How We Help
Advocacy is the expression of support for or opposition to a cause, argument or proposal. Advocacy may include influencing laws, legislation or attitudes.
Zonta advocacy is an action taken in "the public interest" or "for the greater good" with respect to advancing the status of women and girls and their human rights.
Zonta advocacy serves as a bridge between the local and the global which entails:
- increasing local understanding and engagement on global issues,
- highlighting the ways in which local issues reflect global dynamics,
- supporting and sharing grassroots perspectives in global forums, and
- informing local activists about global policies and events affecting countries and local communities.
To learn more about our club's advocacy actions and how you can help, go to our How You Can Help page.
We help empowering women through service programs and advocacy. Making a difference by helping women in our local communities is a mantra of the DC Zontians. We put those words to action by providing financial support to several organizations throughout the year. These organizations offer the basic necessities for women in transition, help to build self-esteem in young girls, and raise awareness of the plight of women internationally.
The Kakenya Center of Excellence was founded ten years ago by Kakenya Ntaiya who, after earning a Ph.D. in education at the University of Pittsburgh, returned to her native Kenya to establish a girls' boarding school. The Center for Excellence runs schools and various other programs, including health and leadership training for girls and boys at local schools in Kenya.
In July 2010, we invited Kakenya, then the first youth advisor of the United Nations Population Fund, to speak at our monthly dinner meeting about the importance of educating girls. Kakenya told club members of the Center's need for more living quarters in order to educate more young girls. In response, club members approved a donation to help build a dormitory for the students. We continue our support by donating funds annually to help cover school expenses. Kakenya has spoken at our club dinner meetings several times, most recently in June 2018.
In July 2015 United States President Barack Obama met Linet Momposhi, a young woman in Nairobi, Kenya, who spoke of how her education at the Kakenya Center of Excellence changed her life. Read more See video
The Advocacy Project helps marginalized communities tell their stories, strengthen their organizations, take action, and mobilize new support. It recruits graduate students to volunteer as Peace Fellows with partner organizations. In recent years the organization has used traditional needlecraft projects, such as quilts, knit work, and weavings, to draw attention to human rights abuses.
Since 2007, the DC Zontians have supported Peace Fellows working on women's issues by following their blogs and advancing their causes abroad. In 2011 we supported its efforts to raise awareness on the issue of uterine prolapse in Nepal by coordinating the creation of a quilt with panels made by Nepalese women. The Mahilako Swastha (Women's Health) Quilts have been exhibited at the United Nations and in Washington, D.C. Annually, we donate funds to support programs that improve the status of women in developing countries.
Calvary Women's Services offers housing, health, employment and education programs that empower homeless women in Washington, DC to change their lives. It's mission is to offer a safe, caring place for tonight; support, hope and change for tomorrow. Calvary is the largest provider of women's housing programs east of the Anacostia River, and also offers a variety of other programs, ranging from job training to addiction recovery. In 2015, we started a relationship with this organization in donating funds to support its programs in offering a safe place to sleep, healthy meals, and basic services to ensure women are able to take positive steps towards independence.
As Marika Klein, a program associate with GDCDB, observed, "Half the world's population deals with menstruation for years of their life; we believe that everyone deserves to be clean, comfortable, and confident every day of every month." Last year the DC Zontians adopted a hands-on project collecting feminine hygiene products at club meetings to be donated to the GDCDB's "The Monthly Program". We also spent money to purchase additional products. This year, in addition to continuing to collect feminine hygiene products at monthly meetings as an informal project, we are expanding our support through direct funding for "The Monthly Program".
Some years ago we supported My Sister's Place, a domestic violence shelter in Washington founded in 1979. MSP provides emergency shelter and transitional housing to women survivors of domestic violence and their children. It also offers case management and counseling services, a batterer intervention program, and outreach and education on issues of domestic abuse. We are pleased to renew our association with My Sister's Place by providing funding for its ongoing programs.
Each year, the Club donates a portion of the local contributions it receives to the Zonta Foundation For Women Amelia Earhart Fellowship Program. This Program was established by Zonta International in 1938 in honor of Amelia Earhart, who had been a member of the Zonta Clubs of Boston and New York. Every year the program awards up to 35 fellowships of $10,000 each to women from all over the world who are pursuing a Ph.D. in aerospace-applied sciences and aerospace-applied engineering. Fellows have gone on to become astronauts, aerospace engineers, astronomers, professors, geologists, business owners, heads of companies, even Secretary of the US Air Force. At least four former club members are past Amelia Earhart Fellows. Click here to see some highlights from the last eight decades.