeiro’s protection at Visit Café Mexico on PulseWire to connect with other women on the frontlines of Mexico’s drug war.

Mexico City



The Man with Many Grandmothers Stephen Lewis is one of the most outspoken champions for women’s rights in the world. But he has a special love for the legions of forgotten grandmothers caring for the AIDS orphans of Africa.


tephen Lewis is perhaps best known for stepping up to a podium and unleashing his moral indignation over the uncertain fate of the world’s women. But when he reaches the topic of African grandmothers, his voice softens with grief and awe. “In Africa, the grandmothers are the unsung heroes: fighting through the inconsolable grief of the loss of their own adult children, becoming parents again in their 50s and 60s and 70s and 80s. They’re all struggling with the same anguished nightmare: What happens to my grandchildren when I die?” More children living in Sub-Saharan Africa have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS than all the children living in Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark combined—that’s more than 13 million children who have lost their parents, and that number is only expected to rise. In some countries 40% to 60% of orphans live in grandmother-

intervention in the lives of grandmothers across Africa. On the eve of International Women’s Day, over 300 Canadian and African grandmothers gathered to issue a joint call to action, and today some 220 groups of Canadian grandmothers have taken up the call, with others joining from around the world. To date, the campaign has raised more than $6 million for African grandmothers and the children in their care. The Stephen Lewis Foundation has directed these funds to community-level organizations in 15 different countries to provide grandmothers with food, housing grants, school fees for their grandchildren, and grief counseling. The grandmothers also have a blog and a social networking site to connect with supporters around the world. One grandmother remembers her first meeting with Lewis, where she was organizing her community to care for orphans.

© Stephen Lewis Foundation


STEPHEN LEWIS, former UN special envoy

for HIV/AIDS in Africa, has forged a network linking grandmothers around the world.

We almost never think of the grandmothers, except in passing. Yet they are emerging as the unheralded heroes of Africa, fast becoming the true, resilient, magnificent hearts of the struggle of the continent. headed households, many of whom are HIVpositive themselves. According to Lewis, this means that it befalls “millions of grandmothers to try so hard, with so little, to ease the anguish of the dying mothers and to create a hopeful future for the children they leave behind.” In answer to the silent cries he encountered while crisscrossing Africa as a UN representative, Lewis and his daughter, Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, had a vision to support and link grandmothers around the world. In 2006, the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign was born. The campaign connects grandmothers from his country of Canada to African grandmothers, and raises awareness of the critical need for

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“Siphiwe, what is it I can do for you?” he asked her. “My organization is in my car. Can we take it out of my backseat?” she remembers telling him. “He gave me $30,000 USD!” she recounts with a smile in her voice. This year, on Siphiwe’s third visit to Canada, she spoke to a group of Canadian grandmother supporters. “I am the evidence of your resources,” she beamed. “We are benefiting from your resources. We are getting treatment; we can talk about our status; the stigma and discrimination has declined in our community. Children are initiated to antiretroviral drugs, and we have treated more than

5,000 people in the last 11 months alone for HIV and AIDS. We have been able to test 2,000 people and have touched the lives of thousands. I ask that you continue to support us with your commitment and your energy.” The movement has taken hold, and Lewis is not likely to rest until the last orphan has been tucked into bed with a full belly, a bright future, and a contented grandmother by his or her side. ●

RESOURCECENTER Join the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign at


Grandmother GUARDIANS Painstakingly filling the care gap left by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, grandmothers have become the guardians of Africa’s next generation. PHOTOS BY STEVE SIMON

© Steve Simon

MUKIZA EUPHASIE , 80, lives in the

mountains of rural Rwanda. She has eight children, more than 20 great grandchildren, 10 great-great grandchildren, and more than 40 grandchildren. | 21

©Steve Simon

From one side of the globe, we are African grandmothers from Kenya, Malawi, and Mozambique; from Rwanda, South Africa, and Swaziland; from Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, raising the children of our beloved late sons and daughters…We are strong, we are determined, we are resourceful…and we have the wisdom that comes with age and experience…We have needs today, needs for the short term, and needs that will never go away. We demand the ear of the powerful. From another side of the globe, we are Canadian grandmothers, enlightened, resolved, humbled, and united with our African sisters. We offer the loan of our voices. We pledge to act as your ambassadors, raising the long-suppressed stories until they are heard, understood, and acted upon. We promise to apply pressure on governments, religious leaders, and the international community. We will not rest until you can rest. May this be the dawn of the grandmothers’ movement. JOINT STATEMENT OF GRANDMOTHERS AT THE LAUNCH OF THE GRANDMOTHERS TO GRANDMOTHERS CAMPAIGN, 2006

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© Stephen Lewis Foundation

A Grandmother Movement Dawns

(above) CANADIAN GRANDMOTHERS hold hands in support of grandmothers in Africa. (top) PATRICE URIMUBANDI , 48, of Gasabo District in Kigali, raises three grandchildren together with her own three children. Patrice says it’s a challenge for her to raise all these children without a husband. “I don’t have any job or land to cultivate, but I raise my grandchildren as I raise my own children. They’re all my blood,” she added. Her daughter died from AIDS. (right) VALERIE UGIRIZINA , of Gasabo, Rwanda, doesn’t remember her exact age, but says she is older than 76. She had three of her own children. Two of them died of AIDS and another one of them left home a long time ago, and she is not sure where he is now. She was raising two grandchildren but the second one passed away four days ago (from the time this photograph was taken). She was still mourning the loss of her grandson.

We Grandmothers deserve hope. Our children, like all children, deserve a future. We will not raise our children for the grave.

Š Steve Simon


(this photo) IRIS MPETHO, 68, raises two grandchildren: Kolose, 8 (left) and Yomelela, 4, in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha Township. Her daughter died from AIDS-related illnesses.

©Steve Simon

(below) MARIYA NYIRAKANDAGAYE , 60, of Gasabo, Rwanda had nine children and now has only one alive. Four of her children died of AIDS. She raises one little grandchild, 2, after her daughter died in June 2007. His name is Shumbusho Ntirenganya. She says it’s hard to raise a small child at her age, but she is happy to see him. “I called my lovely grandson ‘Israel’ just to remember all my children who perished,” she said.

I don’t have a job or land to cultivate, but I raise these grandchildren as I raise my own children. They are all my blood.

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©Steve Simon


Š Steve Simon

(above) MAMELLO MOKHOLOKOE, herself physically challenged after a leg operation, created a communitybased project called Phelisanong to rehabilitate, educate, and train disabled children and youth. She works with her community to provide HIV education, support groups, and outreach for orphans and other vulnerable children.

Š Steve Simon

(left) FLORY KOLOBE is surrounded by some of the 80 orphans in her program at the Tsepong Counseling Center. The Center raises HIV awareness in both rural and urban areas, while supporting orphaned and vulnerable children. | 25

Unraveling Women’s FAIR TRADE

Selling beautiful crafts to support the artisans who create them makes everyone feel good. But are these businesses truly sustainable? Part one of a World Pulse investigative series.

Š Lindsay Stark


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© Meena Kadri



ne day, halfway into a trip to Uganda, Colorado psychologist Torkin Wakefield took an afternoon walk with her daughter and a family friend. They stopped to talk with a local woman who was sitting by the road crafting necklaces. The woman told them that to support herself she crushed rocks by hand in a quarry nearby for a dollar a day; in her spare time, she and her friends made necklaces by rolling brightly colored paper—trash that they’d recovered—into beads and stringing the beads into necklaces. “Why aren’t you selling these?” Wakefield asked, after convincing the woman to let her buy a handful. “There’s no market for them,” the woman answered. Back in the US, after countless friends admired their necklaces, the three women wondered, ‘Is there really no market, or is it simply that the women haven’t found the right one yet?’ “We started thinking about how we could sell the beads in a way that wasn’t about retail, but was about women to women,” explains Wakefield.“We knew people would be interested in stories of resilient, hardworking women who were taking trash paper and turning it into something beautiful—something that could give them hope.” | 27

In 2004 Bead for Life was born. Their ambitious goal: help Ugandan beadmakers support themselves within the local economy. Their plan: hire a Uganda-based team to train the artisans in quality control (making higherquality beads at a faster pace); buy the beads from the artisans and sell them to a viable US market; use the net profits from the sales to train each artisan in a business that would be sustainable (like a dry goods store, a taxi service, or a restaurant); and then help the artisan launch that enterprise— all within 27 months. Though none of the organization’s founders had a business background, Bead for Life has made impressive strides toward its poverty eradication mission in the five years it’s been in operation. Not only has the program graduated hundreds of beaders who have gone on to earn regular incomes in various economic sectors, they have also provided elementary, secondary, and vocational training for impoverished youth, assisted beaders in building over 100 affordable housing units, and started a grants program that is providing financial backing to other organizations working to end poverty. While Bead for Life has been more successful than some of its cohorts, it is just one of many organizations that has tapped into a retail narrative that is playing out across America, in small private boutiques, in major retailers like Whole Foods and New Seasons, and online. The idea is simple: Buy

there is a wide array of business models in the industry, but still no definitive answer as to which, if any, of these businesses will create a model that will be a long-term help to artisans, as well as a profitable enterprise that will outlast its founder’s personal commitment to its success. Some artisan handicraft sellers are not-for-profit, others are for-profit; some sell one product, others sell hundreds of different items. Most of the businesses that World Pulse interviewed don’t have the resources to set up offices on the ground in different areas around the world, so they partner with established nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that act as the middlemen between the artisans and the businesses. The entrepreneurs regularly travel to the artisans’ countries to visit some or all of the producers they employ. Within this setup, general logistics prove to be a challenge to businesses. Yes, the world is growing ever smaller, thanks to technology, but language differences, and the fact that most of these businesses are getting crafts from women in hard-to-reach areas saddled with political instability and violence, means that communication is often a problem. And then there are the myriad cultural considerations. Questions that might be no-brainers from a business perspective—like whether you can return a shipment of orange bowls if you’ve ordered blue—take on a completely different meaning when those bowls are

You need to be able to return an order, but when you’re working with war widows, you can’t do that from a heart and soul perspective. SHAUNA ALEXANDER MOHR | Former global jewelry business entrepreneur

beautiful, “exotic” crafts—baskets from Guatemala, jewelry from Afghanistan, textiles from South Asia—and help women work their way out of poverty. It’s commerce with a conscience in a market that is increasingly focused on not only eco-friendly, but also people-friendly, business practices and products. With its roots in the fair trade movement—which is fundamentally a strategy for creating ethical economic opportunities for communities that have been exploited by conventional trading systems—it seems this brand of empowerment commerce is a simple win-win enterprise for both the artisans who make the products and the entrepreneurs who buy and sell them. But the reality is less clear. World Pulse talked to eight businesses who confirmed that there are many challenges within the sector that make it difficult to grow their businesses, and all agreed that one of the biggest issues is its ultimate sustainability. “Artisans get paid upfront, whether the product sells or not,” explains Liz Wald, a former crafts importer who is now the director of international business development at Etsy, an online marketplace of handmade items. “But if you don’t do it in a way where you can have a profitable business, you’re not really helping people in the long run. I was self-funded and ultimately, I left the industry. I realized I could continue to do this as my personal charity, but who’s going to pay my rent?” “There aren’t that many people who are really trying to save the world with every purchase,” says Wald. “So you have to have a tremendously good product that’s fairly priced first, and then do a good job of telling your story.” None of this is as easy to do as you may think, which probably explains why

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made by producers who are as emotionally tied to their work as they are financially dependent on it. “You need to be able to return an order if you’re working with suppliers and buyers who want to be able to return it,” says Shauna Alexander Mohr, former owner of a popular jewelry business that sourced materials from women’s cooperatives internationally. “But when you’re working with war widows, you can’t do that, from a heart and soul perspective.” There are also different concepts of speed and consistency between the artisans and the buyers, notes Beth Kapsch, co-founder of Global Sistergoods, another online marketplace for handmade items. “Many of the groups we’re working with have typically been selling their products at market, and there’s great variation between what they consider the ‘same’ product,” she explains. “We’ve had situations where we’ve had 1,000 bracelets come in, but they would actually be 100 different things that were sort of bracelet-like, and in different colors, so then we’d have to divide them up into ten different products. Upon occasion our artisan partners are like, ‘Why would you want them all to be exactly the same?’ Which makes sense—they’re artists!” To overcome this issue, some of the buyers hire their NGO partners to offer quality and consistency trainings, and others work with organizations like Aid to Artisans, who make it their mission to help artisans meet this challenge. Growing too quickly can take down a company with even the best of intentions, as Amber Chand says happened with her first foray into the world of empowerment commerce. Eziba, the company she co-founded in 1998,

© C. Steinberg/

We’re moms, we work at home, our kids are around, we’re trying to run a business and be creative —and [the artisans we are partnering with] are doing the same thing. BETH KAPSCH | Global Sistergoods

Businesses that aim to lift global women artisans out of poverty by selling their products are cropping up everywhere. Entrepreneurs on both sides are trying to shift the trade paradigm by creating sustainable practices that are empowering at every step. But the challenges are great, ranging from issues of marketability to problems with scalability. | 29

© Jan Sturmann |

Right now in the US there’s $55 billion worth of sales in the broadly defined ‘handcrafted’ sector. How do we convert more of this to be from people in poverty? PRIYA HAJI | CEO of World of Good

launched with $40 million in venture capital funds, and eventually collapsed— a turn of events that, she says, “absolutely stunned” her. One of the reasons that Eziba failed, Chand believes, was “the pressure to grow the company very quickly. The venture capital money needed huge returns, and we made marketing mistakes. It couldn’t find a way to sustain itself.” Now with her Amber Chand Collection that specializes in gifts from women artisans from areas that have been the center of conflict, she insists, “My vision is to start small and let the artisans know I’ll be working with them for years. My model is one of slow, steady, sustainable growth, giving women the opportunity to rebuild their lives. With big amounts of money you get intoxicated. Eziba was a good company, but the traditional model of business still harbors principles that I don’t think are ultimately viable.” Priya Haji, CEO of World of Good, one of the largest retailers in the handmade sector and the first to scale up the industry by partnering with eBay, thinks differently. “We’ve got to think big,” she insists. Her eBay partnership, launched in September 2008, sells products in 15 categories from 150 artisan communities in over 70 countries. “There are potential problems of scale, yes, but let’s have those problems. Right now this is an industry that has a much bigger production capability than demand.”

