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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Programs by Policy Issue

Investing in Women and Girls

All around the world, women are blazing new trails and triumphing over long-entrenched obstacles, resulting in major advancements to the development agenda and global progress. S/GWI supports these efforts by providing high-impact grants through U.S. embassies to community-based organizations working to meet the critical needs of women and girls around the world. S/GWI is funding 67 programs through public and private funding mechanisms in 40 countries (as of September 30, 2011).

In addition to fully supporting the political, economic, legal and social empowerment of women and girls, S/GWI’s global programs strengthen local organizations’ capacity to deliver development results.

Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative

Recognizing that the emergence of a stable, self-reliant, and prosperous country requires the equal participation of more than half of the country’s population - its women – the Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative enables NGOs to implement 12-36 month programs that can sustainably support the political, legal, economic and social development of Iraqi women. S/GWI is currently funding 13 programs through the Iraqi Women’s Democracy Initiative.

Secretary’s International Fund for Women and Girls

The Secretary’s Fund is a public-private partnership that leverages the resources and knowledge of the public and private sectors and invests in efficient and innovative solutions for the inclusion and participation of women and girls in alleviating poverty, promoting vibrant and democratic civil societies, and encouraging economic growth. Announced in April 2010, it is a flexible funding mechanism that supports targeted, high-impact, community driven programs. The Secretary’s Fund currently supports ten grants in eight different countries, working through U.S. embassies and subject to all U.S. Federal Assistance Guidelines.

The Secretary’s Fund welcomes all contributions – large and small – to address this important challenge. All monies go to fund projects addressing critical needs around the world. Contributors will receive regular updates on project implementation and an annual report detailing the Fund’s investments and public partnerships.

Individuals can contribute any dollar amount through the Fund’s website or by mail. Corporations, foundations, and other large contributors are encouraged to explore partnership commitments directly with Fund staff. Donors can target gifts to specific areas of focus or authorize general contribution to the Fund to meet emerging, unanticipated, and critical humanitarian challenges.

Secretary’s War Widows Initiative

The Secretary’s War Widows Program was launched in 2009 after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with widows and single female heads of household in Iraq. Recognizing the importance that the full economic and social integration of widows in Iraq has for security and overall development of the country, the program provides grants to support Iraqi widows with legal assistance, support services and livelihood development, literacy and numeracy training, advocacy and human rights education in addition to research and analysis on the status of widows in Iraq. S/GWI is currently funding five NGOs through the Secretary’s War Widows’ Program.

Small Grants Initiative

In 2009, S/GWI launched the Small Grants Initiative to meet the critical needs of women and girls at the national, community and local levels. Currently S/GWI is funding 57 projects in 38 countries through this initiative.

If you would like to support the programs or need more information, please contact: 


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