Last week, CREATE! was honored at the New England International Donors (NEID) Annual Changemaker Gala as one of four organizations to receive a grant from the 2017 NEID Giving Circle on Women and Girls. Alongside outstanding organizations Dandelion Africa, Global Grassroots, and Komera, CREATE! was recognized for our work in Senegal empowering women and girls to build a sustainable future for their families as they cope with the impacts of climate change.

Globally, women face higher risks and bear a disproportionate burden of climate change impacts, especially in poor communities. Outside of limited seasonal agriculture, there are few job opportunities for uneducated women in rural communities. Increasingly, young people are leaving rural areas to seek employment elsewhere, making Senegal one of the largest sources of economic migrants making the dangerous journey abroad in search of better opportunities.

The NEID Giving Circle Grant will allow CREATE! to empower women in more villages in rural Senegal

Women run their own VSLA programs in CREATE!’s partner villages, as seen here in Walo, empowering them to take leadership roles and make collective decisions with other women in their communities.

Yet, women play a vital role in climate change adaptation, due to their distinct local knowledge of their communities and resources. CREATE! works to empower women by providing them more leadership opportunities in their villages, through training in community organization, sustainable agriculture, and income generation activities. By enabling women to become leaders in their garden and poultry cooperatives and VSLA programs, communities are putting the decision-making power in the hands of those who are often most heavily affected by the compounded impacts of climate change and poverty.

NEID Giving Circle Grant was received by CREATE! Executive Director Louise Ruhr and Board Member Mary-Kay Miller

CREATE! Executive Director Louise Ruhr (right) and CREATE! Board Member Mary-Kay Miller (second from right) attended the NEID Changemaker Gala in November to accept the NEID Giving Circle Grant

The 2017 NEID Giving Circle Grant supports CREATE! in continuing our work in Senegal, focused on the empowerment of women and girls through training and capacity building. A special word of thanks to CREATE! Board member Mary-Kay Miller, who connected us to the Giving Circle and who has been an articulate and enthusiastic champion of CREATE! with her fellow NEID members. “It was great to talk to so many members of NEID and the Giving Circle about what motivates them,” says CREATE! Executive Director Louise Ruhr, “and to see the passion, seriousness, and dedication with which they approach this task.”

CREATE! is thrilled to be in the company of other such incredible organizations as a part of the NEID Giving Circle. We congratulate Dandelion Africa, Global Grassroots, and Komera on their recognition as well, and can’t wait to see what amazing things they do as they continue their work across African communities.