Cherry blossom branch

April Laureate Highlights

This week the Hilton Prize Coalition showcases the work of five of its outstanding Laureates. This collection of news updates and featured blogs demonstrate the depth of the organizations that make up the Coalition. The Coalition seeks to amplify its members' impact and promote collaboration in humanitarian assistance, human rights, development, education and health.

Scenes of Healing: Vijayawada Medical Mission captures snapshots of Operation Smile’s life-changing work and those who benefit from their services. The blog shows parents anxiously awaiting their children’s cleft surgery and patients seeing their new smiles for the first time. During the week-long program in Vijayawada, India, medical volunteers provided 93 patients with free, transformitive cleft surgeries.

On April 11, Covenant House president Kevin Ryan was present at the White House for the signing of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. The bipartisan bill allows human trafficking victims to bring civil action against website proprietors who knowingly facilitate criminal conduct. The stories of hundreds of young people who faced sex trafficking before coming to the Covenant House helped build a case for the passage of the bill.

In this blog, Saschveen Singh from Doctors without Borders/MSF describes a typical day of work providing healthcare to Burundian refugees in Tanzania. Each day varies from resuscitating a patient to planning for pharmacy supplies and training medical interpreters. Due to the lack of advanced tools and referral options, Saschveen has to rethink, and occasionally reinvent, the best ways to provide care to her patients.

The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims plans to expand the use of the Anti-Torture Database. The database stores and analyzes data that can be used as evidence to advocate for the rights of torture survivors. According to Suraj Koirala, Executive Manager at Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal, “The more centres that are using this Database and are collecting data in a uniform way, the stronger our collective voice becomes in the global fight against torture.”

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) highlights contributions refugees have made to society in this brief video. Inventions that were conceived by refugees have changed our everyday lives by improving technology, and the way we make doughnuts. The IRC helps people who have be devastated by conflict survive and regain control of their lives.

 

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

HPC Fellow: Ahlam Awad Mohammed, The Task Force for Global Health

Ahlam Awad Mohammed is currently completing a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship with The Task Force for Global Health, an international NGO based in Decatur, GA that focuses on controlling and eliminating infectious diseases and on helping strengthen health systems around the world. Ahlam holds a Master of Public Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Epidemiology and Global Health and a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Ohio Wesleyan University.

In this blog post, Ahlam writes about her experience working with the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center (NTD-SC)–a program of The Task Force for Global Health–observing, assisting with, and developing case studies for various NTD projects based in Ethiopia.

Joining in the Fight to Beat Neglected Tropical Diseases
by Ahlam Awad Mohammed

Sometimes things just come together.

When I applied for the Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship through The Task Force for Global Health (TFGH), it was at a point in my career when I had decided to change gears. I had obtained my Master of Public Health degree with the goal of working in global health, specifically in infectious diseases and maternal and child health. However, most of my public health work experience prior, during, and right after graduate school focused primarily on research based in the U.S. I wanted to focus on global health again, use the skills I acquired through my professional and educational experience thus far, and leverage my language proficiency in French, English, Arabic, and Amharic to contribute to a global health cause. Imagine my delight when I found a fellowship opportunity in global health with a focus on neglected tropical diseases and in the country where I grew up: Ethiopia.

Ahlam with child

In Dedo district outside of Jimma, lab technician Biniam preparing to collect a blood spot from a young boy (Courtesy of Tensae, our team’s driver)

Incidentally, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are are all about coming together, as well. These communicable diseases affect more than a billion people around the world, mainly in developing countries in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. That number is coming down, thanks to ongoing collaborations among international partners, including the World Health Organization (WHO), endemic countries, non-governmental organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and donors. These groups are working closely together to control, eliminate, and eradicate at least 10 of the most common NTDs on WHO’s list by 2020.

Already, countries are beginning to bid NTDs adieu. For instance, Mexico, Morocco, and Oman are a few of the countries that have achieved WHO validation for eliminating trachoma, a bacterial eye disease that is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the world. However, many other countries are still far behind their goals. Therefore, there is still a great deal of work to be done in NTDs to improve the lives of the estimated 1.4 billion people suffering worldwide.

