March 15, 2023 – The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) and the L’Oréal Fund for Women are excited to announce the renewal of their partnership for 2023. The main goal of the partnership is to strengthen the efforts of WPDI to foster the resilience of underprivileged women through an entrepreneurship and business incubation program, as well as another program for educational scholarships. The renewal includes the continuation of an existing program in Uganda and South Africa, as well as a new Mexico program in partnership with the UNHCR.
The partnership will focus on three main areas, one for each country involved. In South Africa, the L’Oréal Fund for Women will, for the second year running, be supporting the WPDI’s Women Livelihood Program in the Cape Flats area that was successfully piloted in 2022, including the graduation of 750 women from marginalized communities and the creation of 42 businesses. Sylviane Balustre-d’Erneville, Director of the L’Oréal Fund for Women, said, at the graduation ceremony crowning the first edition of this new program, that “Giving women in vulnerability the opportunity to learn, to grow and to gain autonomy is a priority to support them to overcome the difficulties they face and build a better future for themselves and their communities.” WPDI is aiming to train another 750 women in 2023, and support 42 new businesses.
In Uganda, the partnership will be focusing on WPDI’s scholarship program that helps young girls in the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement and underprivileged communities in the Karamoja Sub-Region gain access to education. The L’Oréal Fund for Women joined WPDI in this venture last year, an initiative that WPDI has been running since 2018. In 2023, the aim is to support 240 young girls through their educational journey and encourage academic excellence, providing them with more opportunities for future success, employment and economic stability. “I am very excited about the WPDI scholarship program because it has improved the enrolment of girls, especially in Advance level classes. This year, we have registered more girls compared to last year,” remarked Mr. Lagu Yasiri, the headteacher of Panyadoli Self Help Secondary School.
The 2023 initiative was just recently launched in Uganda, receiving a warm welcome from local authorities and stakeholders. “I am impressed with the work done by WPDI, and as a district in 2022, we recognized and awarded WPDI a certificate for the tremendous service to the people of Napak and Karamoja. As a region, we welcome the scholarship project that will benefit vulnerable girls to access secondary education. We pray that the donor extends for four years such that the successful girls don’t drop out of school along the way,” said John Paul Kodet, District Chairperson of Napak District, Karamoja Sub-Region
In Mexico, the L’Oréal Fund for Women will support the participation of WPDI in a partnership with UNHCR in 2022 aimed at providing refugee women with business skills and opportunities for creating income-generating projects. In 2023, WPDI aims to train 50 women and help them launch 10 businesses, contributing to the establishment of an enabling environment for economic development and financial stability.
WPDI will be providing regular updates on the initiative throughout 2023 on our social media and website.
WPDI would like to thank the L’Oréal Fund for Women for their trust in our program and their commitment to our partnership. We look forward to the success and impact of this initiative on women’s lives in the countries in question.
About The L’Oréal Fund for Women
L’Oréal, historically committed to supporting women, launched in 2020 the L’Oréal Fund for Women, a three-year charitable endowment fund of 50 million euros to support grassroots associations and organizations in their efforts to help women to get out of poverty and prevent domestic/sexual violence against women and support survivors. Particular attention is paid to projects aiming at helping women with multiple vulnerabilities, especially refugee women and women with disabilities.
Beyond emergency aid, the L’Oréal Fund for Women focuses on supporting women and girls’ empowerment, particularly by supporting projects in favor of social and professional integration and overcoming obstacles to access to education.
About The Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative
WPDI is a non-governmental organization with an international scope and reach, founded in 2012 by artist and social activist and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace, Forest Whitaker with the aim of promoting peace, gender equality, sustainability and resilience in countries and places affected by violence, poverty and marginalization. In the geographical areas where we work in Africa, Latin America, Europe and the United States, WPDI has developed an array of programs aimed at training and supporting underprivileged individuals and groups, youths and women in priority, so they can be empowered as mediators, educators, entrepreneurs and leaders. Through so doing, WPDI seeks to bring good men and women together and mobilize them to drive positive transformation in their communities and beyond.