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Update from EMpower’s Program Team on COVID-19 Impact & Response

Posted 29 April 2020 in EMpower News   |   Share


A note from Kristen Woolf, EMpower’s Vice President of Programs, on behalf of the team.

Dear Friends, Colleagues and Partners,

As we head into the month of May, here are some updates and reflections from the Program Team at EMpower:


Our grantee partners are responding to the pandemic in their local communities by focusing on, reaching and including marginalized young people that are being immensely impacted by COVID-19 due to existing inequalities and a lack of social, health, education and economic safety nets.

Sitting underneath education, health and economic systems are the disproportionate burdens placed on girls and young women, in ‘normal’ times, but more-so in times of crisis.


We are in close touch with our nearly 100 grantee partners, and we have offered all of them flexibility in the use of their grant funds and timeline extensions as well. We seek to provide what is most useful for each partner, offering thought partnering and collaborative learning support as well as funding. We have been able to unrestrict up to 50% of all of our funding to our partners, and in some cases, offer smaller emergency top-up grants.

Above and beyond grantmaking – how EMpower is pivoting to support our partners:

  • We are focused on building solidarity through connecting our partners to each other, to share resources, practices, and COVID-related program learning.
  • We have shifted our Building Bridges Initiative in India to online and more targeted sharing of resources and learnings across 11 partner organizations. Small grants have been made available for collaboration. One of our partners is designing and implementing an accessible and easy to understand online ‘Train the Trainer’ resilience building module in Hindi to develop trainer’s capacity to relate more authentically, compassionately and with skill in times of the current COVID related challenges like loss of income, risk of violence and fears of spread of disease.
  • We have shifted our regional learning network that works with very young adolescent girls in Latin America to an online community of practice. For now, partners are piloting an online platform for connecting with each other, sharing resources and learning related to programming for and with young girls.

For all of our supporters, partners and colleagues, we are hosting a webinar on May 5th entitled: Her point of view: COVID-19 as experienced by Adolescent Girls (details HERE). We are thrilled because the panel features 2 Adolescent Girls from our Girls Advisory Council and 2 of our grantee partners who are assuming a strong gender lens in their COVID response.

Thank you to all of the young people leading, to our partners for their incredible wisdom and commitment, to our hardworking program team, and for the continued support of our amazing global network of supporters in the US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore and Delhi.We have never been more united. Now, more than ever, we remain deeply committed to the collective leadership of girls and young people, the wisdom and strategic thinking of our partnerships and to remaking the world into a more equal place.

With wishes for our continued partnerships and good work together,


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