Paola Genovese, Giving Women member:
My Giving Women experience

March 22nd, 2019

When I first heard about Giving Women, I couldn’t see clearly the opportunity for me to become a member.

Today it has been two years since I first stepped into one of their assemblies where I found a community of passionate women holding hands for a brighter future.

First of all, they strongly believe that as philanthropists we need the right tools to give well. Thanks to their program of capacity building workshops, free access to resources and Project Circles I am continuously learning and growing my philanthropic knowledge and skills.

As the proud founder of a new project, I was desperately looking for support and advise. Since day one Giving Women is giving me huge support in terms of strategy and networking. They are constantly looking for innovative ways to collaborate and create synergies.

10th Anniversary Newsletter

March 4th, 2019


10th Anniversary Newsletter     February 2019
 “I was looking for an organisation, which would need me, not for what I have, but for what I know! This is why I have chosen to join Giving Women.”  Magda Zaorska, Giving Woman, Zurich chapter

Dear Members and Friends,

In celebration of our 10th anniversary year, we are putting on monthly events, in addition to our educational programme and project evenings, to mark this important milestone for Giving Women.
It is also a moment to take stock of our achievements and highlight the contribution of our members and our projects. Every six weeks I will be writing a newsletter, which will keep you informed of our evolving 10th anniversary programme as well as share the stories of our unsung heroes from our ever-growing community of members and project owners, and reveal some of our hidden successes.

The last ten years have been an incredible journey for us all. As with all ambitious visions the path has not always been without its challenges. However, the commitment, enthusiasm and faith of our members and devoted ExCom have allowed us to remain dedicated to providing professional support to projects, delivering quality events to our community, and developing effective processes for our organisation that we can all be proud of. Every day we learn something new, continue to meet inspirational people who help us grow and continue to shift the dial towards making this world a fairer and safer place for vulnerable girls and women.

Upcoming 10th Anniversary Events:

  1. To start this exciting year, we are honouring the commitment we made at our annual conference in October to continue the campaign for an ethical Fashion Industry:
Monday, 25th February, 12.15-14.15, Fashion Revolution, the campaign continues, at the Impact Hub Geneva
  1. On International Women’s day, 8th March, in collaboration with Festival du film et forum international sur les droits humains, FIFDH, we are hosting within the programme of the festival a conversation with Pat Mitchell, media guru, lifelong activist, curator of Ted Women the list goes on. The Giving Women members are invited to this lunch time conversation, which I know will be inspiring, informative and impactful. Meagan Fallone, CEO of Barefoot College and long-standing Giving Women member will be joining me in leading the conversation with Pat Mitchell:

Friday, 8th March,12:30-14:00, Pat Mitchell in Conversation with Giving Women,Theatre Pitoeff, rue de Carouge

Invitations to follow.
Events being planned:

  1. Film Screening, Les Guerrières de la Paix,  April TBC
  2. Film screening and conversation/panel discussion on the effect of climate change on vulnerable women, May TBC

How can you get involved in the celebration of our 10th Anniversary? 
(Many more ways to get involved in ongoing GW activities and committees below…)

  • Participation on the 10th-anniversary committee
  • Contribution to a 10th anniversary blog which we will be setting up on our website, if you are a GW member or a project owner tell us your stories: Projects you are involved; a GW experience and how his has impacted your work/life; tell us about a woman /girl that has inspired you. The power of storytelling to motivate others is priceless.

To get you started here is a story which is a small example of the hidden impact of our work.

How Giving Women and a teapot created the “Giving Women ripple effect”

One of our early and very innovative projects was Women on Wheels from the Azad Foundation. Meenu Vedera, the pioneering and courageous founder, established a programme to train the poorest women from the Delhi slums to become taxi drivers. When Elianna evaluated the project in 2012, she noted that Women on Wheels ticked so many boxes for us: It was challenging the traditional beliefs of what jobs were possible and appropriate for women; it had an innovative and holistic approach to poverty alleviation through women’s economic empowerment, which went far beyond a vocational training programme; it was a hybrid organization that had set up a for profit taxi company to provide jobs and help fund the not-for-profit training programme and much more. The Giving Women project circle helped this organisation to write their first annual report, which was instrumental for them to find the funding they needed to expand their work to other cities. We closed the project circle but stayed in contact with Meenu and introduced the organization to various funders.  Women on Wheels has now expanded to JaipurKolkata, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, and Indore.
In 2017 the Giving Women 7th Annual Conference was on the economic autonomy of vulnerable women. We wanted to highlight innovative programmes that were giving women access to dignified work and also building financial autonomy. Meenu and Women on Wheels was a perfect fit. We invited Meenu, who told her story and the story of the women that had gone through the programme.
When the conference ended Meenu spent a couple of days with us and we enjoyed many hours of exchange in my kitchen over many cups of tea made in an IKEA teapot much admired by Meenu. I took note and at the next opportunity sent her a teapot. The teapot made it in one piece all the way to Delhi but broke as it was being handed over. Determined that Meenu should receive her teapot, a second one was purchased and carefully wrapped and with great care, I handed it over safe and in one piece in the beautiful gardens of Bikaner House in Delhi. At that exchange of gifts and news, I mentioned my daughter, Elianna’s, Mastermom initiative. Meenu enthusiastically responded by asking her to speak on a panel at a two-day conference that she was organising on non-traditional livelihoods for marginalised women. The aim of her conference, much like that of Giving Women’s a year before, was to challenge the limited view of what women are capable of and question what systems and structures were needed to ensure that women entering new or unfamiliar territory for work are able to sustain this work safely and happily.
The Giving Women connection, however, does not end there. Meenu was organising this conference with Theo Sowa, CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund, who had also spoken at our 7th Annual Giving Women conference, and where she had met Meenu. In addition, a Barefoot College solar Mama, trained at Barefoot college, a past GW project and run by one of our long-standing GW members, Meagan Fallone, was also invited to share her story as a woman working in a non-traditional livelihood as a solar engineer. The ripples go on…
The openness and reach of the Giving Women community have created many often quiet synergies many of which remain unsung. I invite our community to share such connections, or ways that the GW community has made a difference in your life or the lives of those around you.
Please share your stories with me, Atalanti Moquette, Founder and Vice-chair, Giving Women.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for the past 10 years, and here is to 10 more years of strong collaboration between women for profound impact on the lives of women and girls in need globally!