Armed with this knowledge, I was thrilled to receive the fellowship. I was extremely excited for the opportunity and ready for the challenges that would come along. The fellowship included a few weeks of orientation, training, and meetings at the TFGH office in Decatur, Georgia, then the field work in Ethiopia. The plan was for me to follow along the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) of Ethiopia during the national rollout of a new rapid and inexpensive tool for supervising and monitoring coverage of preventive treatments for NTDs, called the Supervisor’s Coverage Tool (SCT) that was recently endorsed by the WHO.

I was also involved in other trachoma research studies in Ethiopia supported by the TFGH. These studies focused on 1) a four-year follow-up study on the outcomes of two different types of surgeries used in trachoma treatment in adults and 2) the evaluation of the immunological response to the trachoma-causing bacteria compared to the visual clinical manifestation of the active infection in children. For all of the studies, I was in charge of both assisting with the projects in the field and developing case studies for advocacy purposes.

Due to various reasons ranging from coordination issues to bureaucracy, budget, and political unrest in some districts, all the projects experienced significant delays, which were learning experiences in and of themselves. Indeed, despite the many delays, the overall experience and exposure was invaluable. With each delay and challenge, I learned to be more proactive, patient, and flexible–with guidance and support from my amazing TFGH mentor all along the way.

While some of our plans had to change and at times on the spot, traveling to various regions of the country for the field work not only allowed me to get first-hand account of the activities in the field, but also gave me the opportunity to collaborate with various partners involved (FMoH, International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), Berhan Public Health and Eye Care Consultancy, Orbis, The Carter Center, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and RTI). Even after my fellowship is over, I hope to continue working with these same partners and others, to continue the fight against NTDs until they are eliminated. Together, we will beat NTDs!

Lastly, I am grateful for the Hilton Prize Coalition and The Task Force for Global Health for this opportunity and the continuous support I received from both organizations throughout the fellowship. I appreciate their involvement in helping me transition into and cultivate passion for this field, and for instilling knowledge, practice, patience, and persistence within me.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Children eating

Rethinking rice: how a collaborative approach to fortification can reduce malnutrition in Myanmar

This article on Philanthropy Journal was authored by Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow Catherine May at PATH.

The momentum to eradicate hunger and address all forms of malnutrition is growing across the world. Improved nutrition is a “vital precondition” to achieving 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Beyond that, the Global Nutrition Report reports that for every dollar invested in combating malnutrition, countries can expect to see a $16 return.

Nowhere was this momentum more evident to me than in the Rice Fortification Working Group (RWFG) Meeting in Naypyidaw, Myanmar. Representatives from the public, private, and international donor sectors gathered to share their hopes and concerns for the future of fortified rice in Myanmar. Working with the PATH Myanmar office, I was there to learn how a policy could best support the two goals of the project: to reduce micronutrient deficiencies across the population while creating economic opportunities for suppliers and distributers.

PATH

For the past forty years, PATH has worked across more than 70 countries to address complex problems like malnutrition. PATH strives to save lives and improve health, especially among women and children, by advancing technologies, strengthening systems and encouraging healthy behaviors. Awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2009, PATH’s health solutions now reach an average of 150 million people across the globe every year.

Read the full article at Philanthropy Journal

Heart shape made of people

World Health Day - Universal Health Coverage

April 7 marks World Health Day, a day that advocates for universal health care for everyone, everywhere. The World Health Organization believes that everyone has a role in achieving and maintaining universal health care. With nearly half of the population unable to obtain essential health services, there are several organizations stepping up to bridge the gap. Through conducting research, providing accessible education, or increasing access to care, members of the Hilton Prize Coalition are improving health care in the world’s most underserved communities.

Here are some examples of a few Coalition Members taking action in support of global health:

The newest member of the Hilton Prize Coalition, icddr,b, supports lifesaving research and provides care in some of the poorest areas in Bangladesh. Their high-quality laboratory facilities conduct research into diseases that affect low and middle-income countries. Icddr,b supports Matlab, the longest running demographic surveillance field site in the global South, operating since 1966. Matlab is located in an area of rural Bangladesh, where it has collected data from more than 200,000 people living in 142 villages. The data, which includes health, demographic and social characteristics, has contributed to a wide range of research that has helped shape policy and practice. Due to icddr,b research, subsequent policy changes, as well as improved childhood care and family planning, life expectancy has increased from 50 years to 65 years.

