The seeds of the feminist futures we seek are already here. And they’re being planted by girls.
The VIVA Girls initiative funds programs by and for girls, supports and builds adolescent girls’ leadership, and co-creates space for girls’ voices in social movements. Girlhood is a critical time for girls to develop the resolve they need to create their own feminist futures. To realize this potential, girls must be equipped to resist social norms and systems that value them for their sexuality, labor or reproductive capacities -- instead of who they are and who they want to become. The needs of this age are distinct and require a special focus that is different from that of women.
Together, we will ensure girls can thrive and advance social justice through a new generation of feminist leaders.
What We Do
Make new grants, both large and small, to support community-based, girls-led work that protects rights and strengthens our movements.
Offer training and mentorship to girls, and foster networks and connections where activist girls can support each other.
Create opportunities for girls to advocate for themselves in spaces where decisions are being made about them and their well-being, to secure their rights today and fulfill their hopes for tomorrow.
What Distinguishes Our Approach?
Girls know best the needs of young people in their communities and how to mobilize their generation to action. We know that our movements are stronger when we bring more girls into leadership spaces.
As adults often play an important role in creating space for and fostering girls’ leadership, we back adult-led programming that is jointly implemented with and for girls. Our distinct funding model supports a balanced power-dynamic between girl activists and the adults that support them.
Marginalized people are both disproportionately targeted for human rights abuses and hold valuable perspective to generate solutions. Adolescent girls from marginalized communities face many layers of discrimination. That’s why we prioritize intersectional work with queer, trans, Afro-descendent and Indigenous girls and those who are disabled, refugees, enslaved or conscripted by armed groups.
Our grantmaking follows a two-track approach to support organizing and advocacy by and for girls, including supporting:
- MADRE’s long-term partners to deepen existing bodies of work with girls in their communities or launch new initiatives focused specifically on girls and young women. See examples of this work in Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, and Yemen.
- New girl and young women-led partners and their allies who are leading critical movement building work with and for girls in their communities.
In Honor of Vivian Stromberg
Whenever our partners called, Vivian was ready. She’d knock down every obstacle to rally urgent aid and lasting support for women and girls facing war and disaster. And she knew that girls’ leadership was central to achieving our shared vision of feminist futures.
In her life, Vivian worked hand-in-hand with girl leaders to demand peace and justice. And thanks to Vivian’s guidance and mentorship, a generation of women leaders propel her activist legacy today.
That’s why we’re proud to name this initiative in her memory.