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World of Good works with multiple artisan groups in one region to create the same types of products, explains Haji, “so as demand for the product grows, we can maintain consistency without overwhelming their system. Some villages can’t produce a large quantity [of an item], or there are products that can’t be made in large volume. They don’t have the infrastructure. So we distribute production across different organizations.” According to Haji, there is one greatest challenge to the industry: “When you have so many communities doing great work and needing access to markets—how do you open doors quickly enough for them? Right now in the US there’s $55 billion worth of sales in the broadly defined ‘handcrafted’ sector. How do we convert more of this to be from people in poverty?” Pricing is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of the business because on the one hand, you have to charge enough to pay the artisans a price that will help lift them out of poverty and, on the other hand, you have to compete against mass-produced items sold by big-box stores for far less. “The biggest detriment to artisans making traditional crafts is knockoffs of those crafts at mass retailers,” says Marilyn Hnatow of Aid to Artisans. “It looks like an African basket—but it was made in a factory in China.” “Plenty of beaded jewelry is sold, but it’s not all ethically produced,”

Dollars That Do Good?

Look for the story. Experts agree that the more a seller is willing to share the story behind the product—whether online, or in the store’s display—the more a customer can rest easy. Adequate details usually mean that the seller is intimately acquainted with, and invested in, her artisans.

Look for the Fair Trade mark. Is the seller a member of the Fair Trade Federation? Although many reputable businesses in the industry may not have the means to go through the rigorous process to become a member of the Fair Trade Federation, this symbol is a postitive sign of the businesses’ practices.

Ask questions.

Š C.Steinberg

says Haji. “It’s made in factories. We have to give the customer more choices that are handmade and sustainably produced.� To better convince potential customers of the importance of making these choices, World of Good describes each item in detail on its site, sharing information such as the region where it was made, as well as the story of the artisans who made it, and asks an independent third party— like the World Fair Trade Organization, Rainforest Alliance, or Green America—to verify the “positive impact� of the products purchased. KJ Lewis, co-founder of Global Sistergoods, says that her company tries to sell the product itself first—and then sell the customer on the product’s story and the positive benefits of supporting local artisans. “We also want to appeal to someone who hasn’t thought about fair trade,� she says. “If we can carry new and different things, then we can help educate consumers about the issues facing women in these countries. These women have a product people want; they just need a conduit for it.� Framing the purchase is important, too, notes Amber Chand, of the Amber Chand Collection. “The message has never been, ‘Oh, look at these poor women,’ but rather, ‘Let’s celebrate these women’s resilience and strength.’ You buy it because it’s beautiful and high quality; it’s competitively priced; and it includes the deepest stories of these women. It’s not charity buying.� Although often small scale, Mohr says one important fact to consider is that many of these artisan enterprises may not bear substantial risk because they can be done by women in their spare time. “They can work in the fields and weave in their homes in the evenings, or string beads. It’s supplementary income for a lot of these small co-ops,� says Mohr, “because even at a small level women are starting to be able to send their kids to school, get shoes, put a roof over their heads, and meet basic needs.� “In terms of creating a large-scale shift, though,� she tempers, “we have a ways to go.� Even with all the fraying challenges and the growing pains, empowerment commerce companies are multiplying. Woven together, they may eventually tip the scales toward wider sustainability in the global market for goods produced by women’s hands. These tenacious companies are bound to their commitment to the artisans they work with—to their stories, their histories, and the things they have in common. “It’s great to feel this kinship with the artisans we’re partnering with,� says Global Sistergoods’ Beth Kapsch. “We’re moms, we work at home, our kids are around, we’re trying to run a business and be creative—and these women are doing the same thing.� But they can’t forget why they got into this industry in the first place: to bring the beautiful work of artisans who live in dire poverty and terrifying political instability to a new market. “The women we work with are so resilient,� says Bead for Life’s Wakefield. “Children dying of malaria; children kidnapped and forced into being soldiers in the war in northern Uganda. Every time a new group of beaders comes in, they dance and sing together before talking beads. It’s a very joy-filled work.� �

Unsure whether to buy that gorgeous Guatemalan basket‌or that one? Here’s how to make sure you’re choosing ethically.

The Fair Trade Federation and World of Good’s Priya Haji agree that as a consumer, asking questions is one of the best things you can do. “Consumers keep [the handcrafted sector] on track,� Haji says. “We focus on how to ensure that our standards are high, so that consumers can engage and ask questions.�

RESOURCECENTER Learn more about the businesses featured in this edition. Aid to Artisans | Amber Chand Collection | Bead for Life |

 %0+.Äš/ĆŤ+0!Ä? This piece is the first of a two-part series investigating the realities behind women’s empowerment commerce. Read part two in our next edition, where we take an in-depth look at the benefits and challenges from the artisans’ perspectives.

Global Sistergoods | World of Good | Turn to our Marketplace section on page 72 to find products we stand behind. | 31


Adversity is the driver of creativity. Let’s look beyond the threats of the global economic slowdown to identify the opportunities for growth and innovation. SHEIKHA LUBNA | Finance Minister, United Arab Emirates in a speech to the Malaysia Services Exhibition

Sheikha Lubna

Sheikha Lubna, Finance Minister of the United Arab Emirates, is a role model and pioneer as the first woman in the Middle East to hold an economic post. At last count, she has paved the way for four more women. Highly respected for her skill in finding common ground between Eastern and Western cultures, Lubna is also a firm advocate for the vital role of women in improving world economies. At the helm of one of the fastest-growing economies and open countries in the Middle East, Lubna has become a beacon encouraging other women to rise in the economic sector. “My proudest achievement is that I am a bridge,” she said to Portfolio . “Women are following my example. I am changing the mindset of young girls, saying, ‘It’s okay. Look, I’m here. I’m on the other side, and you can breeze through.’” 32 |

© Lynsey Addario

The Bridge Economy



Leading Thinkers Unroll Their Blueprints for a New Economy e all know that the times call for urgent and drastic changes to our broken global economic system. The question is: How far are we willing to go? Enter seven women leaders who envision nothing less than sweeping paradigm shifts to our modern-day economic order. Most of these powerful visionaries have been predicting our current financial collapse and calling for radical systemic changes for decades. These contemporary Cassandras have identified fatal flaws—and huge opportunities—that rarely show up on the balance sheets of traditional economists and world leaders. As economies collapse, the international community has become increasingly receptive to fresh ideas. The perspectives of these largely unsung authorities—and thousands more like them—may finally get the airing they deserve. If so, we have hope of finding our way toward real economic systems that will flourish and fulfill us all.

Riane Eisler

The Caring Economy

Helena Norberg-Hodge The Walking Distance Economy

Wahu Kaara

The Life Economy

Genevieve Vaughan The Gift Economy

Leslie Christian The Circle Economy

Fridah Manenji The Love Economy

Sheikha Lubna

The Bridge Economy | 33

Riane Eisler

The Caring Economy Her Vision

As the value of caregiving is more recognized, men do more of it, and women and men participate equally in the formal labor force and have the same opportunities and responsibilities at home. As the general quality of human capital rises, more capable, skilled, and caring workers contribute to a more productive economy. This in turn makes more funding available for government and business policies that support caring and caregiving. And all this enhances the quality of life for all. Care for the elderly is facilitated by adequate monetary pensions, including pensions for caregivers. Poverty and hunger are effectively addressed because women, who are now the mass of the world’s poor, are rewarded for caregiving. Businesses recognize that employees who feel cared for are more productive and that customers who feel cared for are more loyal. Companies are rewarded with tax breaks and other benefits for caring practices. As caring is more valued, women have greater respect and authority. Women become half of the national legislatures and are often heads of governments, ushering in real representative democracy. As material, emotional, and spiritual needs are increasingly met, crime, terrorism, and warfare decrease. Exponential population growth is halted as women have reproductive freedom, education, and equal rights. Gaps between haves and have-nots shrink as people are no longer driven to amass enormous wealth as substitutes for meeting our yearnings for caring connection, fairness, and meaning. And spirituality is no longer focused on an afterlife, but on building a world where the wonder and beauty latent in every child can be realized right here on Earth.

How We Get There The main obstacle isn’t economic; it’s cultural. Today, the value of women’s unpaid work is estimated at $11 trillion per year. And, in the US, people pay plumbers—the people to whom we entrust our pipes—$50-100 per hour. But childcare workers—the people to whom we entrust our children—are paid an average of $10 an hour. We’ve inherited an economic double standard that devalues everything stereotypically associated with women and the “feminine”—whether in women or men. This directly affects economic measurements, policies, and practices. Rather than trying to patch up a system that isn’t working, let’s use our present economic crisis to work for a system that meets human needs. Making these changes won’t be easy. But every one of us can set in motion ripples that culminate in a caring revolution that transforms our lives and our world.

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© Joel Catchlove

I see a world guided by a “caring economics” where the main investment is in caring for people and nature. In this world, the value of caring work is taught starting in childhood. Schools teach boys and girls how to care for self, others, and nature. Training for childcare, primary school teaching, and other caring professions are top priorities, and these jobs are highly respected and well paid. Parenting education is equally prioritized. Childcare in families is supported by caregiver tax-credits, stipends, paid parental leave, and social security credit for the first seven years of a child’s life—whether the caregiver is a woman or a man. Workplaces provide flex-time, job-sharing, and other partnership inventions.

The value of women’s unpaid work is estimated at $11 trillion per year. RIANE EISLER

Here’s what you can do to make a difference: đƮVoting for leaders that back caring values. đƮRunning for office yourself on a caring economic platform. đƮDemanding more caring values from those already in office. đƮProposing that standards for caring policies and behaviors are included in corporate charters—and that conformity to these standards be required for membership in chambers of commerce and other business associations. đƮBuying from companies that have caring employee, consumer, and environmental policies. đƮSupporting and participating in movements to raise the status of women worldwide. đƮChanging the conversation about economics to include the word “caring.” Every one of us can talk about “caring economics” at home, at work, at parties, at meetings, in schools and universities, and in public spaces. In these ways, ripple by ripple, we can together build momentum for a real cultural transformation—a caring revolution not only in economics, but in all aspects of our lives. DR. RIANE EISLER is a social scientist, cultural historian,

evolutionary theorist, and one of the world’s great thinkers. Her newest book, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, has been hailed by world leaders from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Jane Goodall.

Currencies and finances become localized, and the pace of life slows down, allowing time for family and connection to nature.

© Rick Elkins


Helena Norberg-Hodge The Walking Distance Economy Her Vision I see economies localized in what I call a “Walking Distance Future,” where the majority of our physical and psychological needs are met by the local economy and community. This fosters a connection with others and with nature. Economic activity extends outwards from the household and community level, with our most vital needs met by local production. Economies are decentralized from larger cities, and smaller towns and cities are revitalized. At the local level, production comes from mostly artisans, creating a jobrich economy. Communities produce a rich variety of foods for themselves, exporting only surplus, and production becomes based on renewable energy. Currencies and finances become localized, and the pace of life slows down, allowing time for family, music, dance, and connection to nature. Production for local consumption is regulated and taxed primarily by the local government, and communities have greater political power over the decisions that affect their lives, leading to participatory democracy. At the national level, the distance between production and consumption is relatively longer and production becomes more specialized, providing less essential goods. Fossil fuel dependence is eliminated; consumer goods are manufactured to be non-toxic; and the national government has a responsibility to enforce environmental and human rights protection measures. At the international level, we trade only in goods that cannot be produced locally or nationally. Instead of the WTO (World Trade Organization), we have the WEO (World Environment Organization) that will enforce strict environmental protection measures to ensure communities do not pollute and do not impinge on their neighbors’ rights.

