Proud to have been a part of this amazing event!
I’m a proud Board Member of The Kota Alliance, a NYC-based 501c3 that aims to establish an incubator space for women’s non-profits in the City.
In late Spring 2015, Kota organized an event, #KotaDayto offer opportunities for networking and co-learning — in essence, to showcase its core mission. The day featured keynotes by Dambisa Moyo, Economist and Author; Lopa Banerjee, Chief of the Civil Society Section at UNWomen; and Sheryl WuDunn, Author of A Path Appears. Some hundred participants also attended 14 interactive workshops, topics of which ranged from girls’ rights and women’s in conflict situations, to fundraising and legal issues.
I did a series of interviews with some inspiring and insightful workshop leaders, featured in these blog posts. Hope you find them useful for your non-profit or related work!
We at the Kota Project are currently planning our Plum Alley crowdfunding campaign.
While doing our background research, we have come across many exciting, creative, and inspiring crowdfunding projects that address women’s and girls’ rights and work towards gender equality.
For example, the Kickstarter project Faces of Courage: Intimate Portraits of Women on the Edge, by the artist-photographer Mark Tuschman is a powerful example of art working for human rights. His goal is to publish a book of photographs that showcase the challenges, even pain and powerlessness, of women around the world. At the same time, the artist’s aim is to document the many advances being made in educating and empowering women and girls. Doctors, nurses, teachers, aid workers, and NGO staff – these are the silent heroes who are working tirelessly to improve the lives of millions of women around the world. Mark writes:
Through my photography, I bring these women and their stories to the forefront of global consciousness.
Another timely project is the #OperationGirl Charity Challenge. In response of the kidnapping of hundreds of girls in Nigeria. After the girls were kidnapped in Nigeria, the CrowdRise crowdfunding community wanted to do something. The pop-soul star John Legend,RYOT and the Burkle Global Impact Initiative teamed up to launch the Challenge to allow different projects to empower girls and women around the world with a total of $100,000 in donations.
The model is clever: the organization that raises the most during the Challenge wins a $50,000 donation, the Second place gets $20,000, the Third gets $10,000 and, there will be weekly Bonus Challenges for charities to win up to another $20,000. Even if you don’t win any of the grand prize money, you get to keep the money you raise during the campaign.
The Challenge runs from early July to late August — and already tens of teams have begun crowdfunding for projects related to girls’ empowerment. The projects range from storytelling initiatives to building dorms for a girls’ school in India
While we love these initiatives, we have realized that our mission is, after all, quite special. As our Mission Statement reads, we want to equalize the social, political and economic standing of women and men globally by providing the physical and virtual spaces, tools, and services required by non profits working on women’s empowerment.
In today’s world, virtual communication and networking is a part of our everyday lives. Yet, we firmly believe that organizations working for women’s and girls’ rights still need a ‘space of their own’ to network, learn, create new alliances — in other words, to embrace new discoveries and challenges, with the support of other organizations and the Kota Team.
One of the main reasons for the need of the space is that gender equality is intertwined in so many facets of rights, development, and social justice. It follows that often activists and advocates tend to work with those they know, in their specific field. But precisely because of the complexities of women’s empowerment, new links and connections need to be built. A Kota World Center for Women will allow organized and spontaneous encounters.
Our campaign is special in that it will help create a permanent PHYSICAL platform for all these organizations and smaller campaigns to grow and will therefore have longer lasting impact! Moreover, with New York being a mecca for people from all over the world, we aim for the Kota Center to have a public and educational aspect to better influence public opinion. The space will also be used for fundraising for the organizations by using music, art, and food, which enable us to experience the importance of women’s empowerment not only with our minds, but with our hearts and guts.
We will kick off our campaign on the 23rd of October — but you will hear a lot about it even before, in the coming months. Join us in building the Kota Center.