Today, Google.org announced the 34 funding recipients of the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls.
The $25M global philanthropy challenge was launched in March 2021 and called for gender equity-focused organizations to submit their boldest and most innovative ideas to create a more equitable economic reality for women and girls.
Google.org partnered with a women-led panel of experts – including leaders like Rigoberta Menchu, Naomi Osaka, Shakira, Susan Wojcicki, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka – and gender equity-focused organizations Vital Voices and Project Everyone to evaluate proposals based on four key criteria: innovation, impact, feasibility, and scalability.
The selected organizations have outlined projects that will help women and girls, especially those in geographically, economically or socially marginalized populations, reach their full economic potential.
In addition to funding of up to $1 million each, recipients will participate in a four-month accelerator program led by Google’s Accelerator and Women Techmakers communities, in partnership with Vital Voices to move their projects forward. Select organizations will also receive a Google.org Fellowship and dedicated Ad Grants to promote their mission.
“Globally, women have been nearly twice as likely to lose their jobs during COVID-19 as men. It’s vital that we elevate and support work that empowers women and girls to reach their full economic potential, especially in marginalized communities,” says Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org.
“The pandemic recovery must be an inclusive one, and we know that when we invest in women and girls, we all benefit.”
Google.org received 7,800 applications; the most ever received for a Google.org Impact Challenge. An analysis of the application data, commissioned by Google.org and conducted by King’s College London’s Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, identified four main focus areas for organizations around the world proposing pathways to economic empowerment for women and girls. These focus areas, with recipient examples, include:
SwaTaleem Foundation (India) will use funding to build an app, which doesn’t require an internet connection, that provides skills in math, science and financial awareness for young women and girls.
Entrepreneurship & Businesses
Asociación Colnodo (Colombia) will connect rural women entrepreneurs to the internet and each other through cohort programing and mentorship.
Financial Independence and Support
Girls Inc of New York City (US) will build a financial budgeting app for girls of color from low-income households.
Skills Development & Career Advancement
Project Akilah (Rwanda) will build a pipeline of formal economic career opportunities for rural women.
“The world is watching how quickly crises can roll back progress made toward gender equality. Women’s voices, participation, and leadership across every sector of society is more critical than ever,” says Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership.
“At Vital Voices, we are thrilled to partner with Google.org as they invest in projects with strong roots in community, bold ideas that bridge divides, and a strong commitment to paying it forward.”
“At Project Everyone we know that achieving gender equality is at the heart of achieving all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, so we were excited to partner with Google.org and Vital Voices on this powerful initiative,” says Kate Garvey, Co-founder at Project Everyone.
“The Impact Challenge is an example of how cross-sector collaborations can accelerate progress towards the Goals and demonstrates how we can all play our part in solving the world’s greatest problems.”
In addition to the Impact Challenge, Google.org will continue support through $15M in donated Google Search Ads for organizations focused on gender equity; including $10M to UN Women.
The donated ads will connect the public via Google Search with in-depth, authoritative information on gender equity and connect underserved women with the resources they need.
Each funded organization will also receive full-time digital marketing support from a Google Ads expert for three months.
Selected organizations from Africa include:
Girls with disabilities will access mentorship and after school STEM bootcamps. Program facilitators are rigorously trained in disability inclusion and STEM teaching methods by The Action Foundation and The STEM Impact Center Kenya.
The Action Foundation will work with The Ministry of Education and promote inclusion in STEM education for girls with disabilities, and support transition to higher levels of learning.
Through Buildher’s technical training and employment program and GiveDirectly’s cash-transfers, the project aims to improve the economic inclusion and workforce readiness of socioeconomically disadvantaged women, while promoting gender equality in Kenya’s male-dominated construction sector.
The project will combine vocational and life skills training with unconditional cash that enables women to complete their training and access high-demand employment opportunities.
RefuSHE and Konexio will provide digital skills training and connect young urban refugee women to safe and dignified livelihoods in the growing online freelance economy.
RefuSHE will also provide services like counseling, day care, and a laptop buy-back program to help refugee women launch their careers and thrive after graduation.
Through direct cash transfers, business and digital skills, marketing assistance, and mentorship in several languages (English, French, Swahili, Amharic, Portuguese), the “Re-CubateHER” project will support women-owned businesses to become technology-enabled.
The curriculum will be deployed to women without internet access through interactive voice response technology to their phones.
Women’s World Banking
Women’s World Banking will provide access to digital wallets and digital credit/loans to women around the world who do not have access to formal financial services. Low-income women who are opening a bank account or asking for a loan for the first time will not need a smartphone to use the platform but can use prompts on mobile phones instead.
Empowering women through opportunities in the formal economy by building a pipeline of formal economic career opportunities for rural women.
Dream Factory Foundation
Through Project DoDigi’s 10-week curriculum, women entrepreneurs will learn digital and entrepreneurship skills, access mentorship, and participate in a pitch competition. They will then be onboarded onto Meeticks, a “smart” shop on WhatsApp that will allow businesses to easily connect to potential customers.
The Q Network
The “WomXnRaise” project is a 3-month business development program to help Queer womxn, trans, and non-binary entrepreneurs in South Africa to grow their businesses before accessing a specific fundraising platform catered to the LGBTQ+ community.
Successful graduates of the program are required to connect their businesses back to the LGBTQ+ community, either through product offerings, services, or hiring LGBTQ+ employees.
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