How We Get There Most people live under the misguided belief that economic globalization is synonymous with progress. Once people realize that globalization is really just

a set of policy choices, it can be shifted with relative ease toward localization. Education campaigns in economic literacy. Let’s spell out the shortcomings of the current system as well as the visions of alternatives in accessible language. Improving economic literacy will help to link social and environmental issues, so that what are now disparate movements can begin working together to change the economy. Change the regulatory framework. Currently, global trade and finance are systematically deregulated, while local trade and finance are over-regulated. This favors giant monopolies over smaller businesses. Localized economic activity is more easily monitored, regulated, and inherently less polluting and destructive. Shift taxes from employment onto energy use and pollution. In almost every country today, tax regulations systematically discriminate against small- and medium-scale businesses. Smaller-scale production is usually more labor-intensive, and heavy taxes are levied on labor through income taxes, social welfare taxes, value-added taxes, payroll taxes, and more. Reversing this bias in the tax system would not only help local economies but would create more jobs by favoring people instead of machines. New indicators that genuinely measure progress. Policymakers assume that the rate at which Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rises is a valid measure of the health of society and the economy. But when tap water is so polluted that we must buy drinking water in plastic bottles, GDP increases. When people are sick and need pharmaceutical drugs and hospital care, GDP goes up. If pollution decreases and people are healthy in body and mind, GDP goes down. The more pollution, illness, and breakdown there is in society, the more the economy “grows” and the better off we’re assumed to be. New indicators must value human health, properly acknowledge the services provided by intact ecosystems, and subtract expenditures we make in response to social and ecological breakdown. HELENA NORBERG-HODGE is a pioneer of the

localization movement and a leading analyst of the impact of the global economy on cultures and agriculture worldwide. She is the founder of the International Society for Ecology and Culture. | 35

Fridah Manenji The Love Economy Her Vision My future economic vision is entrenched in the person I am—an African woman, born and exposed to poverty, oppression, and exploitation—all at varying degrees at different stages of my 45 years of life. It is a vision of hope and recovery, of reconciliation and progression. In this vision, I see my fellow womenfolk selling their tomatoes, vegetables and potatoes in a relaxed and free atmosphere, unafraid of the city council askaris who come to wipe them away and impound their goods. I see an economic strategy that is sympathetic to the unpaid household and so called “illegal” economies. I see the recognition and payment of household labor. I see a toddler dividing an orange into three pieces and sharing it amongst her friends without feelings of loss. I see a caring attitude between brothers and sisters of the global north and south. I see indigenous knowledge systems and western scientific research becoming friends and complementing each other. I see a group of neighbors in an estate, gathering round a meal together, and asking how the other is. I see my grandchildren running wild in the msango, picking omurere and munyove.

How We Get There Worldwide, we need women to have access to job security and social protection with political will to strengthen national women’s movements. Governments must become accountable to their people from the bottom up. A strong civil society represents a strong heart pumping. National monetary policies that induce hyper-inflation and excessive price regulations need rigorous change. But most importantly, we have an enormous and important task of teaching our children the meaning and importance of caring, hard work, and love. This four-letter word carries more weight than any International Monetary Fund and World Bank indicators.  FRIDAH MANENJI is a Zimbabwean writer, poet,

sociologist, and specialist on globalization and women, as well as a celebrated economic thinker. +**!0 with Fridah Manenji on 1(/!%.!!

roles. All are taught to nurture. Violence and competition are no longer considered part of a male identity or of human nature but simply negative qualities, which were once functional for an outmoded and dangerous competitive market system. Local and regional councils of mothers and grandmothers decide on the direct distribution of goods to needs. Talents are tested and interviews are made to find out the abilities and interests of young people so as to assign them to particular jobs for a certain period. It is easy to change jobs and bureaucracy is minimal. There is a gradual move of people out of the cities back into the countryside. The Internet is useful for identifying needs and resources and for regional and international connections. Environmentally safe technology has improved transportation so that everyone can travel, but because of localization many people use horses and bicycles for everyday moving around. Festivals of giving and celebration punctuate the calendar, and rituals mark different stages of life. There are free “stores” where people can go to get things they need, but the psychological and spiritual benefit of giving and receiving person to person has been recognized. Gifting circles are common. There is an experimental mentality and people are open to trying out new types of social organization beginning on a small scale. Laws would only be necessary until the whole society could understand itself well enough to abolish them. Finding the deep patterns of human psychology would be an important and sacred task.

How We Get There We need a new paradigm, based on the logic of mothering, which restores the female half of humanity to its rightful place as the economic model of the human. This shift in perspective could unite the women’s movement with the movements of indigenous peoples who have gift economies, and with all those who are trying to give the gift of social change. The free gifts of Mother Earth are being commodified and must be made free again. The free gifts of humanity must be liberated as well. In order to create a transition, we need to look at all the free gifts and services of material and psychological care and see them as part of a new economy. We can create circles of giving with other givers outside the market.

We need a new paradigm, based on the logic of mothering, that restores the female half of humanity to its rightful place. GENEVIEVE VAUGHAN

Genevieve Vaughan The Gift Economy

I see a world where direct giving, not exchange, is the economic norm. I believe that there should not be a division between the economy and the rest of life. The gift economy creates and requires a different culture. Abundance is available at the local level. Children are brought up in love and safety and their disposition is toward satisfying the needs of others. Childcare is shared. Schools do not distinguish between male and female

36 |

© Lynsey Addario

Her Vision

We should have consciousness-raising groups and plan cooperative work for satisfying needs. We should also create groups devoted to overcoming wealth and consumption addiction. GENEVIEVE VAUGHAN is an independent researcher,

author, and founder of International Feminists for a Gift Economy. A film on her life, Giving for Giving, was released in 2008. Watch it at

Leslie Christian The Circle Economy Her Vision


communities, the environment, customers, and suppliers, in addition to the providers of financial capital. The Purple Circle is alive with small, local businesses, engaged workers, and healthy communities. Entrepreneurs thrive in their communities as they keep creating new ways to improve the quality of life. Economics takes its rightful place along with relationships, leisure, creativity, art, and spirituality.

How We Get There The financial meltdown pales in comparison to the physical meltdown that will occur unless we start living within our ecological means. The greatest obstacle to reaching our vision is that we continue to act out of ignorance and do not act in time. We urgently need leadership and a sense of urgency to act. We need a better understanding of the seriousness and consequences of ecosystem collapse. For me, as an investment advisor, this means continuing to encourage and support direct investments in community-based businesses. It means educating myself and my clients to understand ecological challenges and the opportunities to adapt and thrive. And it means questioning every popular assumption about the way the financial and business worlds really work. The real bottom line is the ecological bottom line that supports all life and our livelihoods. LESLIE CHRISTIAN co-founded Portfolio 21, a global

mutual fund committed to investing in companies that are incorporating environmental sustainability strategies into their businesses.

© Ron Giling | Peter Arnold, Inc.

I call it the Purple Circle. One way or another, we have to live within our ecological means. Whether we can “turn the ship” in time or whether we are faced with having to respond to one disaster after another, it is clear to me that the future will be radically different from the present. When I envision the future, I choose to imagine that we choose a positive and constructive response to ecological limits. Rather than responding with fear and a sense of deprivation, it is much more fun to respond with relief and expectation. Fortunately, living within our ecological means is a highly desirable vision. It’s slow, small, and relatively safe. Its view is that the economy exists to serve our lifestyles rather than life serving the economy. Gone is the delusion that shareholders are somehow predominant and more valuable than anyone or anything else. Rather, we recognize the contributions of workers and the essential services provided by nature. A life-serving economy includes businesses that are engaged in providing beneficial goods and services in a way that serves employees,

The real bottom line is the ecological bottom line. | 37

© Carl De Souza | AFP/Getty Images

For once the experience of the African women who have refused to die for Africa and are living for Africa cannot be ignored. WAHU KAARA

Wahu Kaara

The Life Economy

the experience of the African women who have refused to die for Africa and are living for Africa cannot be ignored. We are ushering in a critical mass of new economies filled with life.

Her Vision

WAHU KAARA is a renowned expert on debt, aid, privatization, and

Today, I see Atieno, a single mother of three who works in one of the corporate multinational flower farms that dot and pollute Kenya’s Lake Naivasha. She lives with her children in a shared single room divided by a curtain. She has no idea of what “Valentines Day” is, yet she works close to 12 hours a day and earns a meager pay to satisfy the emotional passions of the West. But with all this gloom, she has a radiant smile and is full of generosity. Through the local self-organized women’s group of workers, she has hope for a better future for her children. My future economic vision is imprinted by the resilience of Atieno. It is in the likeness of a woman’s face, voice, and control. A living economy founded on a vision of equity and justice that is satisfying and fulfilling, based on access to the goods of life for all. Despite dispossession and powerlessness, Atieno is finding a way to transform power through creative and innovative alternatives. The women of her collective are forging community, participatory democracy, and mobilizing their collective resources. Their strategies for allocations of support are fundamentally based on meeting needs, not wants—and this is happening across numerous small women’s groups in Africa already.

human rights, and the Executive Director of the Kenya Debt Relief Network. With Brazil’s president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, she launched the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, the single largest global mobilization of citizens against poverty in history.

RESOURCECENTER Visit the following sites to learn more about our contributors and their projects. Center for Partnership Studies | International Society for Ecology and Culture | The Gift Economy | Portfolio 21 |

How We Get There We are in an historical moment in time to construct a blueprint for a life economy. It is time to replace our current dysfunctional economic blueprint of domination, control, and profit. In order to get there we need to strengthen and sharpen linkages between agents of transformation who are organizing and mobilizing social movements. We must bring critical visibility to demonstrate the alternatives based on living economies that are already a reality—especially the examples from those who are dispossessed but still holding their lives together. For once

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Global Call to Action Against Poverty | CPS’s Full Spectrum Economy Campaign To learn more about gender budgeting (see next page) visit UNIFEM’s gender responsive budgeting site | WEB EXCLUSIVE! View this article online to read more economic visions from thought-leaders Jacqueline Novogratz and Hazel Henderson.

Š Jan Sturmann |

BALANCING THE BUDGET Budgets are the ultimate allocation of power. A new trend is influencing governments worldwide to ensure that women get an equal share of the pie.


ommonly known as “women’s budgets,� “gender sensitive budgets,� or simply “gender budgets,� the practice of incorporating women’s unique needs into national budgeting processes—and including women at the table in the budget-writing process—is gaining traction across the globe. According to UNIFEM, one of the foremost leaders training women in gender-responsive budgeting, women budget differently than men. They typically place greater emphasis on healthcare, education, and environmental expenditures, while exercising a greater degree of fiscal restraint. With the practice gaining hold in over 40 countries, gender budgeting has the potential to radically shift global priorities.

Rewriting Obama’s Budget World Pulse turned to gender budgeting expert Jane Midgley to see how she would reallocate the US budget to reflect more people-centered and women-honoring expenditures. The Obama administration is moving in the right direction with a new set of values to guide US budgeting, but there is still a long way to go. The current budget is drastically weighted toward military spending. My budget shows a large reduction in military, homeland security, and prison spending; a large reduction in International Affairs spending due to the huge percentage of that category that goes to military and arms support; and increased social spending on housing, education, and community development. The military budget can be cut back in several ways: Canceling outdated and overpriced weapons systems such as the F-22 stealth fighter jet; cutting long-range nuclear weapons (the US and Russia still have thousands); cutting

the missile defense system; and canceling the Future Combat Systems Army modernization program, which will cost $160 billion. These cuts must be accompanied by more emphasis on diplomacy, negotiations, and arms reduction agreements, as well as reversing the decades-old policy of arming developing countries, especially in the Middle East. Increases in social spending will stimulate the economy by strengthening the economic position of US people through improved unemployment benefits, childcare for low-income workers, improved public education, reducing housing costs, and making college affordable for all. These investments in turn will lead to a reduced investment in prisons, which are one of the end results of having a society that has a deficit of socially beneficial investments. � JANE MIDGLEY is a leading economist and the author of

Women and the US Budget: Where Your Money Goes and What You Can Do About It (New Society Publishers, 2005).

The Current US Budget Slated for 2010

Jane Midgley’s Proposed Budget Revisions









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40 |



© Victoria Ginn

With the first light of day, as the dawn mists rise to hide the Annapurna Mountains, a celebrant of the Hindu women’s festival Tij Barata performs her puja, or worship. Beginning on the fifth day of the brightening moon, Tij is celebrated by women in honor of the goddess Parvati, “the mountaineer” who mobilized the creative energies of the cosmos with her seduction of the reclusive, ascetic male principle, the god Shiva. Present in all women, Parvati is one of the approachable forms of Devi, the female force of Creation. She is embodied in the earth as mistress of The Himalaya, where she has her throne, and in the goddess Annapurna—or “she who is full of nourishment”— after whom the Annapurna mountains are named. THE HIMALAYAS, NEPAL | 41



This is a country where women have to push for what they want. If you push—if you’re loud enough—you make waves. FATIMA BHUTTO

42 |

© Maciej Dakowicz

Women leaders press hard to end terror and reveal the truth about their country.

© Peter Barker | Panos Pictures


verything about Pakistan is enormous. The country is home to some of the highest mountain peaks, the second largest Muslim population, and the sixth largest population in the world. It also regularly towers atop lists as one of the worst places to be a woman. Now, a new and violent wave of religious extremism is spreading from the Swat Valley to the streets of liberal Karachi further terrorizing women and girls. Against this tumultuous backdrop and from within militarized borders, Pakistan’s diverse women leaders are calling out. Their words hold the key to a more peaceful Pakistan.

