Interview: Briony from Global Womens Project
As Sir Richard Branson stated “Business can be a force for good; if all businesses adopt a problem, with help from Government, we can get on top of most problems in the world."
With this in mind, we share with you words from our first charity partner.
Hey! What's your name and your organisation/role?
Hi GG! I’m Briony, I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of The Global Women’s Project, we’re Australia’s newest and most innovative grassroots women's development organisation.
So tell us, why The Global Women's Project?
At The Global Women’s Project we believe every woman in the world should have the opportunity to determine her own life. Right now, women around the world face horrendous discrimination and are so often denied the opportunity to build the life that they want. Women are often forced to work in the worst paid jobs, under the worst conditions. They lack educational opportunities. 700 million women alive today who were married before 18. Ninety-eight per cent of the 4.5 million people forced into sexual exploitation are women. It’s a huge problem! Though the source of these problems go deep, one thing we can do is give women the tools they need to build better lives for themselves. That includes vocational and business development skills so they can take advantage of local economic opportunities; loans so they can grow their businesses; support to grow their savings; leadership skills to build confidence and challenge perceptions around their own capabilities. We join forces with grassroots women-led organisations in developing countries, and together do whatever it takes to give women in those communities the tools to make their aspirations a reality.
What a great cause. It might be hard to narrow it down with such a rewarding role, but what's the best part of your job?
The change! The change we see makes everything worth it.
Especially unexpected stories of change. I’d love to give you an example. A while back when I was living in Nepal, a woman, let’s call her Kamala, had been experiencing horrendous physical and mental abuse at the hands of her husband. She signed up to be a member of a local Women’s Hub’s supported by The Global Women’s Project. We currently support over 1300 women like Kamala across three Women’s Hubs in rural Nepal, giving women access to business support, loans, training, legal support, counselling, as well as connection with other women. Through the Hub, Kamala took part in business training and became part of a savings circle, but more than this, she became connected to a powerful group of women. When she told these women she was being abused by her husband they told her they wouldn’t stand for it, so together, as a group, they went with her to her house and confronted her husband. They told him that what he was doing was illegal, and that if he didn’t stop the violence, he’d have to answer to the 10 of them - and the legal system! After that the violence ceased and Kamala was able to concentrate on her business. I love stories like this because it shows not only the power and resilience of women but the change that can happen when you just give women the tools and support they need!
How important do you feel are organisations like GWP are?
I think very important! We all have so much potential, don’t we? Often we just need someone to give us an opportunity - an education, a business loan, knowledge of our rights. That’s what we’re in the business of, I suppose, opportunity. Opportunities for women who wouldn’t otherwise have them, who then provide opportunities for their families and community, creating a flow-on effect. On the flip side I think it’s also really important for donors to know that their hard-earned dollars are being spent well, that they’re being spent where they’re really needed. Our community has really gotten around us because we do provide that accountability. As an example, during the earthquakes back in 2015 we reported in real time through our socials exactly how and where we and our partners were providing relief. We raised and distributed close to a quarter of a million during that period. I think it’s important organisations are agile and responsive enough to be able to do that. They owe that to their supporters. We really try to honour our supporters as well as, of course, the women we work with.
We love a bit of humour. What's been your funniest moment from a time with GWP?
Once when I was living in Nepal, I was on a community visit to one of the Women’s Hubs we support with the President of our partner organisation, an absolutely astounding Nepali woman, Renu. Never, ever in my life have I met someone as funny, compassionate, humble, wise and selfless as Renu. She founded the Women’s Foundation Nepal in 1988 when she was just 15 and she is still running the show. She’s given up everything for the women she works with. It’s really such a privilege to work alongside her. But, I digress! So I was on this community visit with Renu, and we were staying in this really dodgy hotel in Eastern Nepal. After changing rooms a few times, we ended up sharing a bed. At 4am I woke up for some reason - perhaps some dogs barking outside, or the drip of a tap? I turned over and saw Renu sitting bolt upright in bed, meditating. In the morning, when I mentioned it, she said she couldn’t sleep and she’d been meditating from 2am until 6am when we got up. I had to laugh (after hugging her fiercely!) because it was such a perfect representation of her, the most formidable woman, the most pure expression of love in human form, and also utterly hilarious.
The change you would love to see in the world.
I want to see a world where every woman has the tools she needs to build a better life for herself and her family. A world where women are just as well educated, earn the same, are equally represented from the halls of power down to the local community. A world where young girls not only have role models to aspire to, but have no obstacles preventing them emulating them. A world where women are not the victims of greater poverty, but live as long, and as healthily, as their communities. A world where women with great ideas can make them a reality. Where their dreams can come true if they work hard enough. A world where women marry when they want, to whom they want, and are not economically dependent. A world where having a gorgeous child is not a major health risk. A world where women can truly determine their own lives!!
Fav way to have GG?
I’m a recent convert to the Chili GG with Apple Cider Vinegar and warm water, as a shot, first thing in the morning! Zing!!!
FUN FACT! Did you know a percentage of every Golden Grind bag sold goes to the Global Women's Project. So you can feel good about buying too.
If you're a business and also want to get involved in giving back and donating to the GWP, click here!