Photo: Courtesy of PSI.org
KR: Jennifer, your foundation supports unique projects targeted at women and girls, including microfinance programs in Bangladesh, anti-sex work initiatives in India, and campaigns to end gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. What has shaped NoVo's focus and mission?
JB: We spent the first years forming the NoVo Foundation very intentionally, seeking greater understanding about what is playing out in the world right now and a vision for how the world could change. Time and time again in our travels we saw the world out of balance between the "masculine" and "feminine" impulses. The vision for the change we seek is to move from systems of domination and exploitation towards partnership and collaboration with girls and women as agents of change in healthy partnership with boys and men. So we fund initiatives like the ones you describe to try and get at the most egregious displays and results of systems of exploitation in hopes of raising awareness and affecting deep systemic change.
KR: In 2010, at the World Economic Forum in Tanzania, the Nike Foundation and PSI partnered on exciting activities around The Girl Effect. What are you hoping will come out of these activities?
ME: The Nike Foundation was extremely excited to be working in partnership with PSI in Tanzania. We supported a Girl Effect learning journey on the ground hosted by PSI for the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders. It was an opportunity to bring continued awareness to the powerful potential of girls. In addition, it was a chance to build new girl champions for the issue among these key global leaders who have the power to impact change for girls in their respected industries.
KR: The NoVo Foundation partnered with the Nike Foundation on The Girl Effect in 2008. Tell us about this partnership. What do you hope for the campaign moving forward?
ME: This is a momentous time for girls, and I think we're starting to really move the needle. It is something that wouldn't have been possible without Jennifer and Peter Buffett's continued endorsement of our work through their active partnership and significant commitment of $90 million. Together we have touched the lives of more than two million girls, and through The Girl Effect, their families, communities and nations.
JB: The Girl Effect has been able to get the attention of many large and important global players so that they begin to understand "why girls?" And it has evolved in its commitment to work out the "how" to invest in adolescent girls. So if you are a government or a large health-systems organization, The Girl Effect partnership is committed to working to assist in weaving girls efficiently and strategically into large strategies for big benefits and big results.