Swat Valley




Karachi ARABIAN SEA | 43

© Veronique de Viguerie | Getty Images

There are so many odds against us that we almost shouldn’t be. But somehow we are.

My Country of Horror and Possibility Widely speculated to be a future heir to the Bhutto political dynasty, Fatima Bhutto, 27-year-old niece of the late Benazir Bhutto, has captured public imagination across Pakistan. A poet and writer, she openly denounces birthright politics and uses her pen to advocate for a truly democratic nation.


s the Taliban advances across northern Pakistan, international headlines have declared my country the latest victim of an increasingly hostile fundamentalist regime. Yet those of us who have been living within Pakistan have been watching this unfold every day, and know that this is nothing new: The Pakistani Taliban and their brand of extremism has been advancing throughout our country for the last ten years, and they are gaining traction among Pakistan’s people largely because of our own government’s corruption and neglect. My generation of Pakistanis has come of age under this military and civilian dictatorship, under a government that aids and abets these fundamentalist groups while vastly ignoring the needs of the people. The international community must understand that our government’s corruption—and the United States’ support of this corruption—has not only created enormous poverty but has also created a vacuum that Islamist fundamentalists are filling. This is the heart of the reason why the Taliban has been successful in my country; it is not because we are a country of extremists, or a country of dishonesty.

44 |

I would like the world to know that when we say our government does not represent us, we mean it. Pakistanis are not our government; we did not vote for Asif Ali Zardari, our president. We do not vote for our governments, and when we do have elections, they are orchestrated and rigged. When I travel abroad, there is a perception that because I am Pakistani I must have a beard or be engaged in some kind of jihad. No one factors in that we are a country that has Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Jain heritage. We are a country of people who speak a Hindi-ized Urdu and a Persian-ized Dari. We have so many shades that are not seen by the world because it is more convenient to portray us in a certain way that ignores our history, our realities, and our visions for the future of our country. As a child growing up in exile from General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime, I understood Pakistan much like the rest of the world understands us now: as a nightmarish place where women are stoned, where public floggings are encouraged, and where the dark shadow of dictatorship looms with a violent and orthodox edge. For me, it was my father who gave Pakistan its soul. Before he was assassinated by police when I was 14, he would tell me of the various poets and Sufi saints enshrined in Sindh Province; of the orange, pink, and purple painted buses at every traffic light; of the smell of the Indian Ocean, of the taste of Pakcola. It became a sort of romantic place for me, when in reality it was an extremely violent and unpredictable country. When I moved to Pakistan, I came to know early on that beneath this violence is a soul, a heart. When I moved permanently to Pakistan at age 11, I learned that this heart beats in Karachi. Our pulse is here. It is Pakistan’s largest, most populous city and it is a cross between a refugee camp and a construction site. It is a broken-down city, but there is always something new happening here: a

We were all hopeful when Barack Obama was elected the president of the United States. We thought there might be a chance for real change, but the fact is that he has merely continued Bush-era policies that fuel the violence. We have seen Obama continue the drone missile attacks on northern Pakistan, ordering the first strike on North and South Waziristan during his very first week in office. I have watched in absolute horror as Obama recently released $1.5 billion in nonmilitary aid to our government. By my last count, Pakistan has received $12 billion in aid from the US since 2002. And it has not helped in the least to make Pakistan, or our neighbors, safer. By propping up our corrupt government and funding a president who has stolen an estimated $2-3 billion from Pakistan’s people, Obama is not helping to eradicate the “main threat to regional stability”—he’s feeding it. When the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan in 1996, I never imagined that the footage I saw on the news—Afghan women being flogged, beaten, and raped as punishment for crimes that weren’t really crimes at all—would play out in Pakistan’s own streets 13 years later. But now I see it happening to us. Up until recently I felt safe as a woman in my country, but today the situation for Pakistani women is rapidly deteriorating. This rarely makes international headlines. The Western world seems to identify Pakistan with the fact that we were the first Muslim country to “elect” a woman leader—my aunt, Benazir Bhutto, who was prime minister from 1988 to 1990, and then again from 1993 to 1996, before she was assassinated in 2007. But my aunt did nothing to stop the deterioration of women’s rights in Pakistan. She—just like our current government—capitulated to radical Islam and refused to amend the Shariya Laws that infringe on women’s rights. The Hudood Laws—put into place in 1979, during the time when my family and I were in exile, then taken out of practice in 2006 by former president Musharraf—are the enactment of Shariya Law and are again gaining traction in Pakistan. As a woman, if your head is not covered in public, you stand out. If you visit a household in a rural or small town, you will be taken to a room away from the men. And, if you commit adultery, your sentence will be death.

We have enormous challenges ahead of us as a country, but I do not believe that we are a lost cause, or that we will succumb to Talibanization just yet. We are a country that has an enormous amount of strength and determination; we are a country of the possible. This strength comes largely from ordinary women doing extraordinary things. This is a country where women have to push for what they want; they have to push for what they need. And if you push—if you’re loud enough— you make ripples; you make waves. We have women in the arts; women in the NGO sector; women in leadership, but we do not afford women a voice in our media, in our politics, in our communities. It is women like Mukhtar Mai and her rolling courage who are the backbone of Pakistan. These women— and there are many of them who are operating under the radar—are standing up against the Hudood Laws and risking their lives for justice despite the challenges and increasing oppressions. We are at a crucial point in Pakistan’s history; we have an opportunity to keep Pakistan from going the way of Afghanistan. It starts with showing solidarity and sharing our stories with other women. There is a phenomenal untapped sisterhood of women around the world, and if we tap that support and connect person to person, it will mean much more to Pakistan’s women than Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton giving our corrupt leaders billions of dollars. When we talk about Pakistan, we must look to what becomes possible if we put money into the hands of grassroots organizations and people’s initiatives. We must turn our efforts to summer camps for girls, media training, teaching handicrafts to women who have been jailed for breaking the Hudood Laws. We must organize to get women ID cards across the country so that they can vote in our elections. All of this is possible; it just requires support. We cannot continue to put our fate in the hands of our government or in the hands of the US government. We cannot continue to ignore the potential of Pakistan’s people and, especially, Pakistan’s women. We are a young country that emerged out of a heady idealism some 60 years ago, and we cannot let go of this sense of optimism. Milan Kundera said that “the struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” I, for one, will not forget the heart and soul of Pakistan that I came to know as a child in exile. I will keep fighting. ● FATIMA BHUTTO has authored several books and writes for The

New Statesman, The Guardian, The Daily Beast, and for Pakistan’s News International newspaper. Visit her at "0%)$100+ċ+).

© Aaron Huey

new art exhibit, new graffiti on the walls, new people coming to see what is swirling through our air, what radical new idea is emerging. But when there is violence, Karachi is also the center. This is a city of immense poverty, and the violence we see is not always physical, though we see our fair share of that too. It is the violence of poverty. Karachi has one of the largest slum populations in the world. We are a very sad city, but because of that we are also a resilient city. There are so many odds against us that we almost shouldn’t be. But somehow we are. That we continue to exist is hopeful for me, that we continue to be a business, artistic, and cultural center in the face of impossible violence is something to recognize and embrace. But we also must embrace the fact that something is not working, and that something must give for Pakistan and her people to thrive. We are a country that is losing our people day by day to the Taliban because the government has turned their heads from our basic needs, and fundamentalist groups have stepped in to fill the widening gap. We are a nuclear country that hasn’t been able to eradicate polio per our Millennium Development Goals because we do not have enough electricity to refrigerate the vaccine. And we are a country where parents must choose between sending their children to a school with government teachers who collect salaries but do not teach, or sending them to the madrassa on the next block that teaches radical Islam but provides at least a basic education. | 45

© Ed Kashi

The Geometry of Pakistan With three acclaimed novels behind her, writer Uzma Aslam Khan undoes formulaic assumptions of her homeland.


ust as the US is more than terrorism and extremism, so too is Pakistan. Just as the US is more than one successive president after another launching illegal attacks on sovereign states, Pakistan is more than one wretched military or civilian ruler after another. Pakistan is music, food, mountains, plains, villages, seas, cities, shrines, textiles, Sufism. Pakistan is also a very poor country where lives are excruciatingly difficult in ways that have to be understood by listening to those who’ve lived them. The only way to understand the complexity of any place is to first admit your preconceptions about it. Then be willing to shed them—be willing to listen. Pakistanis talk. That is something we do all the time, so there is plenty to hear. We talk about everything—politics, literature, foreign policy, relatives, religion, clothes—and we hardly ever agree. So instead of listening to Fox and CNN, listen to qawali and Sufi music, listen to the Sabri Brothers and Pathanay Khan. Read about the latest bomb blast, but also read the poets Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Fahmida Riaz. Perhaps hop on a plane and go there. That is really where hope is—in people to people contact. As a writer, I struggle because the kinds of stories the West wants from “Muslim women” is so prescribed. Take, for instance, the hysteria with which “life narratives” by “Muslim women” are consumed. These “authentic” memoirs all come packaged in the same cover—a woman gazing out in terror from behind a burqa. I’ve had to fight to keep such covers off my books. They want stories about passive housewives and battered daughters and veiled

erotica. Who wants to know that in Pakistan girls go on fossil digs? Or that they have lively, curious intellects that lead them to make important discoveries? When I began writing The Geometry of God, I wanted to set the entire novel outdoors, partly because I think Pakistan is beautiful and I wanted to walk that beauty and explore it in writing, but also as an act of resistance. I don’t want my books to churn out the same tired images. I’ve thought a lot about why the woman-in-burqa story is so popular in the West and come to this conclusion: It signifies both the terrorist and the victim. It reinforces fear of them and redeems trust in us. It gives war a moral justification—the emancipation of the Muslim woman. After all, when bombs fall on veiled women, the veils fall off. ●

It is time to switch places in some vital way. The clamor and protests should happen on America’s streets so peace and quiet can at last be felt in rooms of our own. Activist, essayist, and teacher UZMA ASLAM KHAN grew up in post-partition Karachi and is the author of The Story of Noble Rot, Trespassing, and the forthcoming The Geometry of God. Visit the author at 16)/()'$*ċ(+#/,+0ċ+). Connect with Uzma Aslam Khan on PulseWire!

WEB EXCLUSIVE: Read more from Uzma Aslam Khan in her exclusive essay, “Women and Fiction Today.” 46 |

My message to the women of the whole world is…We should NOT be quiet!



© AP Photo | Emilio Morenatti

© Yawar Nazir




© UN Photo | Eskinder Debebe

Cry for Justice Mukhtar Mai has become an international symbol of Pakistani women’s strength and resilience. As the threats against her increase, she speaks out for her country’s women. ukhtar Mai, a rural Pakistani woman from the village of Meerwala, was gang-raped in a brutal honor crime sanctioned by a tribal council in 2002. While tradition compels victims of these honor crimes to commit suicide, she chose instead to testify against her five abusers. After winning an unprecedented amount in damages, she became an overnight international celebrity and used the money to start a school and resource center for women and girls. “I was committed to my standpoint, and I did not give up,” she tells World Pulse through a translator. “The feudal police, the law enforcement agencies tried to keep me from speaking, but I knew I had to seek justice.” But no one could have imagined that the woman whose courage and resilience made her a hero to many would still be fighting for this justice— and her personal safety—seven years later. In 2005, the Pakistani court unexpectedly overturned the verdict and acquitted her rapists of all charges. Today, though her rapists are back behind bars, her court case remains in political limbo. With the threats against her piling up as conservative laws against women’s rights increase, Mai faces more adversity than ever. Still, she wishes to encourage women in Pakistan to speak out against the violence that is increasing, and to fight for what they believe in. “I did not give up,” she tells us, “and I was able to start a school for young girls. We started with only one class and one room, and it was hard to convince the families to let their girls attend. We went door-to-door to convince mothers to send their girls to our school, and we now have more than 900 students.” ● ACTION: Visit 3+.( ,1(/!ċ+)ĥ0%+* to find out how you can take

action to support Mukhtar Mai and her school for girls.






s World Pulse talked to the women of Pakistan for this edition, a rare voice from Kashmir came across our desks and opened our eyes to the untold story of one of the world’s most enduring conflicts. At the center of a 60-year brutal occupation by both India and Pakistan, the Kashmir Valley is a missing piece in a complex regional puzzle, one that is too often overlooked by those attempting to bring stability to the mountainous borderlands of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. “You cannot use my real name,” she said. “We are so scared for our lives. But we are so tired of being a side note to India and Pakistan. We must be heard.” Choosing a pen name to protect her identity, Fatima Sultan Syed has written her story in “My Life, My Kashmir,” a web-exclusive article available only on Since we published Sultan Syed’s article, a chorus of voices from Kashmir has surfaced on PulseWire, telling aching stories that might not otherwise see the light of day. An unprecedented Internet-dialogue is taking place among the women of Kashmir, Pakistan, and India. By intimately sharing their lives, these powerful women are working together for peace in a way never before possible. Read Fatima Sultan Syed’s story on, then connect with her on PulseWire. Visit PulseWire’s Hope in Kashmir: Sharing Our Stories group to join the discussion.

