AMPLIFY Women’s Voices, AMPLIFY Impact, AMPLIFY Community

Komera is a founding member of AMPLIFY, a brand-new collective of small, grassroots organizations supporting the wellbeing and societal advancement of young women in Eastern Africa! Komera Country Director Dativah Mukamusonera is a founding member, alongside visionary leaders at organizations like Jifundishe in Tanzania, Girls Lead Africa in Uganda, Dandelion Africa in Kenya!

 All of these organizations are asking the questions, “Why aren’t the community leaders working with girls in East Africa front and center in the decision-making process, and how can we create better channels of access for these visionary leaders to carry out their work?”

As the first of its kind, AMPLIFY is changing the way we think about scale and impact. AMPLIFY is a collective of community-driven organizations collaborating to create a community-based alternative to traditional development scale.

Focused on building agentic capacity in girls, AMPLIFY utilizes intentional collaboration to share best practices, develop community-driven metrics and create large scale joint advocacy campaigns in order to accentuate the unparalleled impact that community-driven organizations have in transforming the lives of adolescent girls.” 

From its inception, AMPLIFY has listened to community leaders. The women and men at the helm at each of the 17 partner organizations are strong advocates and deeply understand the unique challenges and strengths of their communities. These organizations are often siloed, so by creating a space for sharing their insights and metrically examining their impact, AMPLIFY is tapping into a new kind of strength that can only come from intentional long-term collaboration. The product? A strong case for why, no matter the context, “Agency in Young Women” is a crucial outcome.

Komera Country Director and AMPLIFY founding partner, Dativah sees AMPLIFY’s role as raising the voice of CBOs “because they know really exactly what is happening for the girls; we live with girls, we can testify, and we are really the best in our communities to support them.” Dativah, who has been working with Komera since 2014, has seen a great deal of growth in Komera over the years, and she is excited for the prospect of sharing information, best practices, and challenges with similar organizations in the region. Joining AMPLIFY has helped Komera to become better known in the area and has allowed Dativah to share her knowledge with other strong female leaders. From attending workshops together, she is learning from these women who tackle similar challenges in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. Dativah explained that by sharing with other CBO leaders, she has expanded her concept of what is possible at Komera!

One of the most exciting aspects of this collaboration is that while each organization works with young women in Eastern Africa, the contexts are completely distinct. In this way, the collective mindset enhances knowledge- sharing and a deeper understanding of the various issues that young women face in different places. For example, Komera’s work is predominantly with rural young women in Rwanda, a country that continues to reconcile the past of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi with the present. Therefore, Komera must incorporate this broader historical understanding and healing into our work of unlocking the potential of young women. This is remarkably distinct from the work being done by Girl Up Initiative Uganda, which works largely with urban youth in Kampala to dismantle harmful gender stereotypes. Their focus is mainly on ending teenage pregnancy.

The strengths and challenges of each organization are different, but the end goal is the same: how do we support women to fully realize their own potential? The partners in AMPLIFY examine each specific context and then generalize best practices so they can be shared with one another abundantly. In turn, the tool developed jointly by the 17 founding partners can be tailored to measure the ways Agency manifests in the distinct populations each organization serves.

Another great benefit of AMPLIFY is increased access to funding. CBOs historically have struggled to qualify for large grants since the outcomes they produce are too small to be considered. AMPLIFY is changing the game by creating a shared matrix for each CBO to measure development of Agency in Young Women. These partners can then combine their outcomes to demonstrate their critical impact that extends beyond their immediate catchment area. These women have always been strong advocates for the communities they work with; now they have the numbers that will translate globally to back up their outstanding work. By sharing strategies and combining outcomes from all organizations into one framework, they are attracting the attention of bigger grant makers and donors to continue their critical work!

For Dativah, joining AMPLIFY has also been a great opportunity for professional development. She has stepped into her role as leader of Komera more fully, leaning into how she tells the Komera story, understanding how to network & attract big donors, and strategizing for the future of her organization. She participated in the creation of the AMPLIFY board, decided on how the funding should be divided amongst the partners, and established the mission and vision statements for AMPLIFY. Now she is using these skills to effectively manage the grant from Comic Relief when she returns to Komera!

AMPLIFY didn’t come together overnight. The investors, researcher and founding partners began the process of developing the organization and framework over a year ago. They have since met up in Kenya three times, Tanzania twice, and one time in Rwanda; at each meeting the focus has been a distinct step on the journey to build this unique tool. Moving forward, the collective is deciding how to invite new partner organizations into the fold, refining the efficacy of the measuring tool, and continuing their knowledge- sharing practices.

We are so proud to be a part of this revolutionary partnership, and we look forward to seeing this grassroots movement continue to foster Agency in Women globally!

Margaret Butler