PWRDF partners with local organizations to foster a more holistic and inclusive approach to development and humanitarian efforts. This ensures that projects are effective, sustainable and respectful of the communities and people they aim to assist. Local partners have established relationships of trust within their communities. This trust is essential for effective communication, engagement and successful project implementation. Local partners understand values and sensitivities, which is crucial for ensuring that programs are culturally appropriate and respectful. By involving local partners and community members, they become empowered to take ownership of development initiatives. This participatory approach ensures the voices of community members are heard.
PWRDF partners with small and large organizations rooted in community, who are faith-based or secular.
The number of people participating in PWRDF development and relief projects for 2022-2023:
Our programs focus on:
- Food security and climate change
- Empowering women and girls
- Indigenous communities
- Disaster Response and Humanitarian Relief
- Supporting Refugees
Read our current Programs and Partnerships report and more information about each program area below.
PWRDF Program Focus
- In 2020, nearly 292,000 women died from preventable causes, related to pregnancy and childbrith. That’s 800 women a day. Almost 95% of these deaths occurred in developing countries.
- Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest neonatal mortality rate in the world (27 deaths per 1,000 live births) with 43% of global newborn deaths.
- Africa had the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rate of any continent, with just 37.2% of the population receiving at least one vaccine dose as of March 2023.
Poor health and inadequate healthcare services are a challenge across developing countries. The causes of poor health and inadequate healthcare services encompass a range of issues, from socio-economic disparities and lack of education, to systemic weaknesses in healthcare infrastructure. Communities with limited resources often have poor access to clean water, sanitation and nutritious food, leading to a higher prevalence of diseases and malnutrition. Additionally, inadequate investment in healthcare systems, a shortage of healthcare professionals, and insufficient medical facilities contribute to subpar health services.
Without adequate health services, social systems are strained and the economy falters; untreated illnesses hinder workforce participation and place a burden on families and communities. Vulnerable or at-risk populations – such as children, pregnant women, the elderly, and marginalized groups – are disproportionately affected. Children’s growth and cognitive development can be compromised by malnutrition and insufficient access to essential healthcare. Pregnant women may face heightened risks during childbirth without proper medical attention. The elderly often suffer from neglect in healthcare services, and marginalized communities encounter barriers due to discrimination, poverty and limited access to information. Comprehensive strategies are needed to address poor health and inadequate health services. These include investing in healthcare infrastructure, training healthcare professionals, promoting preventive measures, and ensuring equitable access to quality healthcare for all.
Food Security and Climate Change
- There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farmer households globally, amounting to upwards of 2 billion people. Most small-scale farmers cultivate less than five acres and they make up a significant portion of the world’s poor who live on less than $2 a day. Improving the lives of this huge group is a priority in efforts to end global poverty.
Food security is intricately linked to climate change, as its causes and consequences intersect in a complex web of challenges that impact individuals, communities, and nations. The causes of food security issues in the context of climate change include changing weather patterns, extreme events like droughts and floods, and the resulting disruptions to agricultural production. Rising temperatures can lead to reduced crop yields and altered growing seasons, affecting the availability and affordability of food. These factors particularly impact vulnerable populations, including small-scale farmers, rural communities, and low-income households.
Shortages in food supply can lead to price spikes, making it difficult for already marginalized individuals to access adequate nutrition. Malnutrition, especially among children, can lead to stunted growth and developmental issues. Additionally, forced migration and conflicts can arise from competition over dwindling resources, intensifying social and political tensions. The effects ripple through economies as well, hindering sustainable development and exacerbating poverty.
Populations in developing countries are particularly vulnerable because they have limited resources and capacity to adapt to climate-induced changes. Smallholder farmers, who rely heavily on rain-fed agriculture, often bear the brunt of climate-related disruptions. Women, who play a critical role in food production and household nutrition, also face unique challenges due to gender inequalities. Indigenous communities, already connected to their environments, can find their traditional ways of life disrupted by changing climatic conditions. Malnutrition, hunger, and related health issues are immediate outcomes, particularly for children, pregnant women, and the elderly.
Empowering Women and Girls
- About 30% women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
- More than 650 million women in the world today were married before they were 18 years old. Every year, at least 12 million girls are married before they reach the age of 18. In the least developed countries, 40% of girls are married before age 18, and 12% of girls are married before age 15.