RESOURCECENTER Connect with Pakistani women changemakers in the Pakistan Café on PulseWire at | 47

© Anthony Asael | Art in All of Us

It’s a massive voice—not a single girl speaking alone. BETTY MAKONI | Founder, Girl Child Network, Zimbabwe

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© Anthony Asael | Art in All of Us



REVOLUTION The world is waking up to the fact that the greatest force for global change is growing up before our very eyes. BY CATHY GARRARD


new session unexpectedly stole the show at the 2009 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Early on a Saturday morning—when most delegates would be expected to be sleeping— a panel called “The Girl Effect” played to a standingroom-only crowd. A buzz circulated the packed room, which included heads of state, CEOs, international banks, and philanthropic leaders such as Melinda Gates and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus.

Why all the fuss? Lee Howell, Davos Annual Meeting Director, says girls were on the agenda for the first time in the meeting’s 39-year history because, as he puts it, “The field work, economic analysis, and experience all point to the powerful effect you’ll have if you invest in girls. People have to do more with less. If that’s the context we’re operating in, then the girl effect is an answer.” | 49

An educated girl applies 90% of her income back to her family. Boys apply just 35%. Yet, currently only 0.6% of development funds are devoted to girls. Out of the Shadows It’s a simple concept whose time has finally arrived. Study after study shows that girls—more than 600 million strong in the developing world—hold the key to their communities’ successful future when they’re schooled and mentored in leadership. When a girl in the developing world gets at least seven years of education, she will get married four years later and have 2.2 fewer children, breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty. And an educated girl will apply 90% of her income back into her family, while a boy invests only 35%. Even one extra year of primary school boosts girls’ potential wages by as much as 20%, according to a 2002 study from the World Bank in Washington, DC. Yet, despite overwhelming evidence that helping girls escape poverty is the key to healthy social and economic growth, only a meager 0.6% of development money goes to this demographic. If it’s so logical, why hasn’t the world been investing in girls? According to Melinda Gates, “the issue wasn’t brought to the forefront before, so when NGOs or foundations or civil society were developing their programs, they just weren’t thinking that way. If you don’t think about this…you don’t build it into the program from the get-go. Part of it’s just a mind shift.” “Girls are quite invisible,” says Tamara Kreinin, executive director of Women and Population at the UN Foundation in Washington, DC. “They have no political power. Often they’re not allowed to own anything, and at a young age, they become the little mamas, the ones who do the chores and keep the household going.” They are also held back by rampant poverty, forced marriages, domestic violence, and lack of reproductive health. “It’s critical that we begin to think about what we want for our own daughters, granddaughters, and nieces, and imagine that for all girls.”

But perhaps the biggest megaphone of all for a new landscape for girls is the Nike Foundation and the NoVo Foundation’s short, online video called “The Girl Effect.” Since its inception last year, it has become a runaway viral hit that has branded the issue globally.

Girls at the Center of Success “What’s been most successful are programs that look at all aspects of a girl’s life, health, education, and livelihood of her family and community,” says Kreinin of the UN Foundation. “You have to ask their families, ‘How can we work with you so you have the resources you need so this girl can go to school?’ To shift the culture, you have to open up the conversation.” Case in point: When Ann Cotton, founder of CAMFED, an international group that educates and empowers young African girls, launched her program in rural Zimbabwe in the early ‘90s, she asked the chief of the village for permission to hold a community meeting about how best to integrate more girls into their schools. Hundreds of people walked for miles to attend. “The roadblock wasn’t a culture that is resistant to girls’ education,” says Cotton. “The reality was that most parents didn’t have the means to send all of their children to school. Most parents in rural Africa have not had an education, and they want that for their daughters very badly.” Cotton worked within the existing structures of teachers, police, and the judiciary to figure out how to make the journey to school less dangerous for girls and to work out ways for girls to be relieved of their agricultural chores in order to have the time to get an education. Now, nearly 650,000 girls in four African nations have benefited from CAMFED’s educational programs.

When you begin to undo whatever negativity was instilled, you see they become a totally different species. BETTY MAKONI | Founder, Girl Child Network, Zimbabwe

Growing Our Girls Although many organizations that help educate girls and build leadership skills have emerged since the 1990s, the movement is only now gaining real traction. A turning point hit when the Center for Global Development released a report last year called “Girls Count” that detailed the shocking inequities girls face in many areas of the world, and the impact this has on economies. Nonprofits and corporations alike took notice. The UN Foundation partnered with the Nike Foundation and 30 other international organizations to establish the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, which aims to direct funds toward the development of young women. Then the Nike Foundation, along with the Buffett’s NoVo Foundation, launched an unprecendented $100-million Girl Effect initiative in 2008 to help adolescent girls in developing countries foster social and economic change among their families, communities, and nations. Program director of NoVo Foundation, Pamela Shifman, says that before settling on girls, the Buffetts

For Betty Makoni, founder of the Girl Child Network in Zimbabwe, the girl empowerment issue is deeply personal. Makoni was raped and witnessed her father murder her mother when she was only 9-years-old. In 1999, Makoni started GCN, determined to help today’s girls avoid the horrors of her own childhood. “As a young girl, I saw injustices toward my mother,” says Makoni. “It was hard to see an adult woman in pain. I tried to tell her to break the silence, but she wouldn’t have it. I realized if I had economic opportunity, we could break the silence together.” Makoni believes that if you reach girls early enough, they will grow up empowered and, unlike Makoni’s mother, will be able to speak out against

undertook a deep quest to understand how their foundation could have the greatest impact. “After many meetings and discussions they realized that they wanted to get to the root of domination, and that the most unheard person in the world is a girl.”

abuse and injustice. “We provide the means for girls to work around the societal barriers they face,” she insists. GCN, which coaches girls in leadership training, has worked with more than 30,000 girls over its decade of operation; there are currently 700 girls

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© Katherine Kiviat

It’s critical that we begin to think about what we want for our own daughters, granddaughters, and nieces, and imagine that for all girls. TAMARA KREININ | UN Foundation, USA

clubs across Zimbabwe, with chapters beginning to take form in other African nations. “It’s a massive voice—not a single girl speaking alone,” says Makoni. And that voice has had the tone, pitch, and strength to lobby successfully for laws outlawing virginity testing, protecting girls from forced marriage, and making the rape of a young girl punishable by life in prison, making Zimbabwe one of the only African nations to explicitly protect girls against these common practices.

Passing the Torch Successful girl-empowerment programs are now reaping what they’ve sown. The initial girls they invested in are now returning to their communities to teach, advocate for, and mentor other girls. “They are united by a background of rural poverty, and that experience gives them empathy, and that empathy gives them the impetus to act,” says Cotton. “They are a generation of activists who are tireless in what they will do for others.” CAMFED alum Esnart Chulu, 18, of Mpika, Zambia, launched a preschool earlier this year for street children and orphans in her village that receives funding from Zambia’s Ministry of Education. The school currently has 65 children enrolled and won’t turn anyone away if their parents can’t afford the minimal fee. “If a child goes to preschool, she has a foundation to go on to the next grade and won’t be roaming around getting into trouble,” says Chulu. “They can make something of their lives.” The Girl Child Network has now nurtured enough talent to allow Makoni to take a step back and allow some of her graduates to direct the course of its future. “We discovered if you don’t have girls in the hierarchy of the organization, it fails,” she explains. “If we don’t understand the language girls use, we don’t understand their challenges.”

Girls Unite! One of the linchpins of the movement’s continued success lies with the concept of uniting girls’ voices into a collective power—akin to taking a classroom conversation to an international scale. Organizations like the Girls International Forum hold summits where girls around the world get together

to share ideas about how to change public policy. “It’s important for them to see they’re part of a global society,” says Zora Radosevich, GIF’s executive director. “So often girls are isolated, and they want change to happen. It helps for them to talk to other girls. We teach them how to build a network of allies so they feel comfortable in a public policy forum.” Other groups build those bonds virtually. New Moon Girl Media has created an online community where girls aged 8 to 12 can express themselves in a safe, creative, and positive space. “They share videos, poetry, articles, music, opinions, and they help each other with problems,” says New Moon founder Nancy Gruver. “It supports girls in staying true to who they are, and helping them to resist stereotypes and pressure to fit into someone else’s idea of who they should be.” “Girls have got a lot of potential,” says Makoni. “How we bring that out is the key issue. When you begin to undo whatever negativity was instilled in them, you see they become a totally different species. They have so much power. It’s too late to make that happen if you reach a woman rather than a girl.” Adds Cotton: “The only way we can do that well is to listen respectively to girls themselves. And in learning from them, we can develop programs that work.” As eyes increasingly turn to the real experts—girls themselves—the world is finding that girls have been ready for this revolution all along. “I’ve always known that a girl possesses the key to her community’s development and an extraordinary power to effect social change,” says Sejal Hathi, age 17, founder and president of Girls Helping Girls, which has trained and mobilized over 5,000 girls from 15 nations. “Girls are the movers and shakers!”

Changed Minds At the close of that historic Davos session, World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala called out to the audience. “Raise your hand,” she said, “if you now understand and believe in why we must invest in girls.” Everyone raised their hands. ● | 51

Movers and Shakers

From Kenya to India, girls are changing the world.


Margaret Muthoni Wanjiru 22, Entrepreneur, Nairobi, Kenya

I was brought up by a single mother and my widowed grandmother who struggled through many hardships to make me what I am. I am the first-born in my family, and that’s why they helped me to be a good leader. I am proof that experiencing hard times doesn’t determine your future; what matters is where you are going and what you do. I wanted to be a business woman in my community, so even though I take care of my son and my younger brother, I started selling water and batiks. I came up with my business idea when I realized that most plots in our community didn’t have water. I took the opportunity to start a water kiosk so that people can access some easily. I usually sell five-liter jerry cans for two shillings. I started selling batiks after I took a class and realized it was an opportunity. I decided to make some to sell, and now I am making a profit. After I set up my businesses, I started working with young women, helping them understand that being a mother doesn’t mean they can’t still become what they want, training them to be young entrepreneurs, and building their capacity by talking to them and sharing the experiences that each one of us is going through. I organized a fund—some of which comes from my savings with the rest coming from a village enterprise fund and from the members themselves—to give them capital to start up small businesses. Tribalism has been a big problem in my country. My family was chased out of Maasai land when I was little, and after the elections in 2008, Kikuyus and Luos fought each other violently. As a businesswoman in my community, I come across people with different opinions, from different races, and I try to cope with them in spite of their differences. During the post-election violence, I built up the courage to talk to people in the different tribes and organized group discussions and forums to find alternatives to violence. My message was that instead of fighting and stealing each other’s property, we need to work hard and invest to get what we don’t have. In that way, I helped people come together to protect our village. Now I am a role model in my community, and I have seen a change. The young girls are engaging in things that are of good in their lives—some even have big businesses! But the greatest joy in all is that I am paying forward in my community and I now know that I can become a leader to the whole world. 

We’ve mobilized and trained more than 5,000 girls from more than 15 different countries and indirectly affected thousands more. SEJAL HATHI

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I’ve learned how to refuse child marriage…Whatever we learn, we go back to our schools and communities and teach it to other girls. KRISHNA HIMATBHAI MAKWANA


Sejal Hathi

17, Founder and CEO of Girls Helping Girls San Francisco, CA, USA When I was 14, some friends and I organized a benefit to raise funds and awareness for the victims of the Darfur genocide. Through that project, I met some of the youth I was aiding. I was shocked and horrified by the girls’ tales of inequality and poverty! I was determined to establish an organization that empowers girls to discover and declare their own voices. GHG is the only international nonprofit that is run completely by girls, for girls. Our first initiative is Empower-A-Girl, a program that partners girls in the US with those in developing countries. Our goals are eradicating poverty, increasing access to education, improving health, and promoting peace. Teams engage in cultural exchange projects that utilize toolkits, grants, and online networks and resources to conceive and implement their own social-change projects. Thus far, we’ve mobilized and trained more than 5,000 girls from more than 15 different countries and indirectly affected thousands more. Our efforts have raised more than $30,000 to provide scholarships, build a library, furnish classrooms, provide food and water, purchase uniforms, and stage service programs. In Nigeria, one girl, Damilola, joined our program with no sense of self: her self-respect, her personal value, even what her strengths and her interests were. She could not articulate any of this or claimed it was unimportant! But recently, I received a letter from her adult advisor, sharing with me how tremendously her confidence has lifted in the past couple of months, how our health curricula has helped her. Simple activities, like meditation, setting goals, positive thinking exercises, and letters from her new friends in the US empowered this girl. Now she says, “I want to become the director of computer science in a very big company.” Damilola also declared that she will “work with a group of friends to set up a computer school to begin helping my peers right now.’” This is what I call self-transformation. It is this spirit, this animus of selfconfidence and transcendent hope and tenacity, that I want to see blossom in the thousands of girls I work with every day through GHG. United, the voices of Girls Helping Girls compose a resounding chorus of action and advocacy for peace.


