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General Assembly AGM

29 July 2020

    Het finale WWL rapport van de president’s appeal van Mariet Verhoef.

    Dear Soroptimists

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    It is an honour and pleasure to be able to join you all at this virtual General Annual Meeting of Soroptimist International.

    Since the beginning of this year one of my focal points was to finish the final impact report of the SI President’s Appeal. As you all know the SI President's Appeal supports women and girls who face barriers to accessing education and services. My objective was to be able to present the final impact report to you at this meeting.


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    The SI President’s Appeal 2017-2019 ‘Women, Water & Leadership’ responds to one of today’s top five global risks: Water scarcity (according the World Economic Forum). With specific attention to Sustainable Development Goal SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG5: Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, and SDG 6: Water for all, for all purposes - our SI projects in Kenya, Bulgaria, Indonesia and Malaysia generate improved access to water, though their impact goes much further. By working with women in their communities, many of which have suffered from the effects of climate change, water scarcity and lack of food security, we educate and empower these women and girls, thus positioning them as innovators and decision-makers. This approach ensures that these women have the opportunities to stand as key providers and drivers of their own water, food and economic solutions. Project results were also achieved within SDG 1- End poverty in all its forms; SDG 2 – Zero Hunger, targeting food security and improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture; and SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. My SI President’s Appeal supports implementing all SDGs and our SI mission to Educate, Empower and Enable.

    Today, with the COVID-19 crisis, water is becoming even more relevant, as people need to wash their hands regularly to avoid contamination and the spread of this disease. What if there is no water, what if there is no soap, what if there is no safe place to fetch water, what if the water is not clean?

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    I am very proud of the active involvement of so many Soroptimists from the five federations to design, implement and monitor the Presidents Appeal projects. Without the huge commitment of the Soroptimists, the results would never have been achieved; did you know that in the projects in Kenya, Bulgaria, Malaysia and Indonesia - around 8,700 people were reached of whom the major part is women, next to around 7,000 pupils of schools mainly in Kenya. All these people gained access to water and sanitation, or improved their food security, or gained an income, attended awareness raising capacity development events, or participated in vocational training programmes and most importantly were empowered to break through the circle of poverty.

    I am not only proud about the results achieved, but also how both the Soroptimists engaged in the projects as well as the participants of the projects dealt with challenges. In all projects unexpected challenges had to be faced, more than we had ever foreseen. Along the road all problems were solved through the persistence and creativity of the people involved. Crises were turned into opportunities and many lessons were learned.

    The Final Impact report on the 4 projects of the appeal; Women, Water Leadership is amazing and worth reading – it is an advocacy document for all to use and later this year we’ll finish a flipbook on Women Water Leadership. The projects touched deserving members of communities, Educated and Empowered many, promoted women leaders, trained and empowered Soroptimists in areas they never imagined.

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    It is touching and fulfilling to have achieved so much in such a short time with limited resources. A major advantage of Women, Water, Leadership is that most of the work was managed and/or monitored by Soroptimists. Their enthusiasm, commitment, drive AND EXPERTISE, have made this SI President’s Appeal the most wonderful experience with an impact for all to see. Therefore, I would like to congratulate and thank all Soroptimists who managed; collected funding; wrote reports; monitored; implemented; supported; and promoted this SI appeal.  

    SI will publish the WWL final report on the SI website and the content can be used by all Soroptimists as this Appeal is from Soroptimists, for Soroptimists, by Soroptimists and I am proud to be part of the implementers and I look forward to following the progress of all four projects as they continue to thrive and are still going forward.


    Open report