Investing in Women is a commitment to equal rights and equitable opportunities for women everywhere.

For International Women’s Day, we’ve curated stories about how our teams advance women’s rights, hopes, and futures every day. Our teams are dedicated to accelerating global progress for women, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and our own mission.

Investing in human rights

Supporting women’s rights and equal opportunities is the right thing to do.

In northeast Syria, our teams in displacement camps are readily available to help residents with a range of services related to their basic needs and rights. At information desks throughout the camps, residents can report outages and request repairs, as well as report instances of gender-based violence or other instances of abuse. Women in these communities have the right to safety, so our team is working to ensure women feel safe and protected. Read more about our information desks that promote rights and safety for women in Syria.

We also ensure communities in northeast Syria can fulfill their right to available, adequate food. We distribute fresh bread to families living in displacement camps and sell discounted bread to hundreds of thousands of people in surrounding communities. For women-headed households, saving money on bread can help cover other crucial expenses like medicine or schooling for their children. Whether food is hard to come by because of poverty, disability, or displacement, the guarantee of daily bread is a relief. Continue reading about our efforts to support women’s right to food.

a woman seated hands fresh bread to a woman standing

Khaznah, right, is one of the women who work with our SAFER II team in Syria to help distribute and sell bread at discounted prices so that families have better access to fresh food.

Ending poverty

We work to meet women’s basic needs, ensuring that local needs and voices inform our humanitarian assistance activities.

We provide women-headed households in Colombia with rental support so they can focus on caring for their families and getting back on their feet. The Closing Gaps program supports internally displaced people with food, WASH, shelter, and protection services, including psychosocial support specifically for women. Our team guides people through the complexities of accessing immediate care and building longer-term stability. Learn more about our layered support for displaced women in Colombia.

The Shelter and Food Emergency Response (SAFER) program works with local vendors and shops in northeast Syria, many of which are owned or managed by women. By partnering with these local shops, SAFER can offer food vouchers to over 2,000 households facing food insecurity in the region. With this steady level of business, the women running the shops can in turn provide for their own families. Keep reading about the positive impact of women entrepreneurs on food security in northeast Syria.

a women stands in her home holding a tray of food

Diana runs her prepared foods business, “Delicias Diana,” from the home she rents through the Acogida program’s rental support initiative. She and her husband bought supplies and machinery with the savings from having their rent paid for nine months.

Shifting to an economy built for women

Women face disproportional challenges in accessing jobs and livelihood opportunities, especially in regions affected by conflict. Our programs offer pathways for women to participate in the economy in ways that fit their values and needs.

At Za’atari Refugee Camp, our Uplift team manages a center where women can build skills that can earn them income. The Made in Za’atari Center was designed to create opportunities for refugee women to support their children, families, and community. In addition to supporting women with training and encouragement, our team also provides free daycare while mothers and caretakers are in training sessions. Keep reading about the women at Made in Za’atari Center.

Similarly, Syrian women living at Za’atari Refugee Camp are pursuing green jobs in their community. Our team at the camp’s Innovation Lab organized an electricity and solar course to help people build the skills they need to maximize the effectiveness of the solar power systems that keep the lights on in their homes. Two women, Ibtisam and Eman, are now trained technicians who can service their neighbors’ solar panel systems. Read about these inspiring women.

Eman, who is Syrian and lives at Za’atari Refugee Camp, is interested in taking more training in solar energy maintenance after taking a course at the camp.

Supporting women change-makers

We recognize the invaluable contributions women bring to our organization and the communities we work in. Our programs are designed to empower women decision-makers and provide opportunities for women to lead.

In Jordan, women are a critical part of the PROTEKT program, which aims to preserve water infrastructure while creating jobs for Syrian refugees and Jordanians. We offered cash-for-work positions in agriculture, awareness raising, and more so that women could build skills and gain experience in nontraditional roles. Additionally, we employed women engineers to lead projects and train workers. Their impact on the surrounding communities will be undoubtedly long-lasting. Learn about the women breaking barriers in Jordan.

Across Colombia, there are many women who left their homes in Venezuela to pursue a better life for their families. Their sacrifices and selflessness often come at the expense of their own well-being. To support these headstrong women, our Acogida program provides them with psychosocial support so they can heal and build a network of supporters. With newfound strength, these women are not letting anything stop them from a brighter future. Read more about our psychosocial support efforts in Colombia.

The women’s support group led by Blumont in the Betania neighborhood of Santander de Quilichao, Colombia, chose a photography-based project to close out their mutual support group sessions. Photo Credit: Alcaldia de Santander de Quilichao