June 26, 2005

Live8 and Beyond: How African women are helping themselves ...and changing a continent.

Ramdas_kavita From Kavita Ramdas, President, Global Fund for Women.

On the occasion of Live8, a concert that calls the world’s attention to the desperate conditions facing the continent of Africa, it is important for us to remember that as we wait for the world’s rich governments to take action – the people of the African continent, especially women, are taking their own steps to create change one family at a time.

Bob Geldorf’s efforts are a great contribution and essential to focus attention and G8 action on Africa. But with all the talk about what rich governments must do, its inspiring to remember that African women and men are not just a group of pathetic victims, but individuals and human beings with incredible drive for self-determination and improving their own communities.

It doesn’t take a lot to fire up this creativity – we know, because we have done it. The Global Fund for Women, a grantmaking foundation that supports women’s rights around the world, provides small grants directly to grassroots African women’s organizations that are educating girls, building wells, creating small businesses, and challenging their own governments to be accountable. Much of what will heal Africa and catalyze government resources will look like peer-to-peer action--- individuals who've come togehter under the mantle of organizations such as The Global Fund For Women reaching out to small groups that are determined to bring about change. This is an organic form of economic development whose growth will be more like the internet or the blogosphere than some giant centralized program. We wanted to share how small actions repeated across a continent lead to hope and ultimately to significant change. These stories also show the specifics—how a few dollars for a well relieves young girls from hauling water all day and not only provides clean water, but leads to an educated village. We wanted to provide stories, examples, and education to bloggers and press as global attention turns to Africa during live8.

Click here for a map of Africa linked to specific examples of how women are changing Africa for the better. Or take a look at some of the posts that follow.

Posted by Kavita Ramdas on June 26, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (4)