Press Release – Following a high number of nominations from WCM program partners and a rigorous selection process, the Womanity Foundation is delighted to welcome four new social entrepreneurs to the WCM Fellowship. The WCM Fellowship aims to identify, support and connect leading social entrepreneurs, who are addressing women’s access to education, healthcare as well as economic and political participation.
In India, Armman and Swayam Shikshan Prayog were selected WCM Fellows.
Armman was founded in 2008 in Mumbai, India, by urogynecologist and pelvic floor reconstructive surgeon Dr Aparna Hegde. The social enterprise offers a range of technological and human interventions that plug the gaps in the public health system. It does this by forming a complete wellness circle around women and children, to reduce morbidity and mortality among India’s poorest populations. As part of the fellowship program, Aparna and Armman will be receiving support from the WCM program in developing their delivery model and strengthening their organizational effectiveness to better enable their scaling efforts. WCM will be working with them for the next three years.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) was founded in 1998 by Prema Gopalan as a grassroots learning and development organization, focused on empowering women in disadvantaged and underserved communities across India. Together with its beneficiaries, SSP is transforming communities by nurturing and helping develop rural female social entrepreneurs, who are working in clean energy, sanitation, basic health services, nutrition and safe agriculture. WCM will be working closely with Prema and SSP in creating a long-term growth strategy as well as conducting an assessment of their organizational needs, to enable a deeper and broader impact on women’s socio-economic empowerment.
Denise Dora, a lawyer and co-founder of Themis has been working for over 20 years to provide women with effective access to justice. Most recently, Themis showcased their innovative use of technology through the development of one app that connects victims of violence to emergency support services and community leaders. Behind the app there is a vast network of people from civil society and law. These types of developments have put the social enterprise at the forefront of the debate on the use of technology and other tools and methodologies to democratize access to the justice system. Themis intend to use their WCM fellowship to build on the capability they already have and maximize their impact.
Juliana de Faria was only 11 years old when she started experiencing harassment on the streets of Brazil. This is what prompted her activism and inspired the numerous publications in which she writes about those experiences. This is something that Brazilian women and girls have to live through on a daily basis. Juliana chose to use her stories to help raise awareness around the problem and provide women with the recognition of the violence being committed. With that in mind, she co-founded Think Olga and later Think Eva. Being part of the WCM Fellowship, will enable Juliana and her team to build a stronger strategy and organizational structure to deal with the fast growth they are experiencing.
On this year’s Fellows, RafiaQureshi, Executive Director of the Womanity Foundation stated:
‘This is an incredibly exciting time for female social entrepreneurship and we are delighted to be working with such innovative women, who have already had a significant impact within their communities and are looking to scale that impact. All of our Fellows have founded organizations that are going through significant growth and this is where the WomenChangeMakers program is at its best, when working with these social enterprises to strengthen their strategy and organizational capabilities to better support their growth.’
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