At WONDER, we believe in the transformative power of education. Through quality education and mentoring, we help women and girls build bridges to a better future.
International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the global journey to gender equality. It is also a time to reflect on the work that still needs to be done, and at WONDER we have some big aspirations. We believe that women’s empowerment starts with education. Education gives women and girls the tools to become leaders in their own lives.
There are four core ways we aim to deliver transformation through education: quality learning, education as a bridge to employment, mentoring, and the development of leadership skills.
Quality education is where it all begins. WONDER works with partner organisations around the world to create long-term solutions to the issues affecting women and girls’ access to education and sustainable employment. So far, we have supported over 60,000 women and girls through our programmes.
Our work with ISSI since 2015, our partner in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has fostered some incredible achievements, like that of Mamie. Mamie, a trained nurse working in Kinshasa, is a first-year student in the Master’s programme in health care administration (MAPS), the first programme training Congolese nurses and midwives to take leadership roles in hospitals or in training the next generation of midwives and nurses.
Having the opportunity to study on this programme has made a huge impact on Mamie’s life, professionally and personally: “I have been able to apply what I have learnt at the hospital where I work. I have promoted to the position of Director of Nursing, thanks to this salary, I can take care of my children properly as well as myself.”
Education as a bridge to employment
If education is to lead to sustained change, it must link into good opportunities. To this end, our partners work to ensure that education develops skills that employers are seeking and links into fair employment or business opportunities
Our partners work with industry to raise employment standards and ensure that training meets employers’ skills gaps. Women and girls are taught to recognise their value and claim their rights in the workplace.
Aminata, a student at the Yarani training facility in Abidjan, is learning how to become a leader in the hospitality industry – she dreams of “becoming an independent woman able to help and support” her family. Her training allows her to do just that, while also improving her self-confidence and enabling her to become a leader in her household and at work.
Mentoring is a key part of our projects. Quality education paired with mentoring helps women to realise their value and raise their aspirations. We recognise that women and girls around the world need strong role models to guide them and inspire them to pursue careers that break the cycle of poverty and inequality. Creating comfortable and safe spaces for women to explore their potential is fundamental to creating change, and all of our projects emphasise this.
One student at Wavcrest College in Nigeria told us: “My mentor has been wonderful to me. When I was feeling like giving up on everything, she encouraged me to try and work hard to pursue my dreams. In spite of financial difficulties, she still encourages me to keep up with my education and not to give up in the middle of my journey.”
Education must teach more than just hard skills, it must instil confidence for women to value their own potential and soft-skills. Soft skills like decision-making and negotiation equip girls with the tools they need to navigate lead in their lives. With soft-skills like leadership, women and girls are empowered to overcome their challenges, so that they can thrive in their personal and professional lives, and have agency as citizens.
This International Women’s Day, and every day, we at WONDER hope that you will join us in celebrating the power of education to change women and girls’ lives. We are always thankful for the support of our donors – if you would like to make a contribution and empower women like Hyacinthe and Aminata to become future leaders, click here.