Amanda Cats-Baril and Anne McGuinness: United for Women’s Empowerment

by | Sep 23, 2021 | Heartivist Of The Week

In 2014 Amanda Cats-Baril and Anne McGuinness were working in Nepal in the humanitarian sector when they met and decided to found The WE United Project. Anne grew up in Kathmandu and returned home in 2011, the same year that Amanda moved to Nepal from New York. Both have always loved playing sports and felt passionate about expanding the opportunity to other women and girls. 

The WE United Project is a women-led volunteer initiative founded on the belief that sport enables women and girls to develop social networks, physical strength, self-belief, and the confidence to fully participate in any sphere of life they choose. 

“WE believe participation in sport changes how women view themselves and how others view women; therefore, contributing to a broader agenda of women’s empowerment and equality,” Amanda said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, supported by a grant from The Pollination Project, they launched WE Connect to develop an adaptive response engaging and inspiring allies and advocates for women’s empowerment through sport. Since March 2020, they have used their online platforms to highlight stories of women and girls from their own community; educate women and girls through online programming; and challenge gender norms and stereotypes by promoting images of strong, skillful women athletes; and sharing statistics about women in sports. 

Every year, WE United expands its activities as well as the network of empowered women and girls it engages in Nepal and beyond. In addition to organizing friendly soccer games for women and girls of all ages and skill-levels, they host soccer tournaments and a league to provide opportunities for women and girls to compete at all levels! 

In 2018 they also started the WE Coach program, a first step towards responding to a continued lack of female soccer coaches in Nepal. To date, 16 young women have gained valuable skills and knowledge related to coaching and women’s empowerment. Collectively, they have provided soccer training sessions for over 200+ girls in their local communities.

“We believe one win leads to another. When women and girls are provided with opportunities to develop skills, experiences and relationships through sport, they are empowered to be confident leaders on and off the field. WE envision bringing women together to pave the way forward for other women’s empowerment.”

The We United Project - Players entering the field
The We United Project - Player awarded


It's Volunteer Month! 🌟 🌟 🌟 Today we celebrate our grant advisors working on Economic Development focus area.

By meticulously selecting projects for our seed grants, they're not just funding ideas—they're empowering communities and sparking transformative change. 

Join us in celebrating their invaluable efforts and the positive impact they're creating together!

🔸 Eric Anorrey (Ghana)
🔸 Mariam Nakiryowa (Uganda)
🔸 Jean-Marie Zihalirwa (DRC)
🔸 Emily Logiron Asekon (Kenya)
🔸 Georgia Bernbaum (USA) 
🔸 Herve Tsoala Kuete (Cameroon)
🔸 Jackson Bizimungu (Rwanda)
🔸 Okumu Dickson (Uganda)
🔸 Samuel Litunya (Kenya)


#volunteermonth #volunteer #heartivism #economicdevelopment #change #empoweringcommunities
The Green Earth Initiative (#Cameroon) is a project dedicated to educating and empowering students about climate change, sustainable development, and environmental challenges, that has received a seed grant from The Pollination Project in 2023. With a focus on fostering environmental protection and conservation, the initiative establishes Eco-clubs and Environment Clubs in schools, providing students with the tools to learn, engage, and take action in their communities.

Since receiving the grant from TPP, the Green Earth Initiative has expanded its reach, now encompassing 9 additional schools across two regions/cities, surpassing its initial goal of 5. 
This expansion was made possible by the overwhelming interest from school authorities and the growing number of volunteers and team members.

Through the support of TPP and other partners, the project's environmental education programs, awareness campaigns, and initiatives have impacted over 8000 students in two cities of Cameroon. Additionally, the initiative has planted over 600 trees, launched 5 Environment/Eco Clubs, and distributed over 150 adapted waste bins produced from recycled plastics, contributing to proper waste management practices.

The seed grant from The Pollination Project has been instrumental in catalyzing the growth and success of the Green Earth Initiative, enabling it to make a tangible difference in the lives of students and communities, while fostering a culture of environmental stewardship and sustainability. 

#environmentprotection #seedgrant #heartivism #environmentaleducation
It's Volunteer's Month!!! 🌟 Celebrating our family of Grant Advisors 🌟

With 80 grant advisors, all experts in their respective fields and many of them former grantees, The Pollination Project is powered by a wealth of knowledge and experience. Their service is not only precious but also essential, as they bring unique insights and understanding to the application process, ensuring that resources are allocated where they can have the greatest impact. 

🎉 Today we celebrate our incredible grant advisors in the HEALTH & WHOLENESS focus area! 

🔸 Ben Kilama (Uganda) 
🔸 Kosa Jimmy (Uganda) 
🔸 Marina Haque (USA) 
🔸 John Ebong (Nigeria) 
🔸 Nzayisenga Emmanuel (Canada)
🔸 Rodger Mwanza (Zambia) 
🔸 Emmanuel Dushimimana (Rwanda) 
🔸 Nelly Hellen Onditi (Kenya) 
🔸 Daniel Ayodele Femi (Nigeria) 
🔸 Christopher Nwafor (South Africa)

Our heartfelt gratitude to these dedicated individuals for their invaluable contributions 🙏

@jim.kosa.5 @manud05 @duemmanuel @nelly.hellen1 @daniel_ayodele_femi 

#health #wholeness #grantmaking #grantadvisor #volunteermonth #volunteers #grants #heartivism #volunteersweek #nigeria #southafrica #uganda #rwanda #zambia #canada