Amref Health Africa, winner of the Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 1999, contributes to universal health coverage by equipping local workers with the knowledge they need to provide care to their communities. Their approach utilizes “African solutions to tackle critical African health challenges with African expertise.” Amref Health Africa partners with other organizations to support the mobile platform Leap that trains health workers wherever they may be. Leap guides participants through an approved training curriculum through basic SMS and audio messages which allow health workers to learn on their phones. Health workers within the same area can communicate with one another via messages. The platform even stores patient health information for better monitoring and treatment. In rural African communities where Leap is used, there has been a 20% increase in people using immunization services.

One of the key programs offered by 2016 Hilton Prize Laureate the Task Force for Global Health is the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction (PIVI). The program enables seasonal influenza vaccination programs in low- and middle-income countries. Hundreds of thousands of people have died from the flu, and if influenza is untreated it may spread into a pandemic. PIVI works with countries so that if a pandemic occurs, systems will be in place to distribute vaccines and stop the infectious disease from spreading farther. Pandemic preparation allows countries to move resources quickly, protecting the global community from the spread of infectious disease.

Not all health issues are physical. According to Partners in Health, the 2005 Hilton Prize Laureate, untreated mental disorders account for 13% of the global burden of disease. By 2030, the leading cause of disability around the world will be depression. Partners in Health has made mental health a central part of their primary care package. The community-based approach was enacted in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and has since been integrated into the primary care system in hospitals. Partners in Health continues to develop mental health programs around the world which are designed to fit the needs of the communities they serve.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

 

Coins

What Nonprofits Need to Know about Blockchain: Humanitarian Use Cases

This article on Philanthropy Journal was authored by Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow Desiree Dickerson at Women for Women International

Over the past year, blockchain technology has been touted as the miracle solution to all of society’s pressing ailments. From food supply chains and insurance claims, to art authentication and DNA sequencing, blockchain technology is touching almost every industry, and humanitarian and nonprofit work is no different. While blockchain technology has the potential to significantly impact these sectors and their efforts, it is not always the best fit for every organization. Nonetheless, nonprofits should fully evaluate the technology to understand if it aligns to organizational needs, and if so, determine any necessary business justification for implementation.

This article provides an introduction to blockchain, potential use cases for philanthropic work, and suggested steps for examining if it is right for your organization.

Introduction to Blockchain

In response to the 2008 financial crisis, an anonymous individual, or group of individuals, developed a technology to decentralize control and power of money, so often abused throughout the financial services industry. Many may recognize this as the advent of Bitcoin (often unfairly linked to criminal syndicates), but it was also the first mainstream recognition and acceptance of what is commonly referred to as blockchain technology...

Read the full article at Philanthropy Journal 

HelpAge and HI Launch New Inclusion Standards for Humanitarian Response

On March 15, 2018, Hilton Prize Coalition members HelpAge International in partnership with Humanity & Inclusion co-hosted an event in Washington D.C. entitled “Putting Inclusion into Practice.” The event marked the U.S. launch of the Humanitarian Inclusion Standards for Older People and People with Disabilities. The standards, which have been developed by the Age and Disability Capacity Program and funded by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID), consist of nine key inclusion standards and seven sector-specific standards, designed to work in conjunction with the Sphere Humanitarian Standards and the Core Humanitarian Standard for Quality of Life.

During the event, attendees heard remarks from Kate Bunting, CEO of HelpAge US, Jeff Meer, U.S. Executive Director of Humanity & Inclusion, and a panel of humanitarian response experts. Each speaker discussed the importance of inclusion in their respective organizations and how they are bringing purposeful inclusion practices to not just their programs, but to their whole organization.

Each speaker echoed the same sentiment that, as we look to the future, inclusion needs to be more focused and not an added step in the process, but a key piece built into humanitarian response.

The panel consisted of experts in humanitarian response.

View and download the humanitarian inclusion standards for older people and people with disabilities.

(All photos courtesy of HelpAge International US)

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Marcus with Children's Village sign

HPC Fellow: Marcus Miller, SOS Children’s Villages

Marcus Miller completed a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellowship with SOS Children’s Villages, the largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to the care of orphaned and abandoned children across the globe. Marcus holds a Master’s Degree in Film & Video Studies and a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Communications from George Mason University. He also received a Technical Diploma in Web Development from General Assembly in Washington, DC. In this post, Marcus reflects on his experience as a member of the Marketing and Communications team at the SOS-USA headquarters.

