One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn't as individuals. - Jean Vanier, philosopher
As we come to the end of this year of challenge and change, it is important that we pause and reflect on what we have been able to achieve together as a community during this extraordinary period.
As TWF, we have pivoted our efforts to address immediate issues facing vulnerable communities as well as continue with our usual , initiatives, research and advocacy. From our community to empower underprivileged girls, women and their families to our to develop the pipeline of female talent in Hong Kong, here are six highlights:
#TechForGood Initiative: We launched #TechForGood in March in response to the large number of underprivileged students who needed digital devices to engage in home learning during the pandemic. To date, we have helped over 500 students from underprivileged families access free laptops, tablets and data cards.
Girls Go Tech (GGT) : As part of our GGT Programme, we hosted our first ever virtual Hackathon for GGT participants where teams developed unique mobile apps aimed at solving an everyday problem arising from COVID-19. To continue their virtual learning, GGT participants are currently engaging in skills workshops as part of our STEM Competition that focuses on designing and building an app or product for social good, with a particular focus on boosting mental well-being in the wake of the pandemic. We also hosted our first STEM Education and e-Learning Lesson Plan Award Scheme. All lesson plans of the Scheme are available on our GGT e-Learning Platform for teacher exchange.
Domestic Violence Advocacy: Given the increase in calls to domestic and sexual violence helplines during strict social distancing measures, TWF, and Harmony House jointly advocated for the Government to urgently implement prevention and support measures to support victims. TWF has also spoken with private sector employers to help them better understand the business case behind having comprehensive measures in place to support victims of domestic violence.
#MakePeopleCount Campaign: To raise awareness around the prevalence of sexual violence in Hong Kong, we launched a campaign in April to break the taboo, boost preventative measures, encourage people to see victims as real people who need support, and significantly improve the support available to victims. This has been paired with a resources site and a series of public panel discussions.
Male Allies Initiative: Now in its third year, our Male Allies Initiative continues to innovate. We launched industry specific focus groups to share challenges and best practice particularly in the context of the pandemic and moved most of our workshops and influencer circles to virtual. This year, we also added Female Allies, representatives from the companies of Male Allies who encourage greater collaboration within their respective .
30% Club Diversity Forum: We held our first virtual 30% Club Diversity Forum as part of our Boardroom Series for Women Leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities for board gender diversity under the backdrop of Hong Kong’s role as a global finance .
This is but a small snapshot of the wide range of work we have been able to accomplish. It is remarkable to see how challenges initially raised by the pandemic – when faced with courage and community – transform into opportunities for positive change and impact. We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous support and contributions from our dedicated partners, donors, volunteers, staff and supporters at a time when gender equality has never been more critical. Our heartfelt thanks to each one of you.
At TWF, we are committed to forging a path forward that is gender equal – for all. And we know that this period of crisis is also an opportunity to recalibrate our thinking and build a gender equal future. In the coming year, we look forward to engaging even more closely with each one of you on how we -- as individuals and as a community -- can collectively bring about change. We also will continue to strengthen our collaborative efforts with business, academia, media, government and NGOs to seize these new opportunities to close the gender gap.
Again, thank you for all of your support throughout the year for our critical work. We can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in 2021.
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.
PS TWF Connect is going on winter break. We will return on January 6, 2021. In the meanwhile, we wish everyone a joyful holiday season and a healthy, happy new year!