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Fiorina Donates $500,000 To Islamic Women's Groups

Former HP CEO seeks to empower women in countries with large Muslim populations.

Carly Fiorina's 1-year-old charitable organization has chosen its first grant recipients.

The One Woman Initiative, a public-private initiative to empower women in countries with significant Muslim populations, announced Wednesday that it would give away more than $500,000 to five groups in Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. The grants will go to locally focused groups that aim to increase women's legal rights, political participation, and economic development.

Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, launched the One Woman Initiative on May 12, 2008, in an attempt to raise more than $100 million in five years for groups that help women in countries with high numbers of Muslims.

"These grants address the unique barriers women face -- barriers like gender inequity and lack of economic and political opportunity," Fiorina said in a statement. "Investments in women can lift entire families out of poverty, transform communities, and foster peace and prosperity. We are particularly sensitive to the potential of women in Muslim majority countries, at this watershed moment, when family and community stability can contribute to the peace and security we all seek."

The Kashf Foundation in Pakistan will receive $100,256 to help launch a rural microfinance program that targets women for developing agriculture and livestock-related products, crop insurance, and a mobile microfinance service.

The Association for Human and Environmental Development in Egypt will receive $95,000 for a Justice Initiative project to provide leadership training for women, raise awareness about women's constitutional rights, and encourage women's political participation.

The Group for Urban and Rural Development in India will receive $106,000 to increase women's access to economic opportunities through entrepreneurship training and job placement.

The Women's Bar Association in Azerbaijan will receive $96,000 to give women access to legal advice and training on issues related to women's rights, including domestic violence, trafficking, early marriage, and gender equality.

The Magbassa Kita Foundation in the Philippines will receive $124,500 for conflict prevention and peace building through skills training, workshops, and networking in the areas of conflict management and peace building.

"Partnerships such as this one are vital to enable new avenues of social and economic empowerment for women," U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) counselor Lisa Chiles said in a statement.

USAID, the U.S. State Department, and leading private-sector interests, helped launch the One Woman Initiative. CAFAmerica, a member of the Charities Aid Foundation International Network, is managing the funds raised for the group. "Many Muslim women today face the same barriers to female empowerment that existed a century ago: little access to education, domestic violence, and few or no legal rights," CAFAmerica CEO Susan Saxon-Harrold said in a statement. "However, in the past five years, due in large part to women's increasing activism and participation in all sectors of public life, this picture is changing."

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