PHI's Rise Up program benefits 115 million girls, youth, and women globally and with a reach across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. By investing in visionary leaders, local organizations, and innovative solutions, Rise Up is achieving large-scale change through advocacy, leadership development, organizational strengthening, grantmaking, and storytelling.
2016 – 2018 ENGAGE (Enabling Girls to Advance Gender Equality)
Rise Up received $2.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create ENGAGE (Enabling Girls to Advance Gender Equality), an innovative approach to ending early marriage and enabling Malawian girls to finish school. We are honored that First Lady Michelle Obama selected ENGAGE to be part of the White House Let Girls Learn initiative.
2017 Rise Up Youth Champions Awarded Grant Funding to Advance Health & Rights
Rise Up is thrilled to award grant funding to visionary Youth Champions from Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, and the United States. These young leaders graduated from Rise Up’s Youth Champions Incubator in Silicon Valley, where they learned about leadership, technology, innovation and health. Rise Up’s grant funding will enable these inspiring young leaders to create game-changing initiatives to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people in their countries.
Champions for Change
Champions for Change saves the lives of women and children in Nigeria by empowering local leaders and organizations to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health through advocacy, education, storytelling, and strategic partnerships. Champions for Change leverages a program model developed by its sister initiative, Let Girls Lead, which has contributed to improved health, education, and livelihoods for more than 3 million girls globally since 2009. This powerful model drives change through the passage of national laws, implementation of programs, and distribution of funds to ensure access to quality healthcare, education, and economic opportunity.
As of 2017, this program lives on under the work of Rise Up.
Let Girls Lead
Let Girls Lead is building a global movement of Champions who empower girls to attend school, stay healthy, escape poverty, and overcome violence. Let Girls Lead invests in girls and their allies to lead social change through advocacy, education, storytelling, economic empowerment, and strategic partnerships. Since 2009, Let Girls Lead's proven model has contributed to improved health, education, livelihoods, and rights for more than 3 million girls through the passage of national laws, implementation of programs, and distribution of funds to ensure access to quality healthcare, education, and economic opportunity.
As of 2017, this work lives on through PHI's Rise Up.
Youth Champions Initiative
PHI has partnered with the Packard Foundation to launch the Youth Champions Initiative (YCI) to advance innovation and quality in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) globally. YCI will invest in visionary young champions who will lead the SRHR movement for the next generation.
Youth Champions Initiative is a program of Rise Up, dedicated to investing in young people who are leading the sexual and reproductive health and rights movement for the next generation in South East Asia, Africa and the United States.
Here's How We're Making a Difference
Advocating for the Rights of Women and Girls by Working to Outlaw Child Marriage in Guatemala
After leading a campaignin 2015 to increase the legal age of marriage in Guatemala to 18, advocates with PHI’s Rise Up successfully pushed for the closure of a loophole in the law in 2017, ensuring that no minor may legally be married for any reason. Rise Up began funding several Guatemalan partners to advocate for a law to end child marriage five years ago. Rise Up leaders collaborated with a coalition of civil society partners to push the Guatemalan Congress to pass a national law banning underage marriage. That law contained a loophole, however, stating that minors could still be married with permission from a judge—meaning girls could still to be forced into early marriages against their will.
Rise Up leaders continued fighting for girls' rights by advocating for an amendment to the law, and in August 2017, the Guatemalan Congress repealed the child marriage loophole. Now, no Guatemalan minor may legally be married for any reason, no exceptions.
Developing the Next Generation of Global Champions for Women and Girls
When Rise Up met Rosana in 2010, she was a visionary leader and the founder of a safe home that gave 25 girls a secure place to live, and a chance to go to school. Through participating in Rise Up's programming, Rosana learned about advocacy strategies, and the transformative power of partnerships, direct dialogue, and how young people can advocate for their own needs.
With the launch and success of a children's rights advocacy campaign supported by Rise Up, Rosana went from protecting 25 girls in her safe home to securing the rights of 2 million children in Liberia with the passage of the National Children's Law, which guarantees children the right to education, healthcare, and protection from violence.
In 2017, Rosana was elected to the House of Representatives in Liberia, becoming the first woman to represent her district. Rosana has fought tirelessly for implementation of the law she championed, and her influence and legacy continues. Rosana's impact is exponential.
Rise Up champions like Rosana are advocating for girls and women in some of the most challenging environments around the world. They fight every day for girls to finish school, for young people to access reproductive health services, for women to overcome gender-based violence, and for girls' and women's basic human rights.
