WomenChangeMakers Promises to Support Growth of Innovative Women-Centered Social Entrepreneurs at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

Sep 22, 2011, 10:00 ET from WomenChangeMakers

NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- At this year's Clinton Global Initiative's Annual Meeting (www.clintonglobalinitiative.org) WomenChangeMakers (www.womenchangemakers.org) committed to establish a global professional platform to support 8 to 12 established social entrepreneurs working in the field of women's empowerment, as well as their leadership teams and their organizations for the development of their activities over the next three years.

The program was already launched in Brazil in August 2011 with the selection of two WomenChangeMakers' Fellows and will soon start in India with two more Fellows to be selected. The ultimate aim is to create an ecosystem of professional support and social action that enables WomenChangeMakers' Fellows to significantly increase the impact of their transformative project in the field of women's empowerment.

The platform's professionals – composed of experts from Accenture (www.accenture.com), Egon Zehnder International (www.egonzehnder.com), Booz & Co. (www.booz.com), Lex Mundi Pro Bono (www.lexmundiprobono.org), Thomson Reuter's Foundation TrustLaw (www.trustlaw.org), and others - will work with the social entrepreneurs and their senior staff to strengthen their organization's leadership and workforce, organizational sustainability and operational integrity.

A range of highly reputed organizations, such as Ashoka (www.ashoka.org), Vital Voices (www.vitalvoices.org), UN Women (www.unwomen.org) and others are assisting WomenChangeMakers in the selection of new Fellows.

"We are convinced that a professional cooperation between social, corporate, and public partners can drive social progress for girls and women in a very powerful way," says Yann Borgstedt, president and founder of WomenChangeMakers. "We estimate the value of our commitment to be close to USD $2 million, mainly calculated on the value of professional services provided by top experts to help WomenChangeMakers' Fellows grow their organisation. Because of the systemic impact of the work carried out by our Fellows, we believe their work can potentially impact millions of people in their country and beyond."

The first two WomenChangeMakers' Fellows are outstanding social entrepreneurs who have achieved deep-seating social and economic transformations for women in their community and in the Brazilian society as a whole.

Guacira Cesar de Oliveira, Founder and Executive Director of the Centro Feminista de Estudos y Assessoria (CFEMEA, Brasilia), plays an important role in designing and guaranteeing women's rights in Brazil. She works to secure social justice by teaching women's organizations how to monitor public expenditures, ensuring that dedicated resources are used to address women's priorities. In reinforcing the women's movement's dialogue with the public authorities, she strengthens the incidence of feminist policy on public policies and expenditures. Through CFEMEA, Guacira has started the Feminist Free University, a virtual research and teaching platform dedicated to women's studies. She has driven the passing of several laws, including the right to family planning, in 1994, the result of an intense process of advocacy and mobilization for reproductive rights; and the ground-breaking "Maria da Penha Law" (2006), for the prevention of domestic violence, which began with the presentation of a bill formulated by a group of feminist organizations, coordinated by CFEMEA. WomenChangeMakers and its program partners aim to help her expand her reach across Brazil and develop a stronger revenue stream through CFEMEA's services, which include research, consultancies, and the publication of specialized literature. As a further potential development, her model of independent and influential lobbying activities can be conceptualized for replication in other countries. (See www.cfemea.org.br)

Alice Freitas is the Founder and CEO of Asta (Rio de Janeiro). Asta contributes to social equality and economic development in Brazil by strengthening women's productive enterprises at the bottom of the pyramid through access to markets, know-how, and the creation of networks. Asta has set up a direct sales force to help 600 informal artisans overcome the challenges of large-scale distribution. By equipping a network of 650-700 well-trained amateur sales' agents with an intimate understanding of the personal histories and social impact behind the products, Asta provides a direct communication channel between producers and consumers. WomenChangeMakers and its program partners will assist Alice and her organisation in her plan to increase the number of artisans that it can support from 600 to 1,400 (organized in 85 cooperatives) and its sales forces to 1,000; to extend Asta's reach throughout Brazil; and to conceptualize a model that can be replicated in other contexts. (See www.redeasta.com.br ).

About WomenChangeMakers:
WomenChangeMakers believes that by empowering women and enhancing their socio-economic participation to society, lasting progress can be achieved for all. WomenChangeMakers is a program of the Smiling Children Foundation, a private non-profit organization registered in Switzerland and in the UK. For more information visit: www.womenchangemakers.org and www.smilingchildren.org

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 20-22 in New York City.

This year, CGI also convened CGI America, a meeting focused on developing ideas for driving economic growth in the United States. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

SOURCE WomenChangeMakers