catherine bertini


The mission of the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education is to improve access to training and education for girls by supporting innovative efforts to reach and empower girls.

Catherine Bertini

As the host of this initiative, WFP USA stewards the evolution of the Fund based on Ms. Bertini’s vision. Catherine Bertini was the driving force behind reform of WFP from 1992 to 2002, when she served as executive director. After winning the World Food Prize in 2003 for her contributions to food security, Ms. Bertini used her $250,000 reward to start the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education.

Past Award Recipients

Lamia Afghan Foundation is a volunteer-powered nonprofit that helps the people of Afghanistan through humanitarian aid, educational opportunities and vocational trainings.

Galkayo Educational Centre for Peace and Development: In Somalia, the Galkayo Educational Centre for Peace and Development (GECPD) aims to promote education for women and children, strengthen women’s access to income-generating opportunities and healthcare, and protect the physical, psychological and social well-being of the girls and women.

Go Laadli’s mission is to empower young women to become problem solvers, change-makers, and leaders. To that end, the organization invests in girls’ education, provides mentoring and leadership opportunities, and catalyzes changes in social attitudes.

MAIA is an organization led by Indigenous women for Indigenous women and girls. Launched in 2017, MAIA’s Impact School was Central America’s first school designed to connect Indigenous Mayan girls with education opportunities. MAIA calls their students “Girl Pioneers” because many are the first in their families to continue their education and break the cycle of generational poverty.

Lamia Afghan Foundation is an all-volunteer nonprofit dedicated to helping the children and disadvantaged people of Afghanistan by providing humanitarian aid, educational opportunities, and vocational training that will create opportunities for the next generation of Afghans that were unavailable or out of reach for their parents.

Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation
Founded in 2007 by humanitarian, social innovator and Afghan native Razia Jan, Razia’s Ray of Hope is supported by a global team of women leaders and visionaries committed to peace. The Foundation knows that community-based, culturally aware education is a critical pathway toward meaningful change for future generations, Razia’s Ray of Hope provides young Afghans with the opportunity to learn in a safe, nurturing environment.

Jeneba Project was founded on the belief that Sierra Leonean girls deserve an equal right to quality education. Co-founder Joseph Kaifala, recently named a 2021 Ford Global Fellow, started the Jeneba Project to provide high-quality educational opportunities to adolescent girls in Sierra Leone and pave a way for them to forge a brighter future.

Girls Education Collaborative’s (GEC) mission in Tanzania is to bring social change through the power of girls education and gender equality. The Collaborative envisions a gender-equal world where all girls have a seat in the classroom and are no longer barred from education simply because of their gender identity. In 2017, GEC opened the Kitenga Secondary School for Girls (KSSG) with 45 students. Today, that number has grown to 130 students across four grade levels, with the first class graduating in December 2020. Not one student entered into marriage. Instead, every Secondary School graduate pursued their studies and continued on to the next level of education.

Her Future Coalition: Located in India, this organization is on a mission to provide education and a “full circle” of services to high-risk girls and survivors of gender-based violence so they can remain independent and pursue their dreams. Since 2005, Her Future Coalition has worked with survivors of human trafficking and gender-based violence, helping free thousands of girls through long-term, intensive programs including education, vocational training, employment and shelter. Her Future Coalition has been so successful that it was internationally recognized as part of Michelle Obama’s Global Girls Alliance.

With the grant from the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund, Her Future Coalition is launching a new project in Kolkata offering computer training, intensive English instruction, and entrepreneurship and business skills training to survivors and vulnerable girls in red-light areas.

Speak Up For The Poor, located in Bangladesh, was founded in 2004 to provide legal protection for girls who had been trafficked into sexual abuse and exploitation. Today, programs include educating girls in poverty to address a root cause of their vulnerability to exploitation. Speak Up’s mission is to create a new reality for these girls by transforming them into empowered community leaders. In 2012, Speak Up launched their Girls Education Program (GEP) with just 20 girls from three villages in Khulna Division, Bangladesh. Eight years later, the GEP now enrolls 1,405 girls from 30 villages.

Thanks to the grant from the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund, Speak Up will be able to expand their GEP program and launch The Parent Meetings project – a monthly community meeting in the local villages where GEP operates.

Nurturing Minds: A nonprofit on a mission to educate Tanzanian girls who are poor, marginalized and at risk of becoming involved in exploitative forms of child labor. Since 2008, Nurturing Minds has provided financial and technical support to Secondary Education for Girls’ Advancement (SEGA) for the development and operation of a high-quality secondary boarding school for vulnerable girls in Morogoro.

The purpose of the SEGA Girls’ Secondary School is to foster the development of girls’ academic excellence, strong values, healthy self-esteem and independent thinking, with an emphasis on leadership, social responsibility and environmental care. Half of SEGA’s students are orphans, and the majority were forced to drop out of other schools due to extreme poverty. Thanks to SEGA, these girls are now able to continue their studies.

Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU): Works to advance educational and economic opportunities for young women and adolescent girls in urban slum areas of Kampala. It’s currently building a vibrant movement of girls through transformative leadership, skills development, and sexual and reproductive health education. GUIU envisions a gender-equitable world where girls thrive and lead. Through trainings and education, GUIU aims to equip girls with the social and personal competencies necessary to reach their full potential as leaders.

Donate to the Bertini Fund

To donate via U.S. mail, please make your check payable to World Food Program USA, add “Catherine Bertini Fund” to the memo and mail to:

World Food Program USA
1725 Eye Street NW, Suite 510
Washington, DC 20006

For more information about the Bertini Fund, please contact us at