I just joined a group called “Dining for Women,” thanks to my Peace Corps friend, Mary Broude. A new chapter was started in Orange County by Elizabeth Boretz, and the concept is: We get together, dine in, catch up with friends, expand our knowledge of the world, and donate to projects that reduce poverty and promote gender equity.
What exactly is Dining for Women?
Dining for Women is a global giving circle dedicated to transforming lives and eradicating poverty among women and girls in the developing world. Through member education and engagement, as well as the power of collective giving, Dining for Women funds grassroots organizations that empower women and girls and promote gender equity.
My first meeting was last week at Mary’s house and the concept is that members give what they can–usually what they would have spent for a dinner out–towards a grassroots project.
What is an Example of a Dining for Women Featured Project?
In July the featured project was to help the mission of Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP) with eliminating Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Tharaka-Nithi County region of Kenya where (WGEP) works. In that region, 71% of women aged 15-49, have undergone some form of FGM/Cutting. This can cause severe physical as well as psychological effects and this is intensified in rural areas such as Tharaka-Nithi County where local individuals, rather than medical professionals, carry out the procedure in non-sterile settings.
Research shows that girls who undergo genital cutting are more likely to drop out of school since they are considered ready for marriage, typically between ages 9-12. Although Kenya’s 2010 Constitution and 2001 Children’s Act outlawed activities such as FGM/C and early marriage, the practice continues. (WGEP) believes that education, gender equality, and empowerment of women are critical to a society’s development. It’s mission is to provide access to education and develop training programs that empower women and girls to build healthy and productive communities.
How Does Dining for women Work?
One host invites members and other women who would like to learn about the organization and share a meal together. Members learn about that month’s featured grantees through videos, educational documents and presentations, and discuss the project. Funds raised each month go to fund the featured and sustained grantees, as well as support the entire mission of Dining for Women.
Some members such as the long-time established Vienna/Fairfax Chapter (photo of group above) prepare recipes based on the country being featured. For example this July, the host prepared a Kenyan meal. The Fairfax group has 60 women on its roster. Anywhere from 12 – 30 attend the monthly meetings held in members’ homes. They start with socializing, then watch the video from the featured grantee and discuss the project. Afterwards, they enjoy dinner together, often focused on dishes from the grantee’s country.
Would you like to attend a Dining for Women dinner?
If you live in Orange County, and would like to attend a “Dining For Women” event, please e-mail me at: SoniaM@HoldenSafaris.com