Jenny Yerena Schönberger, Giving Women member: My Giving Women story

March 4th, 2019

My first experience with Giving Women was at the Giving Women’s 8th Annual Conference in 2018. I went there without knowing much about it but curious about the subject. I was very impressed by the quality of the speakers and the discussions that took place there between change-makers of the fashion industry from different parts of the world. This allowed me to know more about many issues linked to the industry and motivated me to support sustainable and ethical fashion brands. During the conference, I also found that it was really easy to talk and connect with very interesting women. 

At that time, I was looking for an opportunity to collaborate in an organization that positively impacts the lives of others and I was glad to find that Giving Women was the perfect opportunity to do it, so after their annual conference, I decided to become a member. Since I’ve joined it, I’ve participated in various Giving Women events and continue learning and connecting with a wonderful network of philanthropic women who give their time and are very passionate about making this world better for everyone.

In addition, the project circles have given me the opportunity to learn and also share my knowledge and skills while bringing solutions to their challenges, in fact I am currently part of one of the project circles called “Lensational”, which helps marginalized women in the developing world, allowing them to share their unheard stories through photography, gain confidence and develop a base of strength.

And the story continues, last December, in an informal Giving Women lunch I sat in front of a very nice lady who works at The Red Pencil Organization which is part of the Giving Women Project Circles, another NGO that has an inspiring mission, bringing Art Therapy to families and children that have been through traumatic life circumstances around the world. We had a really interesting conversation about their work and also my interest in being part of a charity and after this, I started collaborating with The Red Pencil as well.

It hasn’t been long since I’ve joined Giving Women, but I feel like a lot of rewarding experiences, learnings and meaningful connections happen in every Giving Women event I attend. I am sure that this energy and positiveness come from the inspiring founder Atalanti and the rest of the exceptional Giving Women team. 

Finally, I have to say that Elianna has been a great inspiration for me, her positive energy and her willingness to help everyone are contagious, through her I also found Mastermom which has given me guidance to find my passion and mission in life. I love to be part of this wonderful community, where I always feel welcome and look forward to continue learning and contributing to the Giving Women mission.

Jessica Dabbs, Giving Women member:
My interactive Giving Women challenge

February 21st, 2019

I joined Giving Women because I was looking for an organization where I could use my time to benefit others and to meet people with similar interests.  I have not been disappointed! Since the first event I attended I have met a diverse range of women, each of whom contribute different skills, expertise and experiences. 

At first I found it a bit difficult understanding how I could get involved as a member, but now I love the flexibility of Giving Women which allows me to fit my involvement around working full time. I have attended workshops, talks, the annual conference, monthly lunches and met up with members outside of formal events. 

Last summer I mentioned to Atalanti, the founder of Giving Women, that I had some spare time and would love to get more involved. Atalanti challenged me to find an app to use at the annual Giving Women Conference to make the event paperless and to increase engagement with attendees. I had no experience of working with this type of project, but I can’t say no to a challenge and the opportunity to learn something new! 

Over the summer I researched app providers, compared the different offerings, considered how we could use the app, read articles about the integration of event apps and negotiated a not for profit discount with our chosen service provider. I soon discovered that one of the biggest challenges with event apps is getting people to download the app, so I developed a plan to maximize the take up rate.

With support from volunteers and staff there was a final flurry of activity in the run up to the conference as we personalized our event page, uploaded information about the Conference and the speakers and promoted the app. This was followed by some testing and then anxiously tracking the data to see how many people had downloaded the app.

I was delighted with the success of the app on the day of the Conference! We had a download rate of over 80%, 74 questions posted, over 3,000 independent views and a full activity stream. We received great feedback from both participants and speakers. 

After a preparing a short evaluation report the project was complete. 

I enjoyed the creative aspects of this project and felt a huge sense of achievement from the success of the app. I was grateful for the opportunity to develop new skills, but it also made me reflect on why I enjoyed the project so much. As a result I have developed opportunities in my professional life to take on similar projects to be creative and increase engagement with relevant stakeholders.