There’s a lot of talk about helping the girls and women of the developing world, but there’s not a lot of money to back it up.
According to a 2014 report from the United Nations Population Fund, “less than two cents [of] every international development dollar is spent on an adolescent girl.”
The Maverick Collective hopes to change that breakdown. It’s a philanthropic organization that was publicly launched this week at the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen. Its 14 members, all women, have each contributed at least $1 million to fund a specific project in the developing world that tackles a women’s health issue: domestic violence, maternal health, cervical cancer. The goal is to come up with projects that get good results, then build them up to a bigger scale.
And it’s not just about writing a check. Each donor is involved with the project she is sponsoring. The women have traveled to the countries where the project is going on and are tracking its progress.
The group’s CEO is Kate Roberts, who was a top advertising executive before becoming senior vice president of the nonprofit PSI — Population Services International. The co-chairs are Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, who is also the co-founder, and Melinda Gates. (As our readers may know, the Gates Foundation is a funder of NPR.)
We spoke with Roberts in Copenhagen to learn more about this new organization. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
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