Washington — The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ford Foundation, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS) are announcing a Global Development Alliance (GDA), in partnership with CARE USA, to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide.
Through the new partnership, Women and Girls Lead Global, USAID, the Ford Foundation and ITVS will produce documentary films about extraordinary women and girls rising above dire circumstances to create better lives for themselves, their families and communities. The alliance will work with CARE and local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to widely disseminate the films and incorporate them into existing development work in health, education, gender-based violence, economic opportunity and leadership.
The Women and Girls Lead model connects the transformative power of storytelling and mass media to country-by-country efforts to improve lives and help women and girls realize their full potential, USAID said June 18.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Ford Foundation and ITVS, two innovative leaders in using media for development outcomes,” said Maura O'Neill, USAID chief innovation officer. “Working in partnership with CARE, together this alliance will put the full power of 21st-century media behind championing women and girls worldwide.”
The GDA builds on existing work by the four partners in media and development, connecting the mass media work and innovation of the Ford Foundation and ITVS directly to USAID’s strategic investments in empowering women and girls and to CARE’s on-the-ground development experience. The GDA model is creating a multicountry mass media project with targeted engagement at a fraction of the usual cost, according to USAID.
"Freedom of expression and powerful storytelling are both cornerstones of the Ford Foundation's efforts to promote gender equality and social justice,” said Orlando Bagwell, director of the foundation’s JustFilms Initiative. “Women and Girls Lead Global will drive real change — amplifying the voices of women and girls through captivating stories while offering media makers unique new ways to connect with the people working on the front lines of these pressing issues."
“Through our successful work domestically with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS here at home, we know that inspiring stories and smart engagement can lift up women and girls,” said Sally Fifer, CEO and president of ITVS. “Now the international expertise of the Ford Foundation and USAID, along with CARE, will help us build an international model that supports gender-focused NGOs with powerful media tools and platforms.”