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Denise and friends step out and speak up at the 2018 Women's March in Oakland, California. 


Denise Dunning, Founder + Executive Director

One of the things I’ve heard consistently from friends and colleagues since our 2016 election is how depressed everyone is. Almost daily, I hear about how fearful so many of us are for our lives, our children’s futures, and the planet. Many of us are doing whatever we can to forget, even for a moment, the anger and hatred that emanates from our inescapable news cycle, and the helplessness, rage, and frustration that pervade our own lives.

Some of my friends assume that I too am depressed, beaten down by the political assault on the people, communities, and issues that so many of us have spent our lives working to protect and advance.

Many of my colleagues imagine that the daily barrage – against truth, gender equality, racial justice, immigration, democracy, LGBTQIA rights, environmental conservation, women, refugees, science, public education, black people, equality, freedom of the press, healthcare, diversity, evidence, brown people, separation of church and state, the trans community, gun control, human rights, international diplomacy, global security, and decency, not to mention many of the fundamental principles this country is said to be built on – is devastating to me.

And sometimes it is. There are days when I feel so disgusted by the unleashing of hatred, racism, misogyny, and bigotry that I am completely overwhelmed. 

But most of the time, what I feel is hope.
Click here or on the button below to read the full piece.
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In Guatemala, girls aged 8-18 participate in a Colectivo Joven meeting supported by Rise Up. Photo: Sara Schonhardt


Last fall, we shared news of the successful campaign to ban child marriage in Guatemala, where Rise Up partners and girl leaders drove this inspiring advocacy effort to create meaningful policy change for girls and families across the country.

A new article in The Christian Science Monitor profiles the ongoing work of Rise Up partners and girl leaders to change not just the policy framework but the deeply entrenched gender stereotypes and socioeconomic conditions that contribute to the high rate of child marriage in Guatemala, where nearly 1 in 3 girls marries before the age of 18.

Highlighting the need for this ongoing work to be driven for girls by girls, the article showcases the efforts of Rise Up partner Asociación COINCIDIR to facilitate effective, empowering mentorships and training sessions with girls in rural communities  and throughout greater Guatemala – to foment community-driven change, creating new mindsets and new opportunities. 

To read the full article, "In Push to End Child Marriage in Guatemala, Young Women Are on the Front Line," click here or on the button below. 

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Photo: Love Matters, via The Economist


As profiled in The Economist, a new film directed by Rise Up Youth Champion Gayatri Parameswaran uses the latest in virtual reality technology to raise awareness around the pervasive problem of gender-based violence and intimate partner abuse. 

Produced by Love Matters as an extension of its #BearNoMore campaign, the film targets audiences in India, where patriarchal social norms remain predominant and the issue of intimate partner violence receives little attention.

Using virtual reality, the film creates an immersive first-person experience that spotlights the different forms and harmful consequences of the physical and emotional abuse that many women suffer in their relationships, but that may be normalized, making it difficult for them to reach out for help.

“We wanted to not only set alarm bells ringing in case you were in a similar situation,” says Parameswaran, “but also to create empathy towards those who suffer from intimate partner violence.” 

To read the full article, "Starting a Conversation about Intimate Partner Violence in India," click here or on the button below. 

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We are deeply grateful and inspired by the tremendous support we've received from the Rise Up community to help us launch our new Rapid Response Fund.

Your support helps protect the invaluable work and safety of Rise Up champions as they push for change in challenging, dynamic environments around the world.

Thank you for making this important fund possible, and for your continued support in lifting up girl and women leaders, champions, and advocates worldwide!

Learn more about the Rapid Response Fund. 



Rise Up Executive Director Denise Dunning will participate in a panel discussion, "The Future of Health Care," hosted by Princeton University as part of its series, "Alumni-Faculty Forum on the Road." The panel will be moderated by Heather Howard, Lecturer in Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton and former Senior Policy Advisor for First Lady Hillary Clinton. 
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Global Fund for Women and Google NYC will host a conversation with Rise Up Advisory Board Member and author-photographer Paola Gianturco about her new book, Wonder Girls: Changing our World. Gianturco will share stories and photographs of real-life wonder girls from her travels to 15 girl-led groups in 13 countries, including Rise Up partners working on girls' health, education, and rights.
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Rise Up activates women and girls to transform their lives, families and communities through investment in local solutions, strengthening leadership, and building movements. Since 2009, Rise Up's powerful network of over 500 leaders has directly benefited 7 million girls, youth, and women, advocating for over 100 laws and policies impacting 115 million people in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the US. Rise Up is based at the Public Health Institute (PHI), a leader in global health and development for over 50 years.
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