WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 21) — Women Thrive Alliance, also known as Women Thrive Worldwide, will be closing its doors at the end of the month after twenty years of impactful work. Since 1998, Women Thrive has been a leader in ensuring that grassroots women and girls around the world take part in policy and decision-making processes impacting their lives.

Founded by Ritu Sharma and Elise Fiber-Smith, Women Thrive evolved from an advocacy organization focused on impacting U.S. government foreign aid policy to a global advocacy network of 324 grassroots women’s rights organizations in 55 countries. Throughout its existence, Women Thrive equipped grassroots advocates with the skills, resources, and connections they need to make gender equality a reality.

Since 2016, under the leadership of Emily Bove, the organization pioneered a model that enabled grassroots women’s rights advocates to fully participate and significantly influence the implementation of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment in particular. “Because of Women Thrive’s impact and the immense work of our Alliance members and team, grassroots women’s rights advocates are no longer on the sidelines. Policymakers from the local to the global levels are now recognizing the value of advocates’ expertise and experience and see them as vital partners in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Emily Bove, Executive Director.

Women Thrive was a leader in ensuring grassroots advocates understood the SDGs and how they could leverage them to hold their governments accountable to reach gender equality by 2030. Within the last four years alone, Women Thrive trained 551 advocates in 43 countries and supported five country-level coalitions working to influence national implementation of Goal 5.

Women Thrive’s National SDG Scorecard was the first global-level survey measuring grassroots women’s involvement in their country’s design, implementation, and evaluation of the SDGs. Advocates will continue to use this evidence to advance their active and meaningful inclusion in SDG-era decision-making.

While the Board of Directors deeply regrets that the organization was not able to overcome resource mobilization challenges, despite the incredible proven impact of its work, it could not be more proud of the Alliance’s global leadership these past few years. “I have been honored to lead this small but mighty organization and know our incredible Alliance members will continue the fight to make gender equality a reality. Women Thrive’s legacy and the ultimate impact of its innovative and bold programming will continue to influence how development is done,” said Trevor Tomkins, Chair of the Women Thrive Board of Directors.

Women Thrive is grateful to World Pulse for welcoming the Alliance members to be a part of their network. World Pulse connects 64,000 women across 190 countries to speed up global change and provides a supportive, protected online space where women can connect with each other, gain digital leadership skills, and exchange stories and resources. “As longtime sisters of Women Thrive, we celebrate and respect their years of impact elevating grassroots voices to shape policies that have positively impacted millions of lives. We are honored to be trusted to carry the legacy forward and welcome Women Thrive members to our supportive online community as a new home.  We vow to continue to partner in supporting these essential voices to advocate for deep and lasting change, ” said Jensine Larsen, Founder and CEO of World Pulse.

Grassroots women and girls deserve to be front and center in all development policy and decision-making processes. Only when they are seen as leaders and experts will we end poverty and gender inequality once and for all.