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Reflections on 2020 and looking ahead

The past year has shown us the human capacity for strength, generosity and resilience in the face of challenges.

In spite of the many limitations and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been amazed by the innovation and determination that our local partners have shown this year. Their dedication to their students, providing emergency aid, remote mentoring and developing alternative modes of study, has been inspiring. 

Although the lack of technology and internet access across our partner programmes has made it harder for many women and girls to follow classes during the pandemic, students have shown their resilience. With the continued support of their teachers and mentors they adapted to online learning, where possible. We are learning from the experiences of our partners and will continue to work with them to ensure their students have access to the tools they need to learn in the digital world.

Strengthening our partners’ capacity to provide effective mentoring, alongside education, to their students was central to WONDER’s work in 2020. Having a mentor gives young women the opportunity to receive one-to-one attention, ensuring they make the most of their education and have someone to turn to. During this difficult year, our investment in mentoring has never been so relevant or so important.  

With your support, we have not only maintained our programmes but expanded them to meet the critical needs of women and girls brought on by the pandemic. 

You helped us accomplish many things in 2020, these are a few highlights:

• 2020 marked the end of our EU-funded Red:GLOW project, which has brought together seven partners across six European countries to empower 950 young women through youth work. You can download our report and find all of our Red:GLOW resources for youth workers, young women, and policy makers on this link.

• We worked with our partner in Nigeria, Wavecrest College, to provide 110 young women with data to access for online learning as well as laptops for teachers. Together, we also provided 110 students with emergency food parcels.

• With WONDER’s support, our local partner, FPTI in the Philippines, distributed tablets and data to 359 young women so they can keep learning online through the pandemic, and learn new digital skills. Hiking to remote villages and seeing the living and studying conditions only strengthened teacher’s desire to meet students’ needs.

• In DR Congo, we provided our partner Monkole Hospital, where ISSI nurses train, with urgent financial support to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak and for the emergency rehabilitation of a COVID ward, with 25 beds set up with full bathrooms, access to oxygen, running water and electricity 24 hours a day. This is something that might seems basic, but it is a rare occurrence in hospitals in DR Congo.

We are proud of what we have already achieved and are excited for the new year ahead with new challenges and opportunities.

Here is a glimpse of what is to come for WONDER foundation in 2021:

• We are expanding our programmes in DR Congo and testing the first online training for nurses, through which at least 1,000 nurses and healthcare professionals will improve hygiene practices. This will use competency-based learning to develop nurses’ personal and professional decision-making and agency.

• In Kenya, we will be working with our local partners to enable marginalized girls and young women to find dignified employment, fulfill their potential and develop innovative solutions for women in the country’s changing hospitality industry (HTI), a flagship national industry decimated by COVID.

• Building on our past work with migrant women and girls in Europe, and how badly they’ve been affected by the gender digital divide during COVID, we will strive to deliver education and personal support to help them catch up on their education.

• Across our programmes, we will continue to invest in vulnerable women and girls, supporting their education and personal development during COVID by working with our local partners to find innovative solutions to deliver quality education and mentoring remotely.

We could not have accomplished what we did in 2020 without your support and your commitment to building a future where women and girls have access to quality education and opportunities. Together, we can make 2021 our most impactful year yet!

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