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VIVA Girls

The seeds of the feminist futures we seek are already here. And they’re being planted by girls.

Our new initiative, VIVA Girls, partners with and uplifts girl-led programs, cultivates adolescent girls’ leadership, and co-creates space for girls’ voices in our social movements. Together, we will ensure girls can thrive and advance social justice through a new generation of feminist leaders.

What We Do

Two young girls during a videography workshop looking through video footage

Resource

Make new grants, both large and small, to support community-based, girls-led work that protects rights and strengthens our movements.

Girls in Guatemala gather to complete a project

Partner

Offer training and mentorship to girls, and foster networks and connections where activist girls can support each other.

Young girl leads discussion

Advocate

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.

We work with girls as leaders of today and tomorrow

Worldwide, MADRE partners with community-based organizations facing war, disaster and their aftermath.

Through the VIVA Girls initiative, seeded with funding from the NoVo Foundation and together with our grassroots global partners, we recognize girls as leaders in their communities, and we organize together to create dedicated programming by and for girls.

We envision a future where girls can be free from violence, be healthy and dream.

What Distinguishes Our Approach?

Girl-led

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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 more into leadership spaces.

Girl-centered

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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.

Girl-focused

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Girlhood is a critical time for girls to develop the resolve they need to create their self-defined 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 differentiated from that of women.

Intersectional

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.

Intergenerational

Girls are more than a “leadership pipeline,” waiting in reserve until their turn for leadership comes up. We see social change as the work of and across generations. We bring people together across generations in partnerships with the potential to change entire communities. Currently, we operate a network of learning and support across generations of women — and we’re growing the participation of girls in that exchange.

A Snapshot of VIVA Girls

In Colombia, we support Afro-Colombian and Indigenous girl survivors of war. Many of these girls have been exploited as child soldiers and abused by armed groups. With our partners at Taller de Vida, girls have mentorship and support to imagine new lives and to demand change from their leaders.

In Lebanon, where Syrian families have sought refuge from their country's war, MADRE support brings schooling and healthcare to girls. Together with our partner, Syrian Women's League, we make sure that girls can cultivate resilience and hope to overcome trauma.

In Kenya, MADRE partners with the Indigenous Information Network to partner with girls as leaders to confront harmful practices like female genital mutilation and forced early marriage. Together, girls offer care and peer mentorship to each other.

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.

How You Can Help