Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Women's Campaign International Helping Women Here and Abroad

Tonight, I attended a fundraiser for Women's Campaign International (WCI) headed by former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies Mezvinsky (MMM), who just happens to be Chelsea Clinton's mother-in-law. WCI was started in 1998 after MMM led the United States delegation to the fourth world conference on women in Beijing, China.  First Lady Hilary Clinton spoke at the Beijing conference.

Women's Campaign International teaches advocacy skills to women and girls in emerging democracies and post-conflict regions. They teach the women how to speak in public, effectively lobby, deal with the media, conduct letter writing and social media campaigns etc.

They also run programs that help women being  economically self- sufficient. They teach budgeting, provide agricultural tools in farming regions, and even provide martial counseling for couples to help the women in the home.

They are operating in 16 Middle Eastern and North African countries, having recently been forced to leave Syria due to the escalating violence. They also run a similar program in West Philadelphia. The organization prepares women for elective office by teaching them leadership skills such as public speaking and budgeting.

They do all of this on a shoestring.

Jeff Gavin, a WCI board member said, "Our program in Liberia, which trained 600 women only cost $25,000."

The programs that WCI seems to be making a difference in Muslims' attitude toward the United States.

"After a day of attacks in Iraq, one of the Iraqis called and said tell the United States that we love them." recalled Margolies Mezvinsky.

In a Kevin Bacon moment, MMM recounted a conversation with a state department official, who was asked if he knew about this small, but wonderful program that WCI was running. I am betting that he did since it is run by his boss's in-law.

For those that do not know Margolies Mezvinsky's history, it is pretty incredible to see her still giving to others after everything that she has been through. Some people in her position would have stopped helping other people.

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