WONDER: a year in review

2019 was a phenomenal year for WONDER!

We were able to support the education of 8,265 women and girls through 21 partner programmes in 19 countries! We welcomed two new members of staff and worked with 186 amazing volunteers.

As we approach the end of the year and enter into a new decade, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on what we have achieved and on what made this year so special. So here are our top 10 moments of 2019:

1: WONDER took vocational training to Parliament

We invited African women and thought-leaders from our partner projects to Parliament to discuss the role of vocational education in transforming women’s lives in Africa. Quality vocational education is increasingly viewed as a key solution to intergenerational poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through developing the hard and soft skills that employers are actively seeking, young people can access good jobs.

We were joined by Dr Ese Diejomaoh and Belinda Nwosu FIH from, two pioneering women leaders from Nigeria and DR Congo respectively. They gave us an incredible insight on how vocational training transforms the lives of African women. In WONDER’s partner projects, graduates of vocational training courses have high rates of employment and job satisfaction. We are proud to be leading the discussion on the importance of vocational training for women!

Vocational training is another way of saving women’s lives in Africa.

Dr Ese Diejomaoh

2: We launched a report on the importance of training nurses in DR Congo

Earlier this year, WONDER published a ground-breaking insight report on the situation of healthcare in DR Congo, providing context as to why training nurses in essential for driving change in the sector. Currently, there are just 5 nurses to every 10,000 people and even fewer doctors. The current health emergency, exacerbated by the Ebola crisis, has placed undue pressure on the DRCs already underdeveloped healthcare system.

Our work with our partner, the Institut Supérieur en Sciences Infirmières (ISSI) in the DRC, has demonstrated the importance of well-trained nurses in the DRC and the value of mentoring in ensuring their success. Read the report on this link.

3: Team WONDER visited our partners in Nigeria

Our COO Paola and Director of Policy and Campaigns Olivia visited our partner projects, Wavecrest and Orisun, in Nigeria this year! This trip had a particular focus on the issue of modern slavery and illegal migration. WONDER is constantly working to ensure that our partner projects are as up-to-date as possible on the risk their participants face and we can work to prevent such risks, protect those vulnerable as well as effectively rehabilitate survivors. Paola and Olivia spent seven days travelling across Nigeria, speaking to the incredible women leading our partner programs and meeting our wonderful project participants!

4: The 2019 WONDER Ball was a huge success

The 2019 WONDER Ball was a night of philanthropy, friendship and mentoring. Education paired with mentoring is at the centre of WONDER work. Together they provide women with both the skill-set, confidence and the resilience to adapt these skills to their own lives, families and communities.

Olivia Darby, WONDER Director of Policy, said aptly, “If education lights a fire in a girls’ world, mentoring is the fuel that allows that fire to keep burning, and to light candles for everyone around her.” Highlighting the use of mentoring in our partner projects across the world through the incredible generosity of our guests and donors we were able to double our fundraising goal to an amazing £49, 846! 

Check out the highlights from this year’s WONDER Ball:

WONDER Ball 2019

5: WONDER launched OBJECT, a project for young activists

OBJECT seeks to build upon the work of WONDER and our partners Sursum and Canfranc focusing on young women’s engagement, empower and citizenship. The launch of the project was marked by a four-day workshop on how to become an activist and make sustainable and impactful change within your community, tackling themes such as how to discuss hot-button topics in constructive ways.

OBJECT will be expanding even further in 2020. We will be launching 3 new campaigns developed by young people from the UK, Spain and Slovenia, and supported by mentors. They will be presented at the UK parliament in Spring 2020!

6: WONDER launched Red:GLOW, a leadership project for young women

Alongside seven partner projects in the UK, Spain, Slovenia, Poland, Latvia and Poland Red:GLOW aims to give young woman the tools to be a leader in her life. The highlight of launching this project was ‘Sparking Change’. On July 13th this year, WONDER and the Baytree Centre invited 100 young women and girls to discuss and learn about leadership.

The event included a panel of five incredible and inspiring women; Barbara Burton, Margot Heller, Mariah Idrissi, Leyya Sattar and Otegha Uwagba, who discussed their own experiences and stories as leaders in their lives and careers.

My main takeaway from today is just to be me, to be myself. To be more open and more creative. 

Sparking Change attendee

7: We celebrated the success and end of FATIMA Project

At the end of 2019, we are sadly saying goodbye to our EU partnership project FATIMA. A two-year long project launched in 2017, FATIMA has, however, been a monumental success. We worked with five partner charities empowering women in the UK, Poland, Slovenia and Spain! Over 40 nationalities were represented with more than 240 women, exceeding our target of reaching 210 women. The average age was 35. We worked with 78 mentors using a personalised and holistic approach to help FATIMA women integrate and engage with civil society using workshops, one-on-one language learning, cultural activities and more. Whilst we’re sad to see FATIMA go, we cannot wait to see what’s in store for 2020!

Learn more about FATIMA Project on this page.

8: WONDER started accepting cryptocurrency donations through corporate partner Electroneum

We are excited to have begun a new partnership with Electroneum this year. Electroneum has set up an ETN mining reward system for us. This means that every month we receive funds that are used to support women and girls gain access to good quality education. Cryptocurrencies are heralding a new era for charitable donations that enabling us to be even more transparent with our funding so you know exactly how your donations are being spent.

Please get in touch on engagement@wonderfoundation.org.uk  to receive WONDER’s public wallet address and all specifics you will need to make donations in this manner.

9: Director Olivia Darby published a journal article

The article grew out of a workshop at the 2018 NATECLA conference, ‘Feeling confident to learn: Creating education spaces where women feel welcome’, where ESOL teachers shared their experiences, as well as in-depth interviews conducted over 6 months with ESOL teachers and support workers at the Baytree Centre in Brixton.

It discusses the value and benefit of women only classes as a “safe space” and a welcoming environment for learners who have come from more challenging backgrounds. It draws on the FATIMA project, which aims to empower migrant women….through a personalised and holistic approach as well as sharing practical and working suggestions for creating a safe space for learners of English.

You can access the full article on this link.

10: We launched our brand new website

This year we launched our new website! The entire WONDER team has been working extremely hard to create a new website to ensure that it is easier for you to read about the amazing work of our project partners are doing, get involved, donate and support us! We hope that you are enjoying it as much as we are.

And that’s a wrap!

It has been a phenomenal year for the WONDER team and it’s all thanks to you! Along with our partners we want to say a massive thank you. We couldn’t create transformative change and empower women and girls across the world without your support and donations! We can’t wait to continue growing our WONDER community in 2020!

Corporate volunteering in London Team building

Corporate Volunteering at WONDER Foundation

WONDER Foundation hosts a variety of corporate volunteering days throughout the year, partnering with organisations and businesses that support our mission and goals.