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IWD 2021: Google to Empower African Women, Girls with $25 Million Grant

IWD 2021: Google to Empower African Women, Girls with $25 Million Grant

Google on Monday announced that it had earmarked $25m grant funding for its new global impact challenge (GIC) for women and girls in Africa.

Juliet Ehimuan, country director, Google Nigeria, said at a virtual event to mark International Women’s Day (IWD) that Google was also reinforcing its commitment to the empowerment of women and girls on the continent.

She said building on their previous work in gender equity, with grantees like the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Laboratoria and GiveDirectly, Google also was seeking applications from organisations in Africa and around the world.

Ehimuan said that the GIC for Women and Girls, which would provide $25 million in overall cash grants to nonprofits and social enterprises, follows initiatives such as the 2019 Africa launch of Women Will, Google’s initiative to create opportunities for women, and Google’s #IamRemarkable workshop series.

‘’Grantees, who will be announced later this year, are eligible to receive funding ranging from $300,000 to $2 million, selected organisations will also receive capacity building support and mentoring from Googlers,’’ she said.

The country director said over the past five years, Google had given over $55 million in cash grants to non-profit organisations that support gender equity and access to opportunity for women and girls around the world.

She said that empowering women and girls in Africa to reach their full economic potential and to thrive, was more critical now than ever, as they bear the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Quoting the Foresight Africa report 2021, Ehimuan said it confirmed that the coronavirus has “exacerbated already-existing gender inequalities, laying bare serious fault lines in safety, physical and mental health, education, domestic responsibilities, and employment opportunities”.

She said that despite decades of work aimed at achieving gender equality, the disparity between men and women not only remains, but it is also growing alarmingly, thanks largely to the global pandemic, the report warned.

According to her, the GIC for women and girls was focused on changing the status quo, that job cuts, income losses and lack of education, were not simply side-effects of the pandemic, but would negatively impact the economic strides made by women and girls for many years to come.

“As economies and societies rebuild, we need bold new ideas that will propel us forward. We cannot afford to go back to the way things were, and we certainly can’t do it alone.”

The country director added that we have a collective responsibility to ensure that generations of women and girls from all walks of life, no matter their race, sexual orientation, religion or socioeconomic status, live in a world where they are treated equally and can realise their full potentials.

She said,  when women and girls have the tools, resources and opportunities to turn their potential into power, this not only changes the trajectory of their individual lives but also strengthens entire communities.

“If we lift up women and girls, the rest of the world will rise, too,” Ehimuan said.

She said organisations have until Friday, April 2, 2021, at 11:59 pm to submit their applications at g.co/womenandgirlschallenge.

An all-female panel of expert Google executives and world/business leaders, including Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women; Victoria Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on SDGs, among others, would preside over the application review and selection process once application closes, Ehimuan said

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