Enabling Global Youth to Create Large-Scale Change Through Leadership Development, Technology, Innovation, and Advocacy
Youth Champions Initiative (YCI), a program of PHI's Rise Up, builds up powerful young leaders who are leading the sexual and reproductive health and rights movement across the globe.
In 2014, Youth Champions participated in the 50th Anniversary Incubator in Los Altos, California, USA. This intensive workshop integrated hands on capacity building in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights, leadership, innovation, and project development. The Incubator provided the Youth Champions with the opportunity to strengthen their skills and leadership capacity, learn from internationallyrecognized SRHR experts, develop their own SRHR projects, and share their vision for SRHR with the Packard Foundation staff.
During the Incubator, the Youth Champions received coaching and technical assistance from SRHR experts in the development of innovative initiatives to increase youth access to quality SRHR services and information. Each participant left the Incubator with a draft project proposal, which they finalized with their host organizations following the Incubator. YCI awarded project funding to participating Youth Champions and their organizations to launch the SRHR projects they developed during the Incubator. YCI also provides on-going technical assistance to enable the Youth Champions and their organizations to most effectively implement their innovative SRHR projects.
YCI is already creating important impacts in Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, and the US South. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation demonstrates that the Youth Champions have significantly strengthened their leadership, and that their innovative projects are already improving SRHR in their communities. Recent successes include:
- Leveraging WhatsApp in India to deliver youth-friendly mobile instant messaging on SRH
- Developing an animated television series in Ethiopia about girl super heroines fighting for girls’ health and rights
- Creating comic books in Pakistan to deliver healthy menstrual hygiene information to girls and their families
- Teaching youth in the United States to use art, dance, and spoken word poetry to advocate for comprehensive sexuality education
Investing in Young Leaders to Champion the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Movement
The Youth Champions Initiative, part of PHI's RiseUp, invests in powerful young leaders in Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and the United States who are leading the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement.
In Pakistan, one 2016 seed grantee, Ali Raza Rizvi, is using short films and street theatre in the remote areas of Karachi and Interior Sindh to prompt new community discussions about the importance of SRHR.
Raza Rizvi’s Ehsas Films is also creating new live and online platforms to discuss SRHR after each screening, performance, and posting.
Ongoing monitoring and evaluation demonstrates that the Youth Champions have significantly strengthened their leadership, and that their innovative projects are already improving SRHR in their communities
Passing Landmark Legislation in Nigeria to Improve the Health of Women and Children
Thanks in part to PHI’s Champions for Change, under-served families in Nigeria now have access to free, comprehensive healthcare services, helping to reduce the high rates of maternal and infant mortality. The program's country representative played an instrumental role in advocating for the law’s passage, leading targeted efforts towards religious stakeholders and developing messages for collective advocacy efforts. All proved successful in December 2015 when the President signed the National Health Bill into law, helping to keep millions of Nigerian women and children healthier.
Learn more about Champions for Change's work with their infographic exploring key faces about women, children and adolescent health in Nigeria.
Preventing Violence Across The Globe With Policy Change
Working with local girl- and youth-rights advocates, Rise Up has influenced 124 laws and policies—including raising the age of marriage and increasing access to eduation and rights for girls—impacting more than 115 million individuals in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the United States.
PHI's Let Girls Lead has championed the passage of the national Children’s Law in Liberia, supported the ratification of a national treatment protocol for sexual violence survivors in Guatemala, and created a national advocacy network that helped to pass legislation outlawing child marriage in Malawi and Guatemala.
Protecting the Rights of Girls and Youth
PHI’s Let Girls Lead provides technical assistance and training in policy advocacy, as well as seed funding, to African and Latin American champions for girls’ rights and health.
Let Girls Lead alumni have become powerful policy advocates and contributed to important victories, including passage of the national Children’s Law in Liberia, ratification of a national treatment protocol for sexual violence survivors in Guatemala and creation of a national advocacy network to eliminate child marriage in Malawi and Guatemala. It’s estimated that the work of Let Girls Lead has touched 7 million girls around the globe.
Rise Up Founder and Executive Director Named Top Family Planning Leader
In 2016, PHI's Denise Dunning was named in the 120 Under 40: The New Generation of Family Planning Leaders, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health.
Dr. Dunning is the founder and executive director of PHI’s Rise Up program, which benefits 115 million girls, youth, and women globally, and reaches across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. This award recognizes Dunning’s exemplary leadership to advance family planning and reproductive health. Learn more about the award.