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World Relief Celebrates International Women’s Day, Announces New Organizational Oversight Board Gender Ratio

March 8, 2020

Lauren Carl

World Relief Celebrates International Women’s Day, Announces New Organizational Oversight Board Gender Ratio
Global humanitarian organization honors the women and girls served in 2019 and sets future standards high

BALTIMORE – This International Women’s Day, World Relief recognizes the women and girls served through various programming throughout the world and maintains that the goal of achieving “Each for Equal” doesn’t need to be a future eventuality, but today’s reality. To that end, World Relief is renewing our commitment to elevating women by announcing that we have welcomed a 75% increase in the number of women participating in our board, which is now 45% female. Additionally, World Relief is excited to announce the appointment of World Relief Burundi’s first female country director, Cesalie Nicimpaye.

“We often forget in our quest for gender equality around the world that improvement starts at home,” commented World Relief Director of Program Resources Joanna Kretzer Chun. “As the great-granddaughter of a child bride in the U.S., I’ve personally seen the transformation that can take place and the opportunities that can be generated in a few short generations. I’m constantly inspired when I get to witness firsthand the change that comes about when a woman is seen, heard, trusted and empowered to make a difference in her community – and I get to partner with some of the most committed and sacrificial women and men who are equally committed to this kind of transformation.”

 In addition to this renewed standard, World Relief is rolling out gender equality training for all international programs staff. The fruits of this is already evident; over the last year, World Relief piloted a Bible study with the Rwandan staff designed to help participants break free from damaging cultural norms and behaviors and empower women to take more leadership roles. Additionally, at World Relief’s annual international leadership gathering at the beginning of the year, intentional efforts were made by each program and country office to invite emerging female leaders, and as a result the overall female participation rate was 50%. This time was also dedicated to prayerfully evaluating the organization’s own policies and standards across its international teams.

Throughout 2019, World Relief partnered with churches around the world to serve over 5 million people. Of that, approximately 80% of the organization’s beneficiaries are women and children. These are just a few of the exciting projects that directly benefit women and girls:

  • In Rwanda, 1,764 women were trained by 20 World Relief-trained volunteers on women’s rights, gender equality, hygiene and nutrition.

  • Around the world in FY19, World Relief supervised 2,827 Savings for Life groups with a collective 64,310 members. On average across all countries, 75% of participants are women.

  • In Burundi alone, 2,167 couples were impacted by Families for Life programming which focuses on strengthening marriages by improving communication, empowering women and promoting healthy families.

  • In the U.S., World Relief resettled 1,570 women and girls through the refugee resettlement program in FY19.

World Relief President Scott Arbeiter said, “We believe the life of each human being to be incredibly precious, and it breaks our hearts when any woman or girl is held back from living fully into her God-given potential. Whether through our Families for Life programming, refugee resettlement, Church Empowerment Zone (CEZ) work, anti-human trafficking efforts or church partnerships with any of the above, we are stepping into 2020, expectant to see the Lord make the path clear for more and more women and girls to experience greater degrees of flourishing than ever before.”

 To learn more about World Relief’s work to empower women and girls, visit

Download the PDF version of this press release.

About World Relief

World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that brings sustainable solutions to the world’s greatest problems – disasters, extreme poverty, violence, oppression, and mass displacement. For over 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and community leaders in the U.S. and abroad to bring hope, healing and transformation to the most vulnerable.

Learn more at


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