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Our Commitment to Gender Equality

As we celebrate International Women’s Day and reflect upon the theme of #EachforEqual, we think it’s important for us, as leaders, to affirm and reinforce our belief in full equality and inclusion of women at all levels of leadership, as well as to demonstrate the ways we’re working toward achieving this within our own organization.

We recognize the importance of transparency when it comes to these issues, so we wanted to take some time to share with you how World Relief is working hard toward a gender-equal world — both within our programs around the world and also right here at home within the walls of our offices.

This past year, we piloted a gender equality Bible study for our Rwandan staff designed to help them break free from damaging cultural norms and behaviors and empower women to take on more leadership roles within our programs. We train our staff first because we know that God’s word can’t be powerful through us until it is powerful within us.

In 2020, we have begun rolling out gender equality training to all of our staff, arming them with God’s truth that both men and women are created in the image of God and are equally deserving of worth, dignity and respect. We saw the fruit of this effort at our recent meeting of international staff leaders where a full 50% of participants were women.

This year, we also welcomed three new women to our board, a 75% increase in female participation. Our Executive Committee also evolved to better reflect our stance on women in leadership across the organization. This group is now 45% female, and we have undoubtedly become a stronger team in this shift. Finally, we are excited to announce the appointment of WR Burundi’s first female Country Director, Cesalie Nicimpaye.

We believe that gender equality is a matter of both justice and stewardship, and we recognize that we are both more just and better equipped to fulfill our mission when we embrace the gifts, passions and experiences of women and men equally. For that reason, we will continue striving toward gender equality in everything we do. We, of course, recognize that we still have progress to make, but we are committed to this journey and to being #eachforequal, not just on IWD but every day.

Thank you for joining us on this important journey.

Blessings, Tim & Scott


Tim Breene served on the World Relief Board from 2010 to 2015 before assuming the role of CEO from 2016-2020. Tim’s business career has spanned nearly 40 years with organizations like McKinsey, and Accenture where he was the Corporate Development Officer and Founder and Chief Executive of Accenture Interactive. Tim is the co-author of Jumping the S-Curve, published by Harvard Publishing. Tim and his wife Michele, a longtime supporter of World Relief, have a wealth of experience working with Christian leaders in the United States and around the world.

Scott Arbeiter retired from World Relief in 2021 as president after serving the organization in various roles for more than two decades and is a former pastor of Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

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