“Thanks to the [BRACE] project, our women and girls are glowing again. We all feel like newly married brides. With the cash transfers, we were able to decorate ourselves in our colourful accessories and attire. You would not recognize us if you had seen us during the drought when our faces were covered with ashes and our minds were overloaded with stress.” 

Our Women and Girls Are Glowing Again , ADRA Canada

 These are the words of just one participant in ADRA’s BRACE project. Short for Building Resilience Against Crisis Effects, BRACE is the Kenyan chapter of the Humanitarian Early Recovery and Development (HERD) Program, which works in the Turkana Central sub-county in the country’s northwest. An initiative of member agencies of the Canadian Food Grains Bank (CFGB), the project operates with funding from Global Affairs Canada (GAC) and is implemented on the ground by ADRA Kenya with support from ADRA Canada.  

In the target region, the project seeks to address immediate, short-term, and long-term food insecurity issues. This largely involves increasing or stabilizing the consumption of nutritious food, protecting or strengthening livelihoods, and empowering the meaningful participation of women in local food systems. The most pressing and immediate cases of hunger are addressed through direct cash transfers made to participants’ mobile devices. Both short and long-term development interventions involve livelihood input transfer, cash for community asset building, and developing capacity in sustainable agriculture and livestock management practices.   

Our Women and Girls Are Glowing Again , ADRA Canada

We have found that the unconditional cash transfer has helped to significantly improve food security in the homes of participants and enhanced intra-household decision-making power, most notably for women. As the project participant quoted above said:   

“The cash transfer through direct deposits to women’s mobile [devices] helps us to feed our children and send them back to school. The money gave us agency over the use of financial resources in the home. We are spending the money to cover our basic needs in consultation with our husbands.” 

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we yearn to see more women taking hold of this kind of agency and autonomy on a global scale. ADRA’s vision for a world built on justice, compassion, and love includes women being placed in positions of real authority where they have the power to positively affect their communities. As women globally step into ever greater amounts of empowerment, we recognize their consistent demonstration of leadership, selflessness, and vision for the people around them. 

Empowered women are agents of compassion; empowering women is compassion in action.