Women’s Institute Ties to the United Nations

Women’s Institute Ties to the United Nations

Did you know that the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) holds nongovernmental organization status at the United Nations? As such, we have members represent us on numerous United Nations agencies – for example, the World Health Organization, the World Food Organization, UNICEF and so on. Our ties to the United Nations began in the post World War II era, and one of our first ventures was supplying 7,000 pounds of good used clothing to the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (known as UNRRA) for distribution in Europe in the late 1940’s. Since then there have been an abundance of international programs and projects we have supported, some in cooperation with the United Nations, others on ACWW’s own initiative.


The include:

  • monetary donations to the Save Sight Project, which provided education to mothers in Third World Countires so they could prepare foods for their children to provide the Vitamin A the youngsters needed to prevent the blindness too many of them experienced.
  • offered Leadership Training in Nutrition and Education in the South Pacific
  • provided funding to buy the trees to support the Desertification project in Kenya – where acacia and other desert trees were planted to help hold back the advance of the desert
  • Canadian WI Members purchased a Land Rover for Lesotho, so the trainers and other skilled workers could reach the isolated vilages where training in cooking, food production and health care was desperately needed
  • Clean Water for all – an on-going project, still supported today. This involved raising the money to pay to have a well dug in close proximity to a village, so there is pure water for drinking and cooking, as well as other needs.
  • gathered discarded eye glasses for recycling in Third World Countries
  • provided money to buy and deliver cows to needy families in Uganda
  • the Soya Nutrition Education Program was designed to educate people on the value of including soya in their diets
  • The international Year of the Family was suggested by Les Cercles de Fermieres du Quebec, and endorsed by all WI members across Canada
  • to address and Iodine Deficiency in parts of Africa, members raised money to provide iodized salt to the local population
  • in the 1980’s we financially supported the Maternity Extension of a Government Clinic in Zambia
  • we recently sent generous donations to a project in the Dominican Republic where single parent families had fled to from Haiti following the dreadful earthquake a few years ago.

There were other projects also, but I am sure you get the picture.

With the leadership provided by our representatives who speak for us in Rome, Vienna, New York and other United Nations Offices, and the generous concern of our members, we have found ways to assist those in other countries. We know, too, that at least 90 cents out of every dollar we donate reaches the people it was intended for – that is a much better record than many other groups!

It is our opinion that until the wealth of the world is more evenly distributed, there can never be true world peace. We are trying to do our share to bring that day closer, faster.

Want to learn more? Contact your local Women’s Institute, or contact our Provincial Office at bcwi@bcwi.ca  you will find it is well worth the effort.


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2 Responses to Women’s Institute Ties to the United Nations

  1. Kate Belair says:

    Great article. Thanks for taking the time to create it and share it!

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