Advancing Policies to Improve the Lives of Girls and Young Women Globally


Rise Up


PHI’s Rise Up program invests in visionary leaders, local organizations, and innovative solutions to advance social justice and improve education, equity, and opportunity for girls and women around the world. In 2020 groups supported by Rise Up won major policy victories that will improve more than 10 million lives.

10M+ people benefit from policy changes

50K people participated in policy advocacy and/or leadership programs

390 youth and adult leaders trained

Rise Up is investing in visionary leaders, local organizations, and innovative solutions to advance social justice and improve education, equity, and opportunity for girls and women in Brazil, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States. The program aims to build a global movement of visionary leaders dedicated to advancing gender equity. Rise Up’s Gender Equity Initiative invests in these leaders to strengthen their organizations, lead change in their communities, and advance national-level impact through improved laws, programs, and funding for women and girls.

In 2020, Rise Up’s social justice fund provided technical assistance and $248,000 in grants to groups and leaders in India, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States, supporting eighteen advocacy projects to advance laws, programs, and funding for women and girls. About 50,000 people engaged in programming by these organizations following this grant funding.

As a result of policy changes advocated by organizations supported by Rise Up in these countries, more than 10 million people stand to benefit from improved laws and policies to protect girls, young women, children and adults. Among the highlights of their victories in 2020 are:

In Nigeria, advocacy by leaders and groups supported by Rise Up resulted in:

  • Protections for up to 4.5 million women and girls from domestic violence through a new policy in Lagos State guaranteeing the speedy hearing of domestic violence cases.
  • Protections for over 1 million school children, including 500,000 girls, from rape, abuse and maltreatment through implementation of a School Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy across Lagos State.
  • Access to free and compulsory education for over 200,000 girls in Kaduna State.
  • Protections for over 200,000 young women and girls through a ban on child marriage in Agege and Mushin communities.

In India, advocacy by leaders and groups supported by Rise Up resulted in:

  • Establishment and funding of 98 Integrated Child Development Service centers in Maharashtra State (following the filing of numerous court orders), resulting in 1.5 million women and girls gaining access to vital services including health, safety, nutrition, immunization, education, and referrals.
  • Protecting approximately 256,000 children from sexual abuse in schools through effective implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act throughout Satara District.
  • Guaranteeing access to government support for more than 350,000 sex workers through a national recognition that sex workers are informal sector workers. 
  • Protecting more than 933,000 children through the activation of 170 Child Protection Committees in Mumbai Suburban District. 

In Kenya, advocacy by leaders and groups supported by Rise Up resulted in guaranteed access to school for over 65,000 girls through implementation of the Return to School policy in all schools in Kajiado County. 

In Mexico, a national program to prevent and address adolescent suicide supported as many as 787,000 adolescents in San Luis Potosí State.  

With the implementation of these and additional advocacy projects in the future, Rise Up expects to see many more policies passed to improve equity, social justice and education for women and girls. The program’s work to develop the next generation of girl and women leaders remains a key strategy, with 390 youth and adult leaders trained in 2020, including:

  • 58 new Rise Up Leaders were trained in South Africa, India, and Mexico, using Rise Up’s award-winning curriculum, country-based advocacy experts, and master trainer methodology. Each leader received more than 70 hours of advocacy training from Rise Up.
  • 20 Rise Up leaders in California had the opportunity to convene and strengthen their capacity in specific areas that they identified as important to building their organizations and advancing their ability to create and sustain large-scale change.
  • 275 leaders and 37 adult allies were trained in Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, and Brazil, creating a pipeline of girl leaders who will raise their voices to advocate for social justice, education, opportunity, and equity in their countries. Rise Up and partners conducted trainings in girls’ rights, leadership skills, advocacy, and life skills. These girls are already implementing projects to help their communities respond to COVID-19, end the harmful traditional practice of female genital mutilation, reduce girls’ dropout rates from school, and speak out for their rights.

Learn more about Rise Up and its Gender Equity Initiative here.

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