My Fellowship Journey
by Marcus Miller

When I first applied for a Hilton Prize Coalition fellowship for SOS Children’s Villages I knew very little about the organization, but what intrigued me about them was the work that they do for children across the globe. I state in my portfolio that my professional mission is to produce digital content that elevates humanity and society, so two things about SOS’s fellowship description that caught my eye were the phrases “digital content” and “serving children.” After reading that I was sold. I have friends around the city from various backgrounds across the world who raved about the organization and how popular they were on a global scale. This was exciting to me because my career goals have always been based on impacting culture and society, whether through an advertising agency, media outlet, or an awesome non-profit that benefits the needs of the people.

During my journey at SOS, my main responsibility was to create and improve digital content for the end of the year fundraising efforts. The end of the year/holiday season is always the most important time to raise money because that is when the majority of donations are made. I was very excited and up for the challenge of not only putting my new coding knowledge to the test, but also having an opportunity to really help vulnerable children across the world. My duties included building web pages for sos-usa.org, creating email templates and donation forms to engage donors and non-donors, and creating video content for social media, YouTube, etc. From the get-go, the organization made me feel very comfortable, giving me the green light on creativity, engagement, and ideas to further improve digitally. I adapted so quickly that I got to a point where I felt able to handle the maintenance of the website primarily on my own.

One of my goals was to grow professionally, especially at a high profile organization. As a global non-profit, SOS definitely gave me the chance to do just that. It was so exciting to work with people overseas, knowing that everyone had the same goals in mind. I’ve conducted meetings, learned new software that I know I will need in the future, and most importantly I’ve gained experience and knowledge from a marketing standpoint. My background is based on media and technology, but being able to work with experienced professionals and learn the strategies that it takes to not only reach an audience but also to impact people was gold for me. To cap it all off, 2017 was SOS’s highest grossing year, and I am so happy to be a part of that.

Last but not least, I am grateful for the people here at SOS. I always say that your workplace is your second home and that your co-workers are your second family, and man, did the people here confirm my view. The vibe here is just so family-oriented and loving. Everyone here is about the service business and everyone being equal. They have a very diverse group of people, and the children that we do work for are very diverse as well, as SOS operates in over 135 countries. We throw so many functions/events here, including happy hours, birthday celebrations, potlucks, holiday parties, etc. Bonding and experiencing joy with my new group of co-workers made me feel like I worked there for years. For that experience I cannot thank them enough, as those memories will always live in my heart.

I call this fellowship a journey because there were so many emotions that took place during my time here. I was fortunate to experience life working in a major city such as Washington D.C. just as I’m beginning my overall career path, especially during these changing times. With the political climate and the tragedies that go on in our world each and every day, these days just feel so different and more out of whack than ever before. With that being said, I have to admit that waking up every day to focus my energy and efforts towards REAL problems going on in our world such as taking care of starving and displaced children definitely made me feel like I was doing my part to make the world a better place, and I am so grateful. There were times I would work on photographs and images of the children and I would quietly just tear up knowing that I am actively doing my part to help them, and that my help was paying off. When I think about it, at the end of the day it’s not just about yourself. It’s about us as a whole and our future generation. We are only as strong as our weakest link, and during these times if you’re not standing for something then what are you doing?

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Coalition Member Spotlight: Heifer International

In recognition of World Water Day, March 22, the Hilton Prize Coalition shines a spotlight on member Heifer International, focusing on the importance of clean water for livestock as well as for humans. Heifer’s initiatives affirm that healthy animals and healthy livestock practices lead to healthier people and communities.

Daily life of communities ahead of the digging of a well which will provide water for over 3,000 families in Linguere, Senegal. Feb. 2018 (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Heifer International)

For nearly 75 years, Heifer International has partnered with communities around the world to strengthen sustainable livelihoods and advance local economies. Heifer was awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 2004 for working to end hunger and poverty, while caring for the earth through training in environmentally sound agricultural practices.

Through its signature Passing on the Gift® practice, Heifer seeks to advance and raise awareness of food security and nutrition, women’s empowerment and others. Heifer's extensive partnerships, sound monitoring and evaluation practices and innovative programs around the world make the organization a leader in sustainable development with the goal of lifting farmers to living incomes.

Heifer offers sustainable development by leading a livestock revolution. Livestock provides nutritional and financial stability for small-scale farmers by producing goods to consume and sell. Healthy livestock help ensure economic security, empowering famers to take charge of their futures. Heifer works with communities to understand the needs and to identify the animals and farming methods that are most appropriate for the environment.

