Coffee anyone?

We’re thrilled to announce that Watipa has been awarded a Scoping and Business Development grant from the DICE Fund of the British Council. We will be developing “Equal Grounds” – an exciting social enterprise and community development project involving coffee – with Rumah Cemara in Bandung, Indonesia. The DICE Fund is part of a wider two year programme, set up to tackle entrenched issues of unemployment and unequal economic growth in five emerging economies (Indonesia, Pakistan, South Africa, Egypt and Brazil) and the UK.

Equal Grounds will cultivate social entrepreneurship and creative communication with disadvantaged young people in Bandung to develop their employability skills, boost local and ethical coffee production, and stimulate the local job market. We will be looking at all stages of coffee production from seed to bean to mouth. Or in other words, a holistic approach that will look at growing, farming, producing, marketing, serving and drinking coffee. Continue reading “Coffee anyone?”

Boats for women: Equity, the right to vote, and the sport of rowing

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Design of the commemorative t-shirt at Henley Women’s Regatta celebrating 100 years of “votes” for women

Today saw more than 1,800 athletes take to the water in an idyllic setting about 37 miles to the west of London, as part of the Henley Women’s Regatta. For most female rowers in the UK, and around the world, this is one of the most prestigious and exciting events in the rowing calendar.

Women’s rowing has come a long way in the last 100 years. For most of its history, rowing has been a male dominated sport. Rowing has been around for a very long time, and can be traced back to the Ancient Egyptians.

In more recent history, modern rowing as a competitive sport can be traced to the early 10th century in London, in the UK, when races were held between professional watermen on the River Thames. The first Henley Women’s Regatta was held in 30 years ago in 1988. In the first regatta, there were 109 entries requiring 97 races, with predominantly British crews with a few from Ireland and one from the Netherlands. Today, there are 441 entries from over 1,800 competitors requiring 285 races and 17 time trials. A lot has changed in the last 30 years in women’s rowing…. but we have still not crossed the finish line in achieving gender equity in our sport. Continue reading “Boats for women: Equity, the right to vote, and the sport of rowing”

International Women’s Day – celebrating initiatives around the world to end gender inequality

IMG_3378According to a recent study by the British Council, gender equality still exists worldwide. To be honest this is something that most people notice – if paying attention with a critical eye – as we walk through life every single day.

Gender inequality exists worldwide, as summarised in the British Council report:

  • In politics, where only 23% of members of parliament are women;
  • In work, where 50% of women compared to 75% of men are in formal work;
  • In pay, where on average women earn 24% less than men;
  • In entrepreneurship, where there are only 10 countries where as many women as men start their own businesses; and
  • In society, where 1 in 3 women experience sex or gender based violence.

Continue reading “International Women’s Day – celebrating initiatives around the world to end gender inequality”

The gift of – and the right to – education

Education is a human right; it should not be a privilege. Young people can be the change they want to see in the world. It’s just that in many developing countries, young leaders do not always have the means to continue with their education and reach their full potential.

Today, Watipa joins thousands of others around the world in the celebration of Human Rights, as we stand strong in our commitment to making education more accessible to young leaders in developing countries.

Continue reading “The gift of – and the right to – education”

The future will be bright

The Watipa scholarship review committee is reading through hundreds of applications at the moment, as we shortlist for the new scholarships that we will be awarding in just a few weeks…. it is an exciting, daunting, hopeful and very busy time for Watipa.

I have just read in one of the applications that “the future will be bright.” Based on the applications we have received, I am certain that it will.  Continue reading “The future will be bright”

The weight of hope

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There are 2 days left until the scholarship applications close for 2017. The deadline is midnight GMT on Saturday 4th November 2017. We have had an overwhelming response: 525 hopeful young people from at least 10 countries are looking to Watipa for support for their studies, hopes and dreams for the future.

Continue reading “The weight of hope”

“You’re only a good activist if you are alive and well”

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Outreach workers often face risks to their personal safety and security when providing much needed services to marginalised of hard-to-reach communities. They often do so on a voluntary basis or for a relatively small payment compared to international aid workers who operating in the same area. The potential threats and experiences of violence are particularly acute when the organisations are run by and for communities that are criminalised under the legal framework of a particular country. These communities are in need of important health and other essential services, just like everyone. In fact, may need more services given the vulnerabilities and risks they face in everyday life.  Continue reading ““You’re only a good activist if you are alive and well””

Stigma, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder

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Reducing stigma and discrimination has been at the forefront of Jamaica’s national response to HIV for several years. One week ago today, in Kingston Jamaica, we presented some recommendations for how the capacity of healthcare workers could be improved so that stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with and vulnerable to HIV are reduced at point of care.

Stigma – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder. Change starts with each one of us, knowing and being honest about our beliefs, prejudices, and morals. A training to address stigma among healthcare workers for example must be transformative – to tap into personal beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviours that are the drivers of stigma. In other words training must not be ‘business as usual’ and in fact have a ‘sparkle’ that can engage the hearts as well as the minds of participants.

Continue reading “Stigma, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder”

Do you know what a Samajika looks like?

Samajika is a word from Sri Lanka, in Sinhala, that translates into English meaning equal members. At Watipa we refer to the founding members of Watipa as Samajikas, embracing the diversity of the cultural and geographical reach of Watipa as well as a commitment to our egalitarian and collaborative way of working.

You can meet the Watipa Samajikas by watching short profile films on Watipa’s YouTube channel – and you can read more about the skills and experience of Samajikas on our website.

The founders of Watipa are Michelle Aitken, Karin Alexander, Maureen Leah Chirwa, Valerie Delpech, Taghreed El Hajj, Kathy Lowndes, Saku Mapa, Lucy Stackpool-Moore and Margaret Wazakili.

As you can see, the Watipa Samajikas all look very different!

Watipa strategy: A meeting like no other!

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Being creative. Opening our minds. Thinking clearly. What better than to have a Watipa strategic planning meeting on a boat on a Friday afternoon?

Last week we tried it, and held a “meeting like no other” on a narrow boat on the Regent’s Canal in central London. It was a little bubble of tranquility, as we floated there with trees and water surrounding us, just slightly beneath the bustle of the big city nearby.

Continue reading “Watipa strategy: A meeting like no other!”