This year’s International Women’s Day was themed #ChooseToChallenge – challenging individuals and organizations around the world to celebrate women’s achievements, raise awareness against bias, and take action for gender equality. Through our work, Vera Solutions has had the privilege to work alongside many organizations who #ChooseToChallenge everyday, working tirelessly to drive gender parity and use data and technology to make better, more-informed decisions about their programs.
Although there are many stories of progress when it comes to female representation in the global economy, we still have a long way to go before we realize a gender equal world. According to a study by The World Bank measuring the laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies, over 2.7 billion women across the globe are restricted by law from having the same choice in jobs as men. Not only is it crucial for women’s dignity to have the same opportunities, but data also shows that empowering female social entrepreneurs is key to economic growth.
Achieving Gender Equality by 2030 requires urgent action to drive gender parity and eliminate the many root causes of discrimination that still curtail women’s rights. Nonprofit organizations and social enterprises are at the forefront of this effort, working to empower women and girls around the world with the skills, confidence, and advocacy they need to unleash their full potential. Here’s how five women-led organizations are using Salesforce and other integrated technologies to improve and scale women’s empowerment programs around the world.
The BOMA Project
The BOMA Project (BOMA) works to empower women living in extreme poverty in the drylands of Kenya to establish sustainable livelihoods, build resilient families, graduate from extreme poverty, and catalyze change in their rural communities. The BOMA Project’s Rural Entrepreneur Access Project (REAP) empowers women with the skills and confidence to start new businesses through a two-year program with sequenced interventions that allows them to graduate out of poverty. The ultimate goal is not just to have an impact on an individual level, but also to achieve true systems change by embedding the resilience-building approach into social protection and humanitarian systems.
Vera Solutions partnered with BOMA to configure a Performance Insights system using Salesforce and TaroWorks that allows them to gain real-time insights into the performance of participants, businesses, savings groups, and mentors and thus make informed decisions to continuously improve program implementation and design. “Before Salesforce, it took up to three months for data entry and analysis,” shares BOMA’s IT Manager Monica Kundu. “This meant it took 90 days before we could intervene if a program participant had issues. Our graduation rates were not good because we did not have visibility and capabilities to intervene early on when a participant was experiencing a shock. ”
With Performance Insights, BOMA staff can quickly identify participants who are falling behind and provide rapid response to ensure that they are receiving the help they need to graduate from the program and continue their journey to economic independence.
“With a click of a button, we can access a report to know the health of a program cohort. We can then pivot and direct funds to something that would have a positive impact,” says Kundu. “This impacts the 34,000 women given the opportunity to become entrepreneurs – and even more individuals in their communities.”
Wedu is a leadership development organization with a mission to unlock the leadership potential of ‘Rising Stars’ – the next generation of women changemakers across Asia. Through Wedu’s lifelong Leadership Development programs and services, Rising Stars are able to build the leadership skills, connections, and confidence they need to lead within their communities as forces for positive change.
Wedu places enormous importance on the strength of the relationships formed between Rising Stars, mentors, and community partners as a result of its programming. Monitoring the quality and impact of hundreds of these individual relationships requires that Wedu collect a significant amount of qualitative and quantitative data on an ongoing basis.
Thus, Vera Solutions helped implement a Salesforce-based CRM and program management application that allows Wedu to centralize and organize its data in order to build a more holistic relationship history of its participants and streamline operations across programs and services. Now, Wedu no longer has to spend countless hours manipulating and trying to make sense of disorganized program data.
“Salesforce has allowed us to increase our organizational capabilities and team capacity to scale up in the most efficient and lean way possible. We chose to invest in a data system in order to allow us to reach the scale we need to achieve social change,” said Vivian Lee, Wedu’s Chief Operating Officer.
Tostan is a nonprofit organization working across five West African countries that empowers communities to develop and achieve their vision for the future through a holistic and adaptable approach. Through Tostan’s flagship Community Empowerment Program (CEP), women are empowered to make important decisions about health, hygiene, education, and finances for themselves and their families. These women become engaging members of their community and instill positive social change by running small businesses that help them earn money to lift themselves and their family out of dire poverty. In Senegal, over 80 percent of the CEP trainings are coordinated by women.
Tostan began it’s digital transformation journey five years ago, implementing CommCare by Dimagi to automate data collection from the field, minimize errors from manual processing, and expedite monitoring and evaluation (M&E). Vera Solutions helped Tostan further connect the data-dots between CRM, M&E, donation management, project management, and financial management under the same digital roof of Salesforce and Vera’s flagship product, Amp Impact.
Tostan’s integrated technology platform, named ‘Bountoung’ (the local Mandinka word for ‘granary’) ensures that Tostan unites its international operations and employees under the same M&E framework in order to scale and amplify program impact. Now, everyone across the organization has access to the data they need, in order to make better-informed decisions and improve program delivery and design.
“Tostan was born to listen and give voice to feedback. Learning from data is our DNA and strong feedback loops have been key for improving our programs over the last 30 years. Technology helps supplement this DNA to enhance what we’re doing, improve the quality of the data we’re collecting, and scale programs in the communities we serve.”
– Elena Bonometti, CEO, Tostan
Women’s Fund Asia
Women’s Fund Asia (WFA) is a regional women’s fund committed to supporting women, girls, trans, and intersex rights groups and activists in Asia, addressing the non-availability of resources for rights work for these constituencies across the region, and support strategies and interventions designed, implemented, and led by women, girls, trans, and intersex people. At its core, WFA is governed by feminist principles and aims to nurture leading feminist philanthropy in their region, in the hopes of promoting feminist leadership and advocacy for its principles in the field.
Vera Solutions partnered with WFA to implement Amp Impact as a central grants management and impact measurement platform to manage grants and grantees across 18 countries and five core thematic areas. WFA maps their key indicators to an organization-wide results framework to understand the relationships between inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes towards organizational impact goals.
Amp Impact has enabled WFA to build feedback loops into grant decision-making and use data to respond to the needs of the people they are serving – ultimately ensuring that they are striving towards their mission to realize the human rights of women, girls, trans, and intersex people in Asia.
Women Win advances gender equality through two main areas of focus: using sports to empower adolescent girls to exercise their rights and strengthening women’s economic resilience. Founded in 2006 as a global women’s fund dedicated to advancing girls’ and women’s rights through sports, the organization has since become a global leader in empowering women through its programs. “We feel that sport can offer a girl a place to develop skills and knowledge that translates into life off the field; how to assert herself, use her voice, make decisions, and call the shots. In short, her wins on the field translate into wins off the field,” says Manu Wildschut, Impact Manager at Women Win.
Women Win has been using Salesforce to measure impact since 2012, tracking partnerships and programs that support over 4 million adolescent girls in over 100 countries. Vera Solutions worked with Women Win to launch a global M&E system that they have been using for over nine years. This system employs interactive dashboards and detailed data analysis. Staff in Women Win’s Amsterdam headquarters and implementing partners in Asia, Africa, and Latin America share program and participant data to track and evaluate their impact. With this system Women Win can analyze changes in girls’ knowledge, attitude and behavior brought about by the sport programs.
“Our program partners can make informed and evidence-based decisions through intuitive and interactive reports and dashboards in Salesforce. As an organization, we are better able to learn, share and demonstrate the collective impact of all gender-sensitive sport and life skills programs,” says Wildschut.