2022 AWIU Grants to Non-Profits

Central to AWIU’s mission is our commitment to strengthening the work of women across the world through grants. Early on, AWIU issued grants for individual women to travel to the United States for study. In the past number years, grants have been issued to organizations which enhance the wellbeing of women within a developing country. “We encourage grants for concrete projects, those with a beginning, middle and end, and with specific goals clearly defined,” says Marsha Niazmand, co-chair of the Grants Committee. Stelle Feuers, her co-chair, added, “The grants traditionally serve poorly educated, marginalized women and girls who would benefit from a project designed to meet their needs now and into the future.”

This year’s 14 grants were approved by the AWIU Board of Directors in May, 2022, drawing from a budget of $30,000. Of the group, six are returning organizations that have received previous grants from AWIU. Africa is home to 12 of these organizations. Two other grants were awarded to organizations in the Caribbean and India. Four of the grants were issued to organizations in countries that have not previously received an AWIU grant:  Burundi, Guinea, Haiti and Sierra Leone.

Thanks to the Grants Committee for their hard work: Janice Colon, Stelle Feuers, Mary Pat Garr, Meg Huebner, Judith Jakaitis, Sharon Kolby, Linda Kukler, Marsha Niazmand, Eunice Reddick, Laura Schuldt


2022 Grant Recipients



Femmes En Action, F.E.A. (or Women in Action)

Hairdressing equipment and related training for unemployed women


Young Dynamic Youths (CYDY)

Maternal and child health education for internally displaced single adolescents and pregnant women


The Prince and Princess Academy

Building materials for three additional elementary school classrooms


Women Force Organization

Sewing machines and training for female bread-winners to embark on fashion careers

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast Mothers and Children Clinic

Nutritional support for children enrolled at the local village school and the completion of a vaccination room at the health center


Rwanda Children

Nutrition and hygiene training and gardening program for women and children

Sierra Leone

The Needy Today

Computers for an ICT Center where impoverished women and girls learn digital literacy skills


Women Arises Association

Guaranteed clean water via a new water tank for the Bwatale Community Hospital, which serves a six-village community


Divine Action (DARUDEFO)

Training women in the low-cost and environmentally friendly production of smokeless briquettes as an alternative to charcoal and wood fuel



Training, machines and supplies for teen mothers to learn tailoring skills



Training in the use of sewing and other machines to generate income from the fabrication of garments, sanitary pads, and shoes


Alpha Women

Raising pigs for food security

The Caribbean


Second Mile

Pre-natal and maternal care materials, medications, and midwives for delivery and post-delivery care    


HOPE (Human Organization for People’s Enlightenment)

Bamboo handicraft training and tools to help women start a sustainable business

An AWIU Conversation with Dr. Rita Nyampinga


International Woman of Courage Dr. Rita Nyampinga has been busy since returning to Harare, Zimbabwe from her stateside visit in 2020 to collect her IWOC award. On June 18th, she shared what she’s been doing with women recently released from prison in a Conversation with AWIU members and friends.


Known for her advocacy on behalf of female prisoners, Dr. Rita is the recipient of two awards for her activism: “Female Human Rights Activist of the Year” by Alpha Media House in 2014, and two years ago, the International Women of Courage award. She is currently the Social and Economic Justice Ambassador for Zimbabwe’s Coalition on Debt and Development.

Dr. Rita explained that she is using the IWOC grant she received from AWIU to fund a mushroom farming project for 15 former female prisoners. For the 35-year activist, it’s all about providing these women with the capability to control their own lives through economic empowerment. Says Dr. Rita, “Without money, someone else controls your life for you.”

It was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she visited a women’s prison, that Dr. Rita dreamed up her program of economic empowerment. “In Zimbabwe, when women come out of prison, they are ostracized by their families and friends,” she explained. “Many of these women were imprisoned for public demonstration, which you cannot do without police clearance.” Having been imprisoned herself, Dr. Rita was well-acquainted with the prison system and the aftermath of rejection and despair when she came out.

In the 18 months since the start of the mushroom cultivation project, 15 women have reintegrated into their communities via mushrooming and gardening. “I provided the equipment they needed, engaged a trainer, and got them started,” she said. They work in groups of five, and have received business training to learn accountability for the funds they raise from selling mushrooms.

The women also receive psycho-social counseling, a critical service in Dr. Rita’s eyes. “Our process is about reintegration, rehabilitation, reconciliation, and restoration,” she said. “Restoration occurs when the women work and generate income. Once this happens, they are accepted by their families and communities.”

A success story close to Dr. Rita’s heart: “One of these women started growing tomatoes. She has built a house and sent eight children to school on the proceeds. She is head of her family and an accepted member of the community now.”

It is with great sadness that AWIU reports the recent news of the death of Stephen Marwa, a wonderful man many of you knew through his work as executive director of Hope Revival Children’s Organization in Tanzania. AWIU supported the compelling work Stephen was doing in the Musoma and Mara communities of Tanzania with six grants over a period of four years, from 2017 to 2021, all of which had a discernable and most positive effect on the women and children he worked with. AWIU members past and present who worked with him had this to say:

“Stephen was an incredibly gentle soul. He was passionate beyond words and gave everything he had to those around him, his spirit will live on in all through his life-changing work and all of the hearts he has touched, including mine.”
– Sophie McNally, Passport, who interviewed Stephen in February 2022

“Stephen was an extraordinary guy, always brimming over with plans to expand the impact of Hope Revival. His last big dream was to create a training center, spacious and equipped enough to accommodate the many training projects he developed since starting from scratch in 2014. His energy, warmth and hope were infectious – I always came away from talking with him with an upbeat, hopeful feeling. I know that in spite of losing his physical presence, he will continue to be an ongoing source of inspiration and love for his entire community.”
– Barbara Rubio

“My heart breaks for the loss of Stephen Marwa. For the past six years, Stephen has been my constant collaborator, but so much more. Over time, his vision for the women and girls of Tanzania, his dreams and work have somehow permeated my own. Despite the daunting challenges in communities and villages around the world, there are inherent assets and strengths that can be cultivated and nurtured. Stephen has shown us that empowerment is more than a concept or an idea.”
– Mara Huber, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential
Learning at the University at Buffalo, former AWIU member and current
partner of HRCO.

Case study: More Than Just a Grant

Fifty-eight percent of residents in Kalikot, Nepal, live in deep poverty. Seventy-four percent of its girls are married by the age of 19 and largely uneducated. Against this bleak backdrop, Modern Model Residential School offers a better future to the area’s children through innovative use of technology and modern teaching methods. Inspired by its mission, AWIU has covered tuition and housing for several orphan girls, amplified by additional direct donations by AWIU members and regular communication with the school’s founder. AWIU Passports, who are mentored by our members with experience in teaching, now read to the Nepalese girls weekly by Zoom and help them to learn English.

The mutual benefits of this ever-deepening relationship span not only AWIU’s various programs but also the globe: by providing extra, hands-on (if virtual) assistance, and being in touch with our grant recipients to track progress and impact, we leverage AWIU grant dollars. The next generation of women leaders are educated and empowered on both sides of the screen; members are inspired by mentoring. Throughout this process, international understanding through personal connection is both the conduit and the glue that holds us all together in a shared vision.