Gender inequalities, deeply entrenched in social structures and norms, arise from a complex interplay of historical, cultural, economic, and political factors. The causes of gender inequalities include discriminatory practices, patriarchal systems, unequal access to education and healthcare, and stereotypes that reinforce unequal roles and expectations for men and women. Such disparities have profound consequences that reverberate throughout society. Women and girls are disproportionately affected, facing restricted opportunities, limited access to decision-making roles, and a higher likelihood of experiencing violence, harassment, and exploitation.
Gender inequalities perpetuate cycles of poverty, as women are often relegated to lower-paid jobs and have less control over financial resources. This not only undermines individual well-being but also hampers overall economic growth and development. Moreover, gender inequalities hinder social progress, as excluding women from leadership and decision-making processes leads to incomplete perspectives and solutions. The impact goes beyond women; society as a whole loses out on the talents, skills, and contributions of half its population. Addressing gender inequalities requires systemic change, including legal reforms, education and awareness campaigns, economic empowerment programs, and efforts to challenge and reshape harmful cultural norms. By dismantling these inequalities, societies can harness the potential of all individuals, fostering inclusive development and a more just and equitable world.
- Approximately 237,420 (13.1%) Indigenous People reported in the 2021 Canadian census they could speak an Indigenous language well enough to conduct a conversation, which is a decline of 10,750 speakers from the 2016 census.
The loss of culture and language among Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) on Turtle Island (Canada) is a regrettable consequence of historical and ongoing colonial practices. For generations, Indigenous communities faced aggressive assimilation efforts aimed at eradicating their cultural identities. One of the most significant impacts has been the suppression of Indigenous languages, which are not only vehicles of communication but also repositories of cultural knowledge, history, and spirituality.
Residential schools forcibly separated Indigenous children from their families and communities, where they were forbidden to speak their native languages and practice their traditions. This cultural severance disrupted the transmission of traditional knowledge from elders to younger generations, impeding the intergenerational transfer of values, customs, and wisdom. Moreover, the loss of language has ramifications for self-identity, as languages encapsulate unique worldviews and perspectives. The revitalization of Indigenous languages is now recognized as crucial for cultural preservation and healing, as it empowers communities to reconnect with their heritage, strengthen their cultural bonds, and restore a sense of pride and belonging.
- In 2023, one in every 23 people in the world needs humanitarian assistance. This represents a record 339 million people, a significant increase from 274 million people at the beginning of 2022.
Humanitarian crises are multifaceted events driven by a complex interplay of factors that span from natural disasters to human-made conflicts and systemic vulnerabilities. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and droughts can wreak havoc on communities, causing widespread destruction of infrastructure, displacement of populations, and disruptions to essential services. Humanmade conflicts often result in violence, displacement, and loss of life, undermining social cohesion and economic stability. The consequences of these crises are far-reaching, affecting not only the immediate victims but also neighbouring regions and even global stability.
The most at-risk groups – including women, children, the elderly, and marginalized communities – tend to bear the brunt of these crises due to their limited access to resources, healthcare, and social support networks. Disrupted livelihoods, food shortages, and inadequate access to education and healthcare exacerbate their suffering. Additionally, humanitarian crises can lead to the erosion of governance structures and the breakdown of social systems, perpetuating a cycle of instability and making recovery efforts more challenging. In essence, the impacts of humanitarian crises ripple through societies, transcending borders and generations, and require collaborative and sustained efforts from governments, international organizations, and civil society to alleviate suffering, restore stability, and build resilience.
- At the end of 2022, as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order, there were 108.4 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Of these, 35.3 million are refugees, and of those, approximately 41% are under 18.
- 52% of all refugees come from just three countries: Syria (6.8 million; 19%), Afghanistan (5.7 million; 16%) and Ukraine (5.7 million; 16%)
The refugee crisis is a complex and urgent global issue with deeply rooted causes, and far-reaching impacts on various segments of society. The primary causes of the refugee crisis stem from conflicts, violence, persecution, and human rights abuses in different parts of the world. Wars, political instability, and ethnic or religious tensions force millions of people to flee their homes in search of safety and protection. Additionally, factors such as economic disparities, environmental degradation, and lack of opportunities in certain regions contribute to mass displacement.
The consequences of the refugee crisis are multifaceted, affecting individuals, families, host countries, and international stability. Refugees often endure perilous journeys, facing risks of human trafficking, exploitation, and loss of life. In host countries, strains on resources, infrastructure, and social services can lead to tensions between refugees and local populations. The impact of the refugee crisis is profound, particularly on the vulnerable populations affected. Women, children, the elderly, and those with disabilities face heightened risks, including gender-based violence, exploitation, and limited access to healthcare and education. Families are torn apart, cultures are disrupted, and futures are uncertain for millions of displaced individuals.