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International Woman’s Day 2022

Converging Roads of Gender Equality & Sustainability

Converging Roads of Gender Equality & Sustainability


The UN has touted 2022 as the year of Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow. Thank you, United Nations, for shining light on this important subject, as many of us in our comfy western bubbles don’t realize how climate change is affecting marginalized women across the globe at higher rates than their male counterparts.


Speaking of comfy western bubbles… from the gleaming skyscrapers that dot the skies of bustling Chicago, Opportunity International is a nonprofit organization known for traveling the globe to aid those experiencing extreme poverty. Many times, extreme poverty is made worse by changes in climate, resulting in drought, fires, floods and famine.


In countries like Malawi, Africa, women are more frequently leading the changes to farming practices to ensure more secure and prosperous futures. Opportunity International recently formed ‘Donor Trust Groups’ in the United States, donor groups who pool together their donations to fund special agricultural projects with micro-loans. These loans provide the women the ability to enhance, upgrade and or completely overhaul their farming operations to be more sustainable and profitable.


One Donor Trust Group we have learned about was formed in Silicon Valley by Johanna Mahal. Friend to HBFC, she brought together 10 Bay Area families willing to make an annual contribution of $5,000 each to enable farmers, many of whom are female, in Malawi to transition away from growing tobacco and into drought resistant beans. With financial resources behind the farmer, she is now growing a more sustainable crop that will aid in the health and wellness of the global community, reduce valuable time spent transporting excessive, and often times, hard to come by water, and increase personal earnings. Greater revenue in turn provides the farmer’s children with true possibilities to attend school for more consecutive years, and this helps break the cycle of poverty.


The Silicon Valley Donor Trust Group is using the experience to educate their own children about philanthropy, sustainability and wellness. As a former middle school educator, Johanna is using the experience as a chance for the family’s children to learn. “We are modeling, through our enthusiasm, what philanthropy can look like from a young age, in a very tangible way for our children,” says Johanna, whose 12-year-old son William was very involved in selecting their project.


Join us in applauding Opportunity International in making strides for gender equality and sustainability. If you would like to participate in gathering a Donor Trust Group with your friends and family, contact for more info!