From the appendix to Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky, a list of groups that specialize in supporting women in developing countries:
“This list is not a rating, screening or exhaustive list; it is a quirky compendium of groups both small and large that we’ve seen in action. Consider it a starting point for further research. Two useful websites to consult for more information about aid groups are Charity Navigator and Givewell.”
Afghan Institute of Learning operates schools and other programs for women and girls in Afghanistan and in the border areas of Pakistan.
American Assistance for Cambodia has fought trafficking and now has a program to subsidize poor girls so that they remain in school.
Apne Aap battles sex slavery in India, including in remote areas in Bihar that get little attention. Apne Aap welcomes American volunteers.
Ashoka is an organization that identifies and invests in social entrepreneurs around the world, many of them women.
Averting Maternal Death and Disability is a leading organization focused on maternal health.
BRAC is a terrific Bangladesh-based aid group that is now expanding in Africa and Asia. It has an office in New York City and accepts interns.
Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED) supports schooling for girls in Africa.
CARE increasingly has focused on women and girls.
Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) works on issues related to women and development.
ECPAT is a network of groups fighting child prostitution, particularly in Southeast Asia.
Edna Adan Maternity Hospital provides maternity care in Somaliland. It welcomes volunteers
Engender Health focuses on reproductive health issues in the developing world.
Equality Now lobbies against the sex trade and gender oppression around the world.
Family Care International works to improve maternal health, primarily in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Fistula Foundation supports the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, established by Reg and Catherine Hamlin.
Global Fund for Women operates like a venture capital fund for women’s groups in poor countries.
Global Grassroots is a young organization focused on women in poor countries, particularly Sudan.
Grameen Bank pioneered microfinance in Bangladesh and has now branched into an array of development programs.
Heal Africa runs a hospital in Goma, Congo, that repairs fistulas and tends to rape victims. It welcomes volunteers.
Hunger Project focuses on empowerment of women and girls to end hunger.
International Center for Research on Women emphasizes gender as the key to economic development.
International Justice Mission is a Christian-based organization that fights sex trafficking.
International Women’s Health Coalition based in New York, has been a leader in the struggle for reproductive health rights around the globe.
Marie Stopes International based in the U.K., focuses on reproductive health care around the world.
New Light is Urmi Basu’s organization to help prostitutes and their children in Kolkata, India. It welcomes volunteers.
Pathfinder International supports reproductive health in more than 25 countries.
Pennies for Peace run by Greg Mortenson (author of Three Cups of Tea), provides education in Pakistan and Afghanistan, for girls in particular.
Population Services International is based in Washington, D.C., and makes fine use of the private sector in reproductive health.
Pro Mujer supports women in Latin America through microfinance and business training.
Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is a huge union for poor, self-employed women in India. It accepts volunteers.
Shared Hope International fights sex trafficking around the world.
Somaly Mam Foundation, led by a woman who as a child was trafficked herself, fights sex slavery in Cambodia.
Tostan is one of the most successful organizations in overcoming female genital cutting in Africa. It accepts interns.
Vital Voices supports women’s rights in many countries and has been particularly active in fighting trafficking.
White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood campaigns against maternal mortality around the world.
Women for Women International connects women sponsors with needy women in conflict or postconflict countries.
Women’s Campaign International is dedicated to increasing the participation of women in political and democratic processes worldwide.
Women’s Dignity Project, cofounded by an American woman, facilitates the repair of obstetric fistulas in Tanzania.
Women’s Learning Partnership emphasizes women’s leadership and empowerment in the developing world.
Women’s Refugee Commission is linked to the International Rescue Committee and focuses on refugee women and children.
Women’s World Banking supports microfinance institutions around the world that assist women.
Women Thrive Worldwide is an international advocacy group focused on the needs of women in poor countries.
In addition, there are many outstanding aid groups, such as International Rescue Committee, UNICEF, Save the Children, and Mercy Corps, that are not listed below because women and girls are not their only focus.
Worldwide Fistula Fund works to improve maternal health and is building a fistula hospital in Niger.