To achieve sustainable development, Heifer offers training and education in caring for animals. As part of the Hilton Prize Coalition Storytelling Program, Heifer’s president and chief executive officer Pierre Ferrari explains in this interview how clean water, nutrition, and proper care significantly impact livestock, and how the relationship between livestock health and human health has positive effects on the community. Clean water, nutrients and proper care contribute to healthier animals, which increases their benefit to small-scale farmers. Without proper care for livestock, humans’ health and well-being may be put at risk. Heifer’s initiatives affirm that healthy animals, and healthy livestock practices, lead to healthier people.

WATCH THE VIDEO

In the same interview, Ferrari recounts a story of Nepalese farmers who had been raising goats for centuries. They were initially skeptical of the changes Heifer was introducing. To address this, Heifer proposed a competition between those who followed the traditional way of raising goats and those who took advantage of Heifer’s trainings. After one year, the goats raised with Heifer’s methods showed a significant growth over their counterparts, proving the importance of proper care and nutrition to livestock.

Improved animal and resource management is one of Heifer’s 12 Cornerstones for Just and Sustainable Development. The Cornerstones incorporate Heifer’s values-based principles to teach holistic community development, including improving the environment, gender and family focus, and sustainability and self-reliance. Heifer equips local leaders with the tools to improve their communities and develop sustainable economies.

(Photos courtesy of Heifer International)

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

Comics, Witchcraft and Produce – International Women's Day 2018

International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8, 2018, with people of all genders showing support for women’s rights and appreciating their contributions to history. This year’s theme, #PressforProgress, encourages the global movement for gender equality. While positive developments are being made, the programs taking effect in different parts of the world reveal just how much progress is still needed.

Hilton Prize Coalition members are empowering women by changing the society around them. Programs that include community involvement have shown progress in expanding women’s roles in their community. As groups #PressforProgress, the focus is on encouraging communities to acknowledge the rights of women and come together to close the gender gap. Here is a glimpse of what several Laureates have been doing.

In Lebanon, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has produced an interactive comic book to instruct female refugees on how to handle dangerous situations. The comic book follows Hala, a Syrian refugee who encounters conflicts on her way to work. At checkpoint, Hala must decide whether to give the guard her number or find another way to work. If she takes another route, she may then encounter harassers or get lost in a foreign city. Hala’s story touches on issues that refugee women may relate to, or perhaps have experienced firsthand. The comic books are made available in women’s centers that provide counseling and other services to female Syrian refugees. The books are read in group settings to encourage discussion and allow women to share their own experience. Through their collective knowledge, the community of women grows stronger as they support each other. Together, they are better equipped to handle the dangerous situations that refugees may face.

Landesa’s “Girls Project” helps insure the rights of girls in West Bengal, India. The program seeks to change perceptions in a society that views girls as a burden. The first step of the program is to change the girls’ views of themselves. Through peer-leaders, girls are educated on their property rights, so that they will be prepared to make claims to their land and inheritance. The program also encourages girls grow “kitchen gardens.” The gardens may contribute food for their tables or serve as an additional source of income, helping families recognize the value that the girls can offer.
The second component of the Girl’s Project is to educate boys on women’s rights. Through Landesa’s curriculum, boys are sensitized to the vulnerabilities of girls, and acknowledge the benefit of their connection with land. With support from their communities, girls will be able to achieve economic and social empowerment. The Girls Program has reached more than 1,000 villages, resulting in more girls with assets in their names, and less child brides.

Young women and girls are not the only ones who face threats from their society. Elderly women are often targets for discrimination due to their age and sex. Even in the twenty-first century, accusations of witchcraft may force women to leave their communities or face harassment and death. HelpAge works with communities in Tanzania, where it is estimated that a thousand people are killed each year due to witchcraft accusations. The accused, who are mostly older women, are scapegoats for hardships that befall the community, such as disease or famine. Women who outlive their husbands may be targeted in order to dismiss their land rights or inheritance claims. HelpAge works with local NGO partners to educate the community and provide support to the accused women. By training village committee members in women’s rights, the organizations strengthen the justice system and support laws to protect widows. Community members are also taught about HIV and other illnesses, which are often blamed on witchcraft. For those who have been accused, houses and other resources are provided to help women who have been threatened or isolated by their community.