Perla Marina Aguirre Tejada

15, Radio show host, World Vision, San Francisco, Menéndez, Ahuachapan, El Salvador TEACHING CONFIDENCE

Krishna Himatbhai Makwana

17, Senior team member and former President of Balsena, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India Balsena is a children’s organization run and managed by about 2,500 members aged 8 to 18 from diverse backgrounds. I also am a member of Kishore Mandal, which is a club of adolescent girls. Whatever we learn, we go back to our schools and communities and teach it to other girls. If anyone harasses one of us on the road, we know how to deal with that situation. We also know how to seek support from others. We wish that all the girls had the same opportunity we have. I’ve learned how to refuse child marriage. Balsena organized the first-ever National Consultation of Children’s Collective. For the first time, children from many different organizations came together. We teach children how to save money to buy books and other educational materials. We’re trying to increase our membership and spread the program to other communities. We want to start our own newsletter to give children the chance to express themselves. Balsena is my second home. I am learning and teaching others at the same time. It has helped me to fulfill my dream to become a teacher and contribute to someone else’s life. I got the opportunity to go to the US to attend the Girls International Summit. It was the most memorable experience of my life. That really boosted my self-esteem and gave me wide exposure to a new world.

In San Francisco Menéndez, there are many issues youth face: about 80% of families are broken; there are no educational facilities for basic and college-level classes; and our area suffers from a lot of flooding. I was very interested in overcoming many barriers that have prevented the youth of our community from sharing our ideas. So when I learned about a World Vision community project for youth, called Renacer (Renew), I felt like it was a gift from God because it was something so close to my heart. Doing the show wasn’t easy. We had to travel great distances, learn how to write scripts, and work long hours to prepare the first radio program directed by youth. Our hour-long show isn’t just for young people; we cover topics that adults will be interested in too, like the environment, teen dating, and the impact drugs are having on youth. We have had great role models who continually teach us. Through this learning process, I have learned how to relate better to others, and I have learned how to teach others about disaster prevention and preparation— and opened conversations about important topics. I would like to be someone who helps transform lives. I would like to be able to get the people in my community to see the light in the midst of the darkness and to teach others that you have to fight to make it big. I know that I can accomplish this. ●

You have to fight to make it big.

© Ashish T. Galande


Check Out… …the video that is generating an online buzz for the girl revolution! | …“Your Move: A Manifesto for Changing the World with Girls”

A safe, creative and positive world for girls. Ages 8 and up. Empowering online community & magazine. Fully moderated

“Girls Count: A Global Investment and Action Agenda,” a report by the Center for Global Development |

RESOURCECENTER Visit the organizations featured in this story online! The Coalition for Adolescent Girls | The Nike Foundation |  The Girl Child Network | Girls International Forum | Girls Helping Girls | New Moon | Power Girls Magazine | World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts Campaign for Female Education | Global Girl Media | Join the Girl Revolution group on PulseWire! 54 |

No risk 30 day free trial at | 55



Spiritual teacher Sobonfu Somé on ancient African practices we can use to place children at the center of our communities.

Rituals help us go back to a time when children are life and life is children.

y tribe, the Dagara tribe of Burkina Faso, understands that the health of our community is intertwined with the strength and health of our children. Children are life-givers, healers, messengers of the ancestors. They bring out the spirit of our community; they bring spirit home. My people call upon many rituals to ensure that our children grow to be healthy, and, in turn, support the health of our community. We have the ability to put a stop to destructive generational patterns and to raise our sons and daughters with respect, self-esteem, and a true commitment to their lives. It all begins with ritual. Rituals are about healing, acknowledgment of people and their gifts, and making spirit visible or tangible. We use rituals to honor and celebrate childbirth, children, and community. Through these simple practices, we come to understand the interconnectedness of spirit, community, children, and the ancestors—we come to acknowledge the gifts our children bring to our communities. The following are easy rituals you can do to celebrate your child and all that he or she brings to this world.

A Joyful Welcoming The Dagara believe that what happens to us while in the womb and at birth molds the rest of our lives. For this reason, we believe that children need to be joyfully welcomed as soon as they are born. In my village, when a mother is in labor, children up to 5-years-old are placed in a room next to the birthing room to answer the baby’s first cry. They respond by crying back the way the baby cried to let the newborn know it has arrived in the right place. The baby is believed to send a signal back to the ancestors to let them know that he or she is safe. An unanswered cry leads to a deep wounding of the soul, and later will translate at the community level as anger and violence. Answering the cry

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allows a child to feel connected to a community and welcomed into their new life. In Western communities, births typically take place in a hospital. To replicate this ritual in this setting, I encourage everyone in the room to respond enthusiastically to your new child’s first cry. If possible have children—or the recorded voices of children—answer their cry back with a cry of their own.

A Naming Ritual Our names bring certain patterns to our lives and have the capacity to forge our destinies. It’s a code ingrained in us that allows us to remember, recognize, and respond to our purpose. My name, Sobonfu Somé, means “Keeper of the Rituals, Keeper of the Knowledge.” When it is called, I am reminded of my purpose. In the Dagara tribe, the first time a baby’s name is announced, an anxious group of villagers waits outside while the elders, the parents, and the child’s grandparents complete a naming ritual. The grandparents introduce the baby to the different directions and elements, asking for protection, groundedness, clarity, strength, and nurturing. The grandmother or grandfather whispers the baby’s name three or four times, depending on the baby’s sex, into the baby’s ears. The name is then said out loud the same number of times. All members of the community whisper the name into the baby’s ear and give their blessings as they come to their knees to speak to the baby. Before you name your child, research any name you are considering. Try to find a name that matches your child’s purpose. When you have found the right name, you will receive a “knowing” in the form of a dream or a vision.

A Child’s Voice In the village, everyone is your father and mother. Children feel that they can count on all the

© Jan Stürmann |


When children speak, it lets the toxins out and new energy comes through.

villagers and that they can trust them. The village is there to be their ear, to hear their voice, and to encourage them to speak their truth. If we don’t encourage our children to talk and to be open, they learn other ways to let their voice out; this energy can become highly destructive to them and to the community. When children speak, it lets toxins out, and new energy comes through. We can create extended family and community by encouraging our children to forge close relationships with our neighbors, family members, co-workers, and friends. This is how children in my village learn their irreplaceable value in the community and the importance of the community for their well-being. This is why no child is truly an orphan in my village; there will always be at least one mother or father to take care of this soul, even if the biological parents are absent. All members of the community care for the children with all their hearts, souls, and love.

A Child’s Purpose We can learn many things from our children as they grow up that will expose what their purpose truly

is. Children are constantly sending out messages; if a community listens and watches closely, it will see pieces of their purpose emerge. Pay attention to the things your child gravitates toward, the things your child likes to do. Encourage the gifts they have and watch them blossom. When I am in the company of children, I am always reminded of a fight between a crocodile and a mother pig I witnessed at the village river. The mother pig was taking her babies to the riverbed to have their daily wash. As the piglets were enjoying themselves, the mother went in search of a deeper water hole, while still keeping an eye on her babies. A hungry crocodile grabbed one of the piglets. The mother rushed after it, and chased it down to the deep hole the crocodile had made for itself. After a long and bloody fight the mother came back safely with her baby. She carefully gathered all her babies out of the water and arranged them around the one the crocodile had attacked. After I saw this scene I said to myself, this is something to die for—to die for the well-being of children. We must protect our children. We

cannot afford to go to sleep at night without knowing that our children are safe, contented, and feel worthwhile. We must fight for their gifts. It is time to take a stand for the values that are essential to our well-being, for the values that honor and respect our children, elders, and community. Rituals help us to go back to a time where children are life and life is children. It is time to come together in community to support and protect our children and to find our own unique ways to welcome Spirit home. ● SOBONFU SOMÉ was born and raised in Burkina

Faso and is an initiated member of the Dagara tribe of West Africa. She is a spiritual teacher of ancient wisdoms, and the author of multiple books, including Welcoming Spirit Home, from which this article is excerpted. Visit her website at /++*"1ċ+).

RESOURCECENTER Join the Cradle group on PulseWire to share your own parenting wisdoms! | 57

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© Holly Wilmeth


Quests for vision have helped us navigate life’s transitions for millennia. Renowned Native American psychologist Leslie Gray offers a technique that will help you to seek one of your own.


he term “vision quest” has been translated from the Lakota word hanblecheya, which actually means “to cry for a vision.” It is a cross-cultural ritual performed when someone has come to a psychological crossroad and needs help to proceed. It is something you do when you feel lost. We all come to places in our lives where we no longer know where we are going. We have moved out of one phase but are not yet in the next, and we are struggling to understand how to move on.

“walkabout,” wherein one travels solo across vast territory for many months as a rite of passage. In recent times we have lost touch with the traditional ways in which human beings have sought to integrate their psychological and spiritual selves. Yet today, when so many in modern society feel lost, the value of periodically engaging in some kind of quest for vision is as great as ever. Because once you’ve obtained a personal vision, you can be “pulled along” by its power. Even though it might sometimes be difficult to follow the path you’ve

Even though it might be difficult to follow the path you’ve been shown, it is never as difficult—or painful—as being lost. The majority of cultures around the world have offered individuals some means of stepping outside of ordinary reality to obtain spiritual help. In the Arctic someone may sit in a snow hut for many days without food or water and receive a

been shown, it is never as difficult—or painful—as being lost. After I got my doctorate, I sought a vision because I was trying to heal from painful feelings of having lost touch with my calling during my

vision. There is a North American Indian practice of receiving instructions from the spirits by fasting and spending a night in a dark cave until you can “see.” There is also the well-known Australian aboriginal

years in a rather sterile university setting. I knew that I did not want to practice a psychology divorced from spirit, but I didn’t know what form my practice would take. When I asked the spirits

for a healing vision, I was shown how to become a different kind of healer than either the conventional role my academic training had portrayed or the traditional model of indigenous healing with which I was familiar. A quest for vision is a very simple process at its core. It fundamentally involves reducing the distracting stimuli of your regular routine in order to create an opening to receive precious information. When I work with patients who do not have the ability to arrange an extended period of solitude in a remote area, I suggest a process they can complete on their own in about a day and a half. To start, spend the day fasting lightly and avoiding unnecessary conversations so you can inwardly review where your life path has led. Ask yourself, “How has my life gotten out of balance?” Then, before going to bed, silently ask for a dream of “balance restored.” Wake up early the next day and write down the key images from the dream. As the sun is rising, go to a local beach, a riverbank, a quiet part of a nearby park, or even a backyard, and collect a small stone for each image in your dream. Then for one moon cycle (28 days), balance and rebalance the stones on top of each other in differing order every day, noticing how many configurations can still result in balance. This may be done at home on a table, mantle, or desk. At the end of the cycle, return the stones to their original home and thank them for their help. If done with intention, this simple process can provide direction and insight. The idea is to remove yourself from linear thinking through dreaming and then engage your senses as you work with the stones, each of which embodies a vital message from your dream. As you balance and rebalance the stones, you can see many ways that crucial ingredients of change can come about in your life. Human beings are unlike other animals in that over the course of our life span, we do not transition automatically from one phase to the next. We need understanding and guidance to effectively make changes. Actively seeking vision during times of transition will help you to stay congruent with your unique life path. ● DR. LESLIE GRAY is a Native

American psychologist who has studied with medicine people and elders from various tribal backgrounds. She is the executive director and founder of the Woodfish Institute, through which she advocates and embodies a new vision of health care—the integration of ancient healing and modern medicine. Learn more at | 59







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60 |

The air smells of sheep and seaweed.


New Zealand Literary sensation Fiona Farrell explores the mythical allure of the islands she calls home.

so that we wake at night to the trembling of the earth and the creaking of our wooden houses. At such times, it truly does feel as if we are living on a fish or a tippy canoe, adrift on a choppy sea.

Š H.Puschmann Š Marco Pastore

I have lived elsewhere: in Oxford, and later Toronto, where I studied drama. But New Zealand is where I belong. A British literary agent once told me I would have to adapt if I wanted to find a wider audience; my country was too insignificant to be of interest to the readers of Surrey or New York. It made me stubborn. I became more determined to write about this place I love, with its complicated history, its subtle understatement, its suppressed antagonisms, and its sheer beauty. I love its energy. There are artists everywhere, and composers, writers, gardenersâ&#x20AC;Ś New Zealanders are vigorous and impatient with conformity. Whether Maori or Pakeha, we are the descendants of travelers and adventurers, whether our ancestors got here by ocean-going waka centuries ago, or last year on a jet. We are open to experiment. Women voted here before anywhere else. We are fundamentally a decent society, believing in free universal healthcare and education. The country may be smallâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;there are only four and a half million of us after allâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;but the land is full of drama. Mountains are huge and wild, and despite a century of determined logging, there are still expanses of primeval forest. It is possible to escape to long empty beaches like Oreti or Tangimoana where the driftwood piles deep and the wind blows in straight from Antarctica. Wilderness and civilization have struck a balance. I love it here. It fits me perfectly.â&#x20AC;&#x201A;â&#x2014;?


n myth, it is a canoe. A giant waka, on which a demigod stood to draw up a giant fish. Before prosaic British naval men labeled it â&#x20AC;&#x153;North Island,â&#x20AC;? it was called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Te Ika a Maui,â&#x20AC;? the fish of Maui. And it does indeed look like a fishâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a skate perhaps with broad wings. The waka they called â&#x20AC;&#x153;South Island,â&#x20AC;? and that is where I liveâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;on the tip of a peninsula. Sometimes on a dusty summer dayâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a norâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;wester gusting over the plains and the clouds stretched like a white sail above the Alpsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;it can indeed feel as if the place is a canoe, tossed on a turbulent southern sea. Geologically, of course, there are other explanations. This peninsula was once a massive volcano, while the place where I was bornâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;North Otago, 200 kilometers further southâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;was a limestone reef created from the remains of billions of tiny creatures called bryozoa who lived 50 million years ago on the shores of a warm primeval sea. When I was in the womb, my mother ate the vegetables she grew in the calcium-rich soil of their creation. My bones took shape. I am the child of this land. I love it. I love its small scale and the way you come upon it after hours of flying over empty ocean, suddenly dipping through cloud to land on this narrow strip of earth. The light has that low-altitude clarity. Colors are vivid, and the airâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;always on the move, restless, tickling the back of your neck on even the mildest of daysâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;smells of sheep and seaweed. The whole place is jittery, given to explosion and occasional swarms of earthquakes

Fionaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Must-See Places

Š Duncan Blair

Š Rolf Hicker Photographyâ&#x20AC;&#x201A;|â&#x20AC;&#x201A;


Go for a tramp into the high country, staying overnight in remote huts: Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d recommend Mt. Cook, the Routeburn Track, or Banks Peninsula! Walk on a wild beach at Tangimoana, Oreti, or Stewart Island. Icy but wonderful!

