Sadly, many women around the world are facing huge challenges right now. In many countries, women are still not deemed worthy of an education. On average, girls receive only six years of formal education in their lives, dramatically limiting their future job opportunities. But a new initiative by The Hunger Project, Unleashed Women, offers Australian women a simple way to help women in developing countries.
But first, some confronting statistics. Did you know that:
- 1 in 3 (35%) women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
- Approximately 70% of the world’s poor are women.
- A staggering 99% of the approximate 287,000 maternal deaths every year occur in developing countries.
- More than 700 million women in the world today were married as children, before the age of 18.
Shockingly, more than one in three of these women —or some 250 million—were married before they turned 15. Not only are these young girls denied their childhood; they can suffer from developmental issues due to early pregnancy, are vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, have limited opportunities for education and employment, and are at an increased risk of domestic violence.
The Unleashed Women initiative was created for women who are looking for connection, purpose, meaning, leadership and laughter. Women like you. So that women in Australia can access this opportunity to be part of something BIG as well.
By joining Unleashed Women, you will be part of a powerful collective of global citizens who are up for playing a bigger game and helping to tackle these challenges. You will be taking a stand for women globally. The money you raise (see below) will go to The Hunger Project’s work in empowering and training women in India, Bangladesh and Africa to unleash their leadership, capacity and potential so that they can become key agents of change in their communities – ending hunger and poverty and addressing important issues such as education, violence against women, maternal and child health, child marriage and gender equality.
By bringing hundreds of dynamic, inspirational, motivated women together, you have the opportunity to embark on a collaborative and challenging journey of self-discovery and leadership development that is designed to open your eyes to possibility, question your assumptions, and unlock your potential and power.
With The $1,000 That You Can Raise We Could:
- Train 800 mothers on feeding their children locally available nutritious food, so their children grow up healthy; or
- Give 60 women a start-up microfinance loan to start or grow a small business, to create income for her family; or
- Empower 30 women to become ‘Animators’, local volunteer leaders who train their fellow villagers on issues such as education, sanitation and stopping child marriage.
How Helping Other Women Can Also Help You
Genevieve Davidson is the Founder and Owner of Fitbodz Fitness Centres and has joined Unleashed Women as an ambassador. I spoke to Genevieve to find out more about the project and her personal reasons for joining the movement …
Why did you get involved in the Unleashed Women movement?
“I became involved in the Unleashed Women movement because it is a positive movement that empowers women to solve their own issues. As the saying goes, ‘If you feed a man a fish you feed him for a day. If you show him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime’. This is what The Hunger Project does, so it works at really solving the problem – not just bandaiding it. It gives women the tools to help themselves via teaching, offering loans to start a small business, for example, by buying a pig, and creating opportunities.”
How will this movement help some of the most vulnerable women?
“This movement will help women in poverty stricken areas as women are the ones who are responsible to feed their families. Sometimes they will walk for many kilometres to get water, as an example. They will be the ones to provide a meal but what if there is no food to prepare? One woman was in this situation and pretended to be cooking food, as there was no food, so her children would fall asleep exhausted from waiting rather than hungry. It was her way of retaining hope. This movement will show them how and give them a way they can solve these issues.”
How does being involved in the project add more meaning to your life?
“My belief is that there is ‘one face, one race’. Not just from a racially unprejudiced point of view, but that we are all one. How can I be satisfied when I know another suffers? It makes me feel more whole knowing I am doing something with meaning.”
How are women empowered by the Unleashed Women project?
“Women in The Hunger Project programs respond with empowerment. It is like a light bulb going on for some when they understand how or what they can do they are able to move forward. Without knowledge they are continuing on the same destructive road their peers have always done. They just don’t know any differently. They also are given opportunities they would not have had otherwise, through loans, for example. But this is empowering, as they are not just ‘given’ something. They therefore respond with pride and motivation to succeed.”
What can Aussie women do to make a difference?
“We Aussies have a sense of mateship and we don’t let our mates down. We will lend a hand if we can. This is a great opportunity to do something that significantly makes a real difference. The Hunger Project has the goal to end world hunger by 2030, and I reckon we can do that together.”
Are You Ready To Be Unleashed?
If you want to be empowered to be your best self, add more colour in your life, and change the world, then sign up for this wonderful initiative. Here’s how …
Sign up as an individual or team – once you’ve done that, you’ll be sent a link to your personalised fundraising page that you can share with friends, family and colleagues. Each Unleashed Women has a fundraising goal of $1,000.
Inspire at least five women in your life to sign up too. The more women who join Unleashed Women, the more we can achieve!
Once you’ve mobilised five awesome women in your life to sign up, organise a get-together! This could be an afternoon tea, a glass of wine after work, breakfast or a walk in the park – something fun that will give you the opportunity to connect, share ideas, chat and support each other. Connect with all the other Unleashed Women via the private Facebook group too.
Fundraise a minimum of $1,000 per person for The Hunger Project. There is support along the way with this fun challenge! You can connect with other Unleashed Women and fundraise together! You have until 31st December to complete your fundraising.
You’ll receive regular doses of inspiring leadership insights from both Australian women leaders and The Hunger Project’s village partners, and connect with other Unleashed Women throughout your fundraising journey. Take a stand for empowering other women and being part of the movement to end hunger!
Connect with other women who have joined the movement. Dance, laugh and celebrate our fundraising achievements together at our Unleashed Women events!
ABOUT: The Inspiration Behind Unleashed Women
In 1998, Deborah Protter (now Chair of The Hunger Project Australia WA Development Board) had the amazing opportunity to be involved in the training of the first 30 women leaders for The Hunger Project in Bangladesh.
Over the four day training session, Deb saw these women go through a deeply impactful and courageous transformation. These illiterate marginalised women, who had to ask permission from husbands, fathers and family to attend and had never been in a training environment before, bravely shared their hopes, dreams, fears and obstacles with one another.
Through sharing – giving of themselves to one another – came collective strength. At the end of the training, each woman had created a vision for her future, committed to achieving it, and had an action plan to make it possible. This is what’s now known as The Hunger Project’s signature training workshops: ‘Vision, Commitment, Action’, that ids use to facilitate a mindset shift from resignation and despondency to hope and empowerment. The women Deb met in 1998 were the pioneers. They took their lessons on leadership back to their villages, and mobilised women and men in their communities to join them in transforming their lives – and in lifting themselves out of poverty.
Women are the key to creating change for the future of girls and gender equality in regions affected by chronic hunger and poverty. And when empowered, they can achieve extraordinary results in catalysing a new and brighter future for children, their families and their communities.
The women in Bangladesh that inspired the Unleashed Women movement were hungry in the literal sense; and the project recognises that many women in Australia are hungry too. Not for food, but for something else; whether that be purpose, meaning, connection, love, openness, authenticity or leadership. Unleashed Women aims to end this hunger that holds us back from being empowered, and to foster a unique and inspirational experience for all women involved.
The purpose is to bring women together, to lift each other up and unite as a powerful collective. To unleash their potential to make a difference in the world. To bring dancing, colour and celebration to the women of Australia. For us to let go of the things that hold us back and to become part of something bigger than us. To find joy, fun and connection by supporting and empowering each other, and working together towards something remarkable: the end of hunger.
Unleashed Women aims to bring women together and empower us to make it better for women everywhere. We can use our collective power to create real, sustainable change, to give a voice to all women – and the generations of girls that will follow.