While there are many hurdles, progress is being made to lessen gender inequality. In "Prepared to Lead," a video clip from the Hilton Prize Coalition's "Leading Thoughts" Storytelling Program series, the president and CEO of Heifer International" describes the organization's efforts to educate and empower women. Given the opportunity, female leaders are stepping forward to make their communities safer and stronger.

Across the Hilton Prize Coalition, the theme of International Women’s Day continues through the year, as do efforts to #PressforProgress in communities, both locally and globally.

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

HPC Fellow: Catalina López Montero, Casa Alianza Mexico

Catalina López Montero is a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow with Casa Alianza Mexico (CAM), the name by which Covenant House is known in Mexico. In this post, Catalina describes the way CAM developed a comprehensive model of caring for homeless migrant young people. Catalina is a Social Work Professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico with a specialization in Youth Intervention Models.

Behind the Scenes of Caring for Migrant Children in Mexico
by Catalina López Montero

During my time as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow at Casa Alianza Mexico (CAM) in Mexico City, I had the great opportunity to research, document and archive their 20+ year history of working with migrant children and adolescents. Importantly, this gave me the opportunity to interview many migrant youth and understand migration from their direct perspective, from young people who are forced, for different reasons, to abandon their places of origin, even at the expense of their very own lives. Within this global phenomenon I found CAM to be an institution that understands how migrant children and adolescents are victims of a serious problem—social abandonment—and how addressing this humanitarian problem requires an integrated model of care, completely different from the social welfare handouts approach found among many Mexican institutions and NGOs.

CAM’s model of care for migrants has evolved methodologically over the years, through a continuous effort of reflection, evaluation and adjustment in order to remain responsive to migration’s changing socio-political environment. CAM’s work with migrants began in the early 1990s with their Street Outreach efforts, a core pillar of their work with migrants that remains key to this day. When unaccompanied migrant children arrive to Mexico from Central America and other countries, many of them find themselves on the streets, and like their Mexican peers, are without any identifying personal documents.

In the beginning, CAM’s street educators began working with migrants without even knowing they were foreigners. Through the personalized care they provided, the staff began to discover how there were many unaccompanied migrant children in Mexico City, and that it was necessary to create specialized strategies to care for them. For example, the staff needed to contact consular authorities, coordinate repatriations with other Covenant Houses in Central America and to start to understand the children’s journeys in order to identify what each child wanted and needed to help them reestablish their lives.

In the early years, CAM was one of the few organizations working with child migrants living on the streets of Mexico City even before the government was involved, but its network has grown and changed over the years to involve other entities, including the Mexican government. To this day, CAM’s continuous work and monitoring of the status of migrant children has won recognition from government agencies such as the Mexican National Institute of Migration, with whom they have been working for more than ten years; in 2006, the agency declared CAM an official child migratory station. In CAM’s shelter, migrant children and adolescents wait to obtain refugee status while they reside in an environment that guarantees the protection of their human rights and the development of their full potential.

As a university professor and social worker by profession, I have had the opportunity to work with many civil society organizations who care for children and adolescents working or living "on the street" - a name given to those who spent most of their day in this place; an important note on the name is how CAM recognizes that children are not “from the street,” because the streets have never been an acceptable place for any child to live.

There are many different models of care for vulnerable youth populations, but never have I come across such a comprehensive model like that of CAM’s, one so respectful of the human dignity of each person, nor one so committed to what happens to the children throughout their stay from the moment their street educators make the very first contact, inviting these children to think about an opportunity to leave the streets, and changing their lives by encouraging them to live in a new, safe, reliable home along with other peers, while always respecting their decision-making capacity.

During my fellowship I was amazed at CAM’s great commitment to their children and youth not only when they are living in their shelters, but also throughout the process of transitioning to an independent life. CAM provides them with the skills they need to take care of themselves in order to achieve emotional and financial stability, and the confidence of knowing they will have the support of an institution like CAM, who is like family to them.

Without a doubt, I have respect and admiration for the work done by Covenant House in Mexico on behalf of migrant children and adolescents. They have awakened in many children the certainty of a better life and dream, not just the American dream.

Casa Alianza Mexico, opening doors for homeless children…

(Photos courtesy of Covenant House)

About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 22 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.

To learn more about the Hilton Prize Coalition, visit prizecoalition.charity.org, or contact prizecoalition@charity.org. Follow the Hilton Prize Coalition on Twitter and LinkedIn, and “Like” us on Facebook.

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