Read a book or watch the edgy fashions on the street while drinking a perfect coffee in a New Zealand cafĂŠ, or order a great meal. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d recommend Maranui in Wellington, Vangionis in Akaroa, the Central Otago Hotel at Hyde, or The Cornershop Bistro at Sumner in Christchurch. Pay your respects to the great old dinosaur of a tree, Tane Mahuta, in Northland.

Visit the galleries, especially the Christchurch Art Gallery, and smaller jewelry galleries like Lure in Dunedin.


is one of New

Zealandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading novelists, poets, and short story writers. Learn more about her work at Ăź+*"..!((Ä&#x2039;+). | 61

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BOOKS The Otherside of Staceyann Chin Jamaican poet, lesbian activist, and writer finds balance in unexpected places. BY TRACEY SAMUELSON


If you don’t see yourself in the canon of literature, write yourself in.

resh off a 10-day trip to Jamaica, the taste of mangos still lingering on her tongue, Staceyann Chin is exactly where she’s supposed to be. “You know when that happens?” she asks. “When all the stars align and it just seems perfect? I feel like this year all my worlds came together. Everything is in balance.” Now back in New York City, her adopted home, Staceyann talks about her travels and her memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, with care and confidence. Her life hasn’t always been so in balance. Her memoir chronicles a less than ideal childhood growing up in Jamaica without her mother or father. For comfort, she turned to the stories of other orphaned children, including Anne of Green Gables, The Silver Sword, and even Oliver Twist. Still, she looked for a voice in literature that would more closely mirror her own. Where was that special combination of traits and labels that is Staceyann—lesbian, Jamaican, mixed race, activist, poet, writer? There was none. She would write it herself. “I’m good at speaking to people who might not share my experiences, at getting them to understand,” she says. “Because I can see what’s important in cross-cultural communication. People who suffer seem to share a similar stance, a way of aching, a way of moving, a way of being overwhelmed. When you strip away everything else and look at the loss or the oppression…the details differ, but the feeling is the same. Hunger is hunger. Loss is loss. I look for things that make us similar rather than different.” Because of this, Staceyann insists that readers who cannot check her same boxes will still find themselves in her writing. “Lovers in Senegal look at each other the same way as lovers in New York City…It’s one of my great pleasures to spot where it is that we are more the same than we are at odds.” With her memoir now behind her, she admits she feels freer. “I feel as if, for such a long time, I’ve been carrying this baby, and when I started writing this book, the water broke. And now that I have given birth to this book, I can create things that are not of my body or of my specific experience…I don’t have to work so hard to make myself visible anymore.” Having written herself into existence, Staceyann highly recommends the experience of sharing your voice for the next generation. “If you don’t see yourself in the canon of literature, write yourself in,” she advises. “Pick up a camera, pick up a pen, a guitar. Because if you leave it up to the historians, they’ll just write what they want to write. It’s so important for those who come after you to know that you existed, that they’re not the first.” ●

The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World Jacqueline Novogratz | Rodale Books, 2009 | Global

In her powerful new memoir, The Blue Sweater, Acumen Fund founder Jacqueline Novogratz reflects on her personal fight against global poverty and the future of sustainable philanthropy. Part reflection of her early experiences leaving the world of corporate banking for development work, and part exploration of the politics that often confound poverty initiatives, Novogratz’s book makes a strong case for the empowerment of local entrepreneurs and offers timely investment advice for the spurring of new markets. Novogratz writes, “This book is for people who do not seek easy solutions or insist on a singular ideology for the world.”

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Burnt Shadows

Kamila Shamsie | Picador, 2009 | Global Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie’s latest novel, Burnt Shadows, is an epic story of new beginnings. It opens in 1945 when Hiroko Tanaka, a young Japanese woman, and Konrad Weiss, a German man, fall in love and plan to marry. But their plans are obliterated in an instant when Konrad is killed in the bombing of Nagasaki. Devastated and alone, Hiroko travels to Delhi, where the memory of her fiancé is alive thanks to Konrad’s half-sister, Elizabeth, and her British husband, James. What follows is an intricate account of the interconnectedness of two families, spanning more than 60 years and five countries. Shamsie’s elegant tale unearths the beauty and pain of migration and urges us all to look at the impact of a world plagued by conflict.

Dragon Fighter: One Woman’s Epic Struggle for Peace with China

Rebiya Kadeer with Alexandra Cavelius | Kales Press, 2009 | Uyghur Nation/China Rebiya Kadeer’s memoir, Dragon Fighter, exposes the bravery of one woman determined to find justice for her people. Sharing a struggle similar to Tibet’s fight for autonomy, the Uyghur Nation has suffered from 60 years of Chinese occupation, including harassment, forced abortions, and even massacre. Part historical analysis, part personal saga, Kadeer’s memoir gives us a glimpse into the life of the nation’s most revered political dissident. At times a small ant crawling along this landscape and at other times a bird soaring over it, Kadeer has never doubted her conviction that she was born to be a voice for liberation. Having risen from poverty to create a multimillion dollar business enterprise, Kadeer remains committed to freeing her region from their brutal realities, even at the cost of arrest and exile.

Finding Beauty in a Broken World

Terry Tempest Williams | Pantheon, 2008 | Global Terry Tempest Williams has pieced together another literary masterpiece with her latest work, Finding Beauty in a Broken World. Her story begins with an answered prayer: Off the coast of Maine, she asks the sea to give her “one wild word” and the word it returns to her is “mosaic.” Questioning, yet trusting the answer, she travels to Ravenna, Italy, to learn the art of mosaic and discovers a new way of seeing and writing about the world. Her journey continues on to Utah, where she studies endangered prairie dogs, and then to Rwanda, a nation shattered by genocide. Throughout these adventures, her philosophical musings on this word reveal to her how, like a mosaic, beautiful conversation can emerge among the most deeply fragmented environments.

This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa’s First Woman President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf | HarperCollins, 2009 | Liberia

The rise to power of Africa’s first female president is the subject of this long-awaited memoir from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. The year is 2005, and after 14 years of civil conflict, the Republic of Liberia has made its call for change manifest in the election of Johnson Sirleaf, the former Minister of Finance. A fighter for peace, social justice, and political transparency throughout her prestigious career, she has been a beacon of hope for a nation torn asunder. In This Child Will be Great, we are given glimpses into Johnson Sirleaf’s early life—but the real focus is her consistent commitment to helping Liberia’s people recover in the wake of a bitter civil war.

My Hope for Peace

Jehan Sadat | Free Press, 2009 | Egypt Jehan Sadat is a mother, distinguished professor, peace advocate, activist, leader, and the widow of slain Egyptian president and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Anwar Sadat. Here, she brings us a collection of essays with her second book, My Hope for Peace, published to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Israeli-Egyptian Peace Treaty that her husband pushed into being. Having been beside Anwar Sadat during his efforts to establish peace with Israel, Jehan Sadat is uniquely positioned to lend her views on the Middle East—from Israel and Palestine relations, to life as a Muslim woman. | 67

MUSIC Singing a New Reality Colombian-born Marta Gómez on her country, her music, and her mission. BY CORA DEURSEN

arta Gómez is on her way to Israel to sing at Tel Aviv’s 100th birthday celebration with Israeli singer and activist Idan Raichel. It’s further evidence of this Colombian singer-songwriter’s global soul; she’s not willing to stay in one place for long, and she has fans on what seems like every continent. With five albums under her belt, including the just-released Musiquita, Gómez incorporates rhythms from across Latin and South American countries. But it is Colombia that she is most passionate about, and she manages to take the bitter history of her home country and turn it into something soft, beautiful, and filled with life. “I want people to know that Colombia is more than conflict,” she says. “We have two realities; the one you see on the news—a country at war, a country in poverty—and the one that I sing about. We are a beautiful people, a people who work hard and who have a rich, beautiful history,” she says. “You can talk about the realities of war without being aggressive,” she adds. “You can be political without being angry. My music is based on my nostalgia for the place I was born. I sing about being away from Colombia (Gómez is currently based in the US, where she attended Boston’s Berklee School of Music), and I sing about the social and political issues that are plaguing it.”

We have two realities: The one you see on the news—a country at war, a country in poverty—and the one that I sing about.

In a new song called “Basilio,” Gómez sings about the 14-year-old Bolivian mine worker who was profiled in the 2005 documentary The Devil’s Miner. It’s part of a larger effort on her part to raise awareness about child labor throughout South America—an effort that she feels is just part of her responsibility as a singer. “As songwriters, it’s our duty to sing about more than our own lives. Today, musicians are using this voice less and less, thinking that it’s not important; but we have a power in our voices that we have to use.” Gómez has surrounded herself with other artists who share this sentiment, sharing the stage with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, John Mayer, and Argentinian folksinger Mercedes Sosa. On stage in Tel Aviv, Gómez recognizes that her music has managed to do exactly what she has set out to do—connect across borders, languages, and histories. “As a Colombian, it’s amazing to sing with Idan [Raichel], a man from Israel who knows the meaning of war and conflict as well as I do, and to connect around that. Music is a language all its own. If you’re honest about the music you compose and sing, people get that.” ●

Plegaria del Árbol Negro © Carlos Coccio

Tonolec | Independent Production, 2008 | Argentina

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With the release of their new album, Plegaria del Árbol Negro, this entrancing Argentinian duo has sealed their destiny as a force of musical genuis. Intent on conserving the voice of Argentina’s indigenous Toba culture, Tonolec plants electronic beats in native prayers, seeding a fertile landscape of rhythms. Lead singer Charo Bogarín deploys her voice as the central instrument laced with wind and drums, while Diego Perez stirs us with a pulse that is festive but also deep and meditative. Full-bodied, this is an album that is sure to leave a legacy.



Soname Yangchen | World Music, 2009 | Tibet Soname Yangchen’s voice—and story—soars in her new album, Plateau. A singer/songwriter of contemporary Tibetan mountain songs, she uses spirited, free-flowing lyrics and sounds to reflect on her lost homeland. As a young girl, she fled slavery and Chinese occupation in Lhasa, crossed the Himalayas, and became an exile. But through her music, Yangchen returns home to Tibet. Steeped in tradition, Soname’s songs hold the stillness of memory, harmonizing the old with the new, the past with the present, and loss with possibility.


Rokia Traoré | Nonesuch Records, 2008 | Mali

© Richard Dumas

The much celebrated Malian singer, songwriter, and musician Rokia Traoré has received global praise for her fourth and latest album, Tchamantche. Here, her voice beautifully bears lyrics in French, English, and Bambara, a Malian language. In one song, she might start with a beat-box, then run her voice deep along base tones toward rapid cascades of bright, bluesy rhythms. Using traditional Malian instruments alongside the electric guitar, Traoré creates a genre of music that is as modern as new rock, while retaining a distinctly Malian sound. Tchamantche is an album that unfolds itself slowly, revealing a deeply personal—and deeply accessible—compilation of sound and history.


Maria de Barros | Sheer Sound, 2009 | Cape Verde An exploration of time, space, and style, Maria de Barros’ newest album combines Cape Verdean traditional Morna and Coladeira beats with a rich frappé of global rhythm and melody. With Morabeza, a Creole word meaning hospitality, de Barros welcomes you with a joyful and tender voice, and ushers you into an upbeat and eclectic club. Tempos whipped up with the finest musical ingredients from Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, France, and Spain transform here as easily as the languages de Barros sings in. With songs composed by the island country’s most acclaimed writers, this album is a truly inclusive effort—one that’s sure to get you dancing.

