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Global Fund For Women Receives Grant From The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation To Improve Women's Health In Developing Countries

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Alicia Swanson
e-Merge Communications
Phone: 408.264.3690

Theresa Hwang
Global Fund for Women
Phone: 415.202.7640 x 332

SEATTLE and SAN FRANCISCO -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today a $1 million grant to the Global Fund for Women, a grantmaking foundation that will provide smaller, strategic grants to women's groups striving to transform their communities by improving access to quality health care, education and economic opportunity for women.

The challenges facing women in communities, cultures, religions, traditions, and countries include inequalities in social, economic and political status.  These inequalities have a devastating impact on women's well-being.  For example, sexually transmitted diseases afflict five times as many women as men worldwide. In Africa, many women lack access to quality care during pregnancy, delivery and following childbirth.  And in parts of the continent, adolescent girls are six times more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS than boys. 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant will help to further the work of the Global Fund for Women, including funding organizations such as Women Fighting AIDS in Kenya (WOFAK).  As the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues to spread, more and more families carry the burden of caring for family members with HIV/AIDS. WOFAK organizes home-based care teams of nurses, caregivers and counselors to help women caring for family members with HIV/AIDS.

"Women play a critical role in the life and vitality of every society, yet they increasingly are the most vulnerable in terms of disease and health inequities," said Dr. Gordon Perkin, Director of Reproductive and Child Health for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  "Positive change for women in developing countries happens locally, where grassroots organizations educate and train the local community.  The Global Fund for Women works closely with and supports local groups that are best able to reach and help women around the world." 

"Access to basic healthcare and education is the foundation for building strong and self-sufficient societies," said Kavita N. Ramdas, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women.  "The Global Fund for Women actively supports initiatives that expand women's choices in these areas, and we believe that implementation of these programs is best done by the women themselves who know how to assess their needs and develop solutions that will be successful."

The Global Fund for Women is a nonprofit grantmaking foundation that supports women's rights organizations in every part of the world. It is the largest grantmaking foundation in the world that focuses exclusively on international women's rights. The Global Fund for Women envisions a just and democratic world where women and men participate equally in all aspects of society. Since 1987, the Global Fund has given $24.5 million to seed, strengthen and link over 2,000 groups in 160 countries.

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