The newly established Women, Faith, and Development Alliance (WFDA), a global effort to empower women and girls and fight poverty, has announced $1.3 billion in commitments from more than seventy organizations. Together, the commitments will support initiatives designed to improve the lives of more than a billion women in dozens of countries.
Launched over the weekend at a conference in Washington, D.C., entitled Breakthrough: The Women, Faith, and Development Summit to End Global Poverty, the alliance will work to change the policies of governments, multilateral institutions, and private groups. To that end, the United Nations Population Fund has pledged $500 million to address maternal mortality, gender violence, female genital mutilation, and empowering adolescent girls in a broad campaign covering fifty countries, while the International Rescue Committee pledged $500 million to support efforts to curtail gender violence and support women's education. In addition, the Sister Fund and the Women's Funding Network have pledged a total of $150 million to expand significantly the Women Moving Millions campaign to increase the collective assets of foundations and NGOs serving women around the world.
The alliance counts among its supporters former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former president of Ireland and former UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, actress Ashley Judd, and Queen Noor of Jordan. Since its first meeting in June 2006, nearly eighty organizations have actively participated in shaping WFDA's strategy and advocacy agenda.
Initial support for the alliance and for the summit comes from the United Nations Foundation, ExxonMobil, InterAction, Catholic Relief Services, the Conrad Hilton and Summit foundations, Heifer International, the Sister Fund, Tibotec/Johnson and Johnson, the United Way of America, Women Thrive Worldwide, and World Vision.
"Women and girls in poverty are not asking for new rhetoric or promises," said founding WFDA chair Albright. "They want action that will mean something in their daily lives and have a ripple effect with governments, multilateral institutions, and other organizations. WFDA, with its reach, resources, and expertise, will deliver that to them."
For a full list of commitments, visit the Women, Faith, and Development Alliance Web site.