The Beauty and the Sea

Mor Karbasi | Mintaka Music, 2008 | Israel/UK Mor Karbasi’s debut album, The Beauty and the Sea, is a brave new contribution to Sephardic music. Here, Karbasi, an Israeli-born descendent of Moroccan and Persian Jews, now based in London, performs traditional Ladino songs and her own Ladino-inspired compositions. Singing in Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, and Ladino—the language passed down to her from her mother who would sing Andalusian Jewish ballads at home—Karbasi makes evident in her music the magic involved in her richly complex heritage.

Middle Cyclone

Neko Case | Anti Records, 2009 | USA Neko Case is an awesome force to be reckoned with, disarming us completely with her fifth studio album, Middle Cyclone. In a clear, husky voice she moves through alternative country and gospel vibes sung with gripping, often comical, lyrics about life and love, especially. An exceptional singer/songwriter and a strong, exceedingly clever woman, Case showcases earth and animal imagery and bleeding, heartfelt poetry. Her songs, some actually tracked in a barn on her farm in Virginia, seem to be creatures themselves, sometimes with a lonely piano or wind chime subtly carrying their voices. And with a few more pop songs than usual, Case offers us some catchy refrains to hold onto during turbulent times. | 69

FILMS In Conversation with Kim Longinotto Social documentarian Kim Longinotto bares her process from behind the lens. BY TRACEY SAMUELSON

im Longinotto is a diehard fiction fan, which is, perhaps, not something many documentarians with her film credits might readily admit. Over the last 30 years, she has directed no less than 14 films, including the BAFTA-award winning Divorce Iranian Style and Sisters in Law, about two womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s struggle to prosecute abuse cases in Cameroon, which won a Peabody and two Cannes awards. Perhaps itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s her overwhelming success that gives her the freedom to break with the stuffy documentarian stereotype. Or maybe sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s successful because sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never subscribed to it. Either way, Longinotto is amazingly warm and refreshingly free of pretense as she paints metaphors with Sopranos references, or lists The Wire and Mad Men as major influences on her filmmaking. She says she just â&#x20AC;&#x153;falls in loveâ&#x20AC;? with her subjects and doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand when other filmmakers portray themselves as just flies on the wall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It implies that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re this kind of insect with no feelings, and, for me, I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just impossible not to get involvedâ&#x20AC;ŚI canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t imagine it otherwise.â&#x20AC;? With locations as diverse as Egypt and Japan, and subjects ranging from children with detachment disorders to female wrestlers, Longinotto says she is simply drawn to stories that have a sense of change or hope. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My goal is that you come out of the film and maybe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a situation thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s completely foreign to you, but you come out and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got very close to the people in the film, and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve identified with them, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s actually meant something to your own life.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I hope that people will see my films and go through an experience, that you come very close to something that you wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t normally be a part of, or get close to in the way that you do in fiction.â&#x20AC;? Longinottoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latest project, Rough Aunties, was filmed in a South African child welfare organization where racially diverse, but equally fierce women come together to advocate for abused and mistreated children.â&#x20AC;&#x201A;â&#x2014;? +ĆŤ0+ĆŤ3))Ä&#x2039;+)ĆŤ"+.ĆŤ0$!0!.ĆŤ(%/0%*#/ĆŤ+"ĆŤRough Aunties * ĆŤ%*"+.)0%+*ĆŤĆŤ +*ĆŤ +*#%*+00+Ä&#x161;/ĆŤ+0$!.ĆŤĂź()/Ä&#x2039;ĆŤĆŤ3%((ĆŤ%.ĆŤRough Aunties *!40ĆŤ5!.Ä&#x2039;

I hope that people will see my films and that you come very close to something that you wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t normally be a part of.

Club Native

Tracey Deerâ&#x20AC;&#x201A;|â&#x20AC;&#x201A;Women Make Movies, 2008â&#x20AC;&#x201A;|â&#x20AC;&#x201A;Canada Tracey Deerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s documentary, Club Native, displays a beautiful montage of strong, confident, and talented Mohawk women who have all had to make complicated decisions in their lives based on what being Native means to them. Living in a Kahnawake community with two powerful, yet unspoken rulesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;1) Do not marry a white person, and 2) Do not have a child with a white personâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the women struggle to reconcile their culture with their hearts. Strongly believing that any partner they choose who respects Mohawk culture should be admitted into the tribe, these women face an uphill battle against tradition. As Deer shows through a series of striking interviews, blood â&#x20AC;&#x153;purityâ&#x20AC;? is still a deeply ingrained value, with many in the tribe believing that membership is to be held exclusively by those who measure up to the blood quantum criteria.

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Afghan Star

Havana Marking | Zeitgeist Films, 2009 | UK/Afghanistan Afghan Star is a lively portrayal of the bravery and determination among the youth of Afghanistan. Havana Marking’s first feature documentary records a revolution in action by following the lives of contestants on Afghanistan’s first televised talent competition after 30 years of Taliban rule. The suspense is palpable as you watch Rafi, Lima, Hammeed, Setara, and others sweep the nation up with their voices and comfort it with their courage.

Lemon Tree

Eran Riklis | IFC Films, 2008 | Palestine/Israel Winner of the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival Audience Award and the Israeli Film Academy Award for best actress, Lemon Tree, with its subtle humor and sunny cinematography, is a delightful, yet devastating film. In her late father’s 50-year-old lemon grove, in the West bank along the green line border with Israel, we meet Palestinian widow Salma, who lives a quiet life tending to her trees. When the Israeli Minister of Defense builds a house across the way, however, and then decides that her grove is a threat to his security, Salma’s life takes a bitter turn. Determined to save her trees, Salma finds a lawyer willing to help her fight against the military’s order to cut down the grove, and forms an improbable bond with a lonely woman named Mira—the Defense Minister’s wife.


Jennifer Steinman | Smush Media, 2008 | USA/South Africa Jennifer Steinman’s debut documentary, Motherland, explores the timeless subject of grief and healing in an experiential film about mothers who have lost children. When six women from the US—all of whom have experienced the loss of a child—travel together to volunteer with children in need in South Africa, they find an opportunity to experience their pain as a part of a community. In South Africa, where the AIDS epidemic leaves no one without a story of loss, the mothers learn how solidarity and shared suffering promote healing and grace. While Steinman’s film focuses specifically on the grieving processes of these six women, its lessons about grief are universal—connecting with sensitivity and understanding to the hearts and minds of anyone who has ever experienced loss.

Which Way Home

Rebecca Cammisa | HBO Documentary Films, 2009 | Mexico/USA Which Way Home documents the lives of migrant children who risk their lives to begin anew in the US. Traveling thousands of miles through Central America on the tops of freight trains, many of these children plan to support their families back home by working in the US. Some, having lived nearly their entire lives on the streets, wish to be adopted by American families. Others already have family in the US with whom they are determined to reunite. Filmmaker Rebecca Cammisa travels along with these children on top of the dangerous trains they call “the beast,” capturing astonishing footage of them at play and in movement against a dramatic Mexican landscape. As they each hurdle toward an unknown fate, the children find strength in a common dream. | 71

Š C.Steinbergâ&#x20AC;&#x201A;|â&#x20AC;&#x201A;

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In digenous W om al on

International Center for Research on Women where insight and action connect


V I TA L V O I C E C H O U C H O U N A M E G A B E Senate Committee Hearing, May 2009

We need strong justice to end impunity on rape and sexual violence. We ask the U.S. to join us in pressuring the Congolese government to stop giving amnesty to rebels who use rape as their war strategy .

Chouchou Namegabe, Democratic Republic of Congo Radio journalist giving voice to thousands of voiceless women

Vital Voices brought Ms. Namegabe to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the strategic use of rape as a weapon of war.

Vital Voices helps amplify the voices of extraordinary women leaders. Support the fight for justice in the DRC and visit to learn about our work to identify, invest in and bring visibility to women working to improve our world.

Women Thrive Worldwide is the leading nonprofit organization shaping US policy to help women in developing countries lift themselves out of poverty. WHY WOMEN? Worldwide, women are at the greatest risk of being poor. Research and experience have also shown that women in poor countries are more likely to use their income for food, healthcare, and education for their children, helping to lift entire communities out of poverty. However, women face unequal social and economic barriers that prevent them from earning a living and supporting their families. WHY POLICY? As a major world power, donor, and trading partner, US international assistance and trade policies have a huge impact on women in poor countries—both directly and through the messages we send. While direct assistance programs for the poor are very important, positive policy change is crucial for long-term change. If US assistance and trade policies do not address the unique barriers women face, they will not reach the women who need them and will be only half as effective as they could be. By prioritizing women in programs the US is already running, we can spread opportunity to millions of women and families living in poverty and help end poverty for good. WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW As you read this, Women Thrive is leading an effort to reform the US international assistance system to make it more focused on reducing world poverty and more accountable to women worldwide. But we need your help to do this! Please sign the petition calling on Congress and the Obama Administration to make aid work for women by reforming international assistance! Visit +)!*$.%2!ċ+.#ĥ to add your voice today! | 77


The International Museum of Women amplifies the voices of women worldwide through history, the arts and cultural programs. We educate, create dialogue, build community and inspire action. Visit our award-winning online exhibitions Join our global community Become a member

Water for People: Systems That Work BY PETER MASON


was walking down a dusty path about a month ago in India, where the Ganges meets the Bay of Bengal, when I came to a small cluster of homes based around a well and a pump covered by a small bamboo and thatched-roof gazebo. I was traveling with a small group of people representing Water for People and an organization called Sabuj Sangha. As we stopped to examine the well, a crowd of proud locals surrounded us. Among them was the woman who runs this system, who manages the money, and who has gained esteem in her community since becoming involved in the project. Water for People and Sabuj Sangha helped seed the water system with money for the well and the pump, and helped the community create a board to manage the money. The villagers, with a bit of government support, paid for the rest. The local community dug the well, and the local private sector was involved to supply parts. It’s not only success. It’s sustainable success. The NGO and CBOs involved are ready to leave this one little part of the village because the community is set up for success over the long haul. As I walked away, back toward the Ganges, I secretly hoped that I would never be back to this spot again—for all the right reasons.

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Global Fund for Women: The Untold Story Sought by Two American Journalists Detained in North Korea





ost in the flurry over North Korea’s detention of Laura Ling and Euna Lee is the story they sought—the plight of North Korean women refugees in China. Approximately 80% of recent defectors in China are women who fled North Korea in search of a better life, only to discover that they had been sold as brides. According to The Washington Post, “North Korean defectors are mostly women from working-class and farm backgrounds who fled because of hunger and poverty, not political oppression.” In 2004, the South Korean Ministry of Unification conducted a survey of over 4,000 defectors in South Korea and found that 75% left North Korea for economic reasons or to join their families in the south, and only 9% left because of political repression. What the media fails to explain are the root causes of North Korea’s famine and poverty. In the mid-1990s, over 600,000 North Koreans died from famine caused by the worst natural floods and droughts, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the socialist trading-bloc. North Korea’s ability to rebuild its economy has suffered under the weight of US sanctions, which have been in place since the Korean War. According to Kathi Zellweger of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, despite North Korea’s efforts to liberalize, “No investor is interested in North Korea as long as there are sanctions.” As tensions escalate between North Korea and the US, what is salient is that the Korean War is not over. Although fighting temporarily ceased with the 1953 armistice, the Cold War lives on, emboldening regimes in South and North Korea to repress dissent and militarize the peninsula. The way forward to end the war and to free the journalists would be, as Laura Ling told her sister Lisa, “if our two countries communicate.”




Your Voice In Action We’ve sifted through hundreds of calls to action and hand-picked three that are gathering real momentum on the world stage. Add your voice! In minutes, you can advance powerful change.

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Sign the One Million Signatures Campaign Petition in Support of Iran’s Women TIME: 5 minutes

Join the OneVoice Movement for Israel and Palestine TIME: 5 minutes

Tell Your Representative to Support Foreign Policy Reform TIME: 15 minutes

Iranian women’s rights activists have initiated a wide campaign demanding an end to discriminatory laws against women that are written into Iranian law. The Campaign “One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws” is a follow-up effort to the peaceful protest of the same aim, which took place on June 12, 2006 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran. By signing, you’re part of an international movement to end the oppression of women in this country on the brink.

There is a large youth-led movement of hope emerging between Israel and Palestine. With over 650,000 signatories from both Israel and Palestine, the OneVoice Movement has become an international grassroots force. Join the campaign to amplify the voices of Israeli and Palestinian moderates, who are in the majority, empowering them to demand that their leaders achieve a two-state solution. You can help put an end to occupation, establish a viable independent Palestinian state, and ensure the safety and security of the state of Israel—allowing both peoples to live in peace with all their neighbors.

US foreign assistance has the potential to be a major force for good. In fact, when done right, it has eradicated entire diseases, reduced poverty, and sent countless girls to school. But our current foreign assistance system doesn’t allow us to adequately reach these achievable goals. First, it does not make reducing poverty as important as diplomacy and defense. Second, it is outdated and inefficient and too often does not reach women living in poverty in developing countries. Take a moment to contact your Representative and urge them to take the first step toward reforming America’s foreign assistance system.

© Dallas and John Heaton


Š Steve Simon



Transforming Energy

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Issue Four: Fulfill. The New Economic Visionaries; Girl Revolution; My Country of Horror and Possibility; Founder's Pulse: The New Silk Road...