The Womanity Foundation was established in 2005 by Yann Borgstedt, a successful businessman and entrepreneur who believes the best way to sustainable growth is through collaboration with the social sector and business world.
Originally called the Smiling Children Foundation, Womanity began working in Morocco, supporting girl domestic laborers to return to their families and attend school. The Foundation also supported rural communities to professionalize their olive oil production and increase their exports.
In 2007 Womanity expanded into Afghanistan to work with one of the biggest girls’ school in Kabul, the Al-Fatah School for Girls. Through its work training teachers, rebuilding infrastructure, and providing equipment to improve the quality of learning, Al Fatah became a model school in the country.
While “gender equality” is one of the highest priorities across nations, the systems and structures in most countries across the world haven’t changed enough to make societies equitable for women and girls. From unequal pay, to imbalanced right to education, to gender-based violence, almost all factors affecting the chance of a better life for women is currently under-resourced, and under-funded globally.
Our global team is developing targeted projects across Afghanistan, Middle East, North Africa, India and Brazil to build scalable and sustainable programs in these five need gaps.
We work on a hybrid 2-track model where we scale and strengthen existing programs through funding and strategic support; and develop and pilot new programs in under-explored issues.
- WomenChangeMakers: A program that supports social ventures and grassroots organisations working on gender equality through institutional development and capacity building of program partners. WCM has worked with 15 social ventures in India and Brazil. Collectively, during the WCM fellowship period, social ventures have supported 26m people and achieved a cumulative reach of 8 million on social media campaigns.
- Girls Can Code: A skill-building program for young girls in Afghanistan, training them in English, Computer Literacy and Coding, to improve their career choices and prepare them for information and communication technology (ICT) careers in the labour market. 1300 girls trained in one or more courses and 614 graduated from the Coding course since 2016.
- Womanity Award: A funding and institutional strengthening program that supports innovative solutions to prevent violence against women and girls. It focuses on the power of collaboration between organisations that work in partnership to adapt programs across different countries in the Global South. Through Womanity Award, four outstanding organisations adapted programs centred on critical areas for prevention of VAWG such as harmful gender norms and online violence. Awardees have substantially increased their visibility and voices and created tools and documents of both local and global relevance.
- Women Land Rights Program: We are developing a strategic program with experts and on-ground partners that can enable access to land rights for women, and thereby unlock massive growth potential for women and address issue at a systemic level across rural India.
- Disruptive Media: A program that creates progressive media platforms and pioneering content to create fairer societies in the Middle East and North Africa region where women can play an equal role.
- Radio Nisaa
Produced and presented by women, Radio Nisaa is the first women-led community radio station in the Middle East that puts women’s voices and issues on the public agenda. It launched in 2010 and is a platform for women’s voices to be heard and to drive public conversations on women’s rights and gender roles.
In 2013, Womanity launched 30 episodes of an Arabic radio fiction “B100Ragl”. The B100Ragl series confronts gender discrimination in the workforce, family, and social sphere as well as challenging prejudice, stereotypes and female oppression. The show continued for 2 more seasons as a digital animation series.
Khateera is a digital and social media platform dedicated to producing and distributing content challenging existing gender stereotypes and promoting a more inclusive society for both women and men. Khateera’s bold content has resulted in 425k followers on its channel.
- Smi’touha Menni
This is a 10 episode satire series that addresses gender stereotypes in the region and their consequences on society. Topics include harassment, domestic violence, masculinity, marriage. Episodes are narrated by a main character who adopts humour as she explores each topic. The episodes generated 16 million views.
- Radio Nisaa
Why do we matter?
There’s a critical need for the work in the gender space to be more recognised and visible.
Teams building projects on-ground often work in silos, with boot-strapped resources, limited collaboration opportunities, and lack of support for organisational development. While several programs have had regional success with the potential to scale, the teams developing them lack the expertise and network to multiply their reach and impact.
We are a lean, highly experienced global team specialising in investing and developing solutions to address gender-based issues. Our team has extensively worked in strengthening high-impact on-ground projects across India, Brazil, Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa Regions. We have a strong understanding of the unique social challenges in the developing nations and have the right global network and on-ground partnerships to tackle them.
We take pride in our rigorous selection process to identify skilled, highly driven organisations to support and guide. Womanity’s programs enable and strengthen powerful collaborations. We focus on building capacity within our partners to aid organisational growth, and increased program reach & efficacy.
Over the past 15 years, we have channelised over USD 35 million investments into high-impact programs and guided organisations to extend their reach to over 145 million women and girls across the world.
Measurable change through our work
We have helped several organisations across the global south test their solutions and grow from small size to mid-size organisations, thereby increasing their impact on the ground.
In Afghanistan, we have collaborated with the government to introduce ICT skills training for 16-18yr old girls so that it prepares them to leverage career opportunities in technology. We currently run the program in 4 schools in Kabul and have trained X girls. we will be building on the success of the program by taking it to women university graduates and the wider ecosystem to translate this to job placements for Afghani women.
In the MENA region, we have disrupted the stereotypical perceptions of gender by building awareness and knowledge through our media platforms. We reached 20% of Palestinians through our Radio channel (Radio Nisaa) and have 425,000 followers on our digital platform Khateera. Our flagship satire series Smi’touha Menni resonated well with young women and men through its witty, disruptive content, and garnered 16 million views and 3 million engagements online!
Gender equality is a pressing moral, economic and social issue. We work to accelerate gender equality through innovative investments. Join us.