World Food Program USA Announces Fall 2022 Grantees of the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund

Published October 16, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 16, 2022) – World Food Program USA announced today that Go Laadli and MAIA are the newest grantees of the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education. The fund supports innovative grassroots initiatives around the globe that boost girls’ access to training and educational opportunities. As women and girls make up 60 percent of the world’s hungriest people, empowering women and girls with  knowledge, training, and leadership skills allows women to achieve food security and reach their full potential.

The Bertini Fund has supported dozens of girl-centered education programs over the years, ensuring that thousands of young women can access the education they deserve.

Go Laadli

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.

Go Laadli recognizes the lack of societal support young women have in India to pursue their dreams and education. While India has the largest population of adolescent girls worldwide and has made strides in closing the education gap, gender biases still impact women’s career choices and leadership opportunities. Through programs like its Lead Like a Girl Challenge, Go Laadli creates career pathways for young women, helps them develop leadership skills, and provides a space for meeting mentors.

Given the extraordinary impact its mentoring program has had on its mentees, Go Laadli is keen to make it accessible to more participants. The Catherine Bertini Trust Fund will help them take steps in that direction. With this grant, Go Laadli aims to scale the mentoring program and create a platform based on their successful WhatsApp messaging channel. The new platform will allow them to manage secure automated messaging between mentees and volunteer mentors. The mentees will be able to learn about different colleges and careers as well as access personal development modules through a bite-sized curriculum.


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.

MAIA shares in the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education’s belief that there is nothing more important than ensuring all girls receive an education. All development sectors improve exponentially when girls have access to education and can actively participate in society.

The effects of COVID-19 on Girl Pioneers’ education are significant: young girls are now entering MAIA’S 7th grade with a 2nd-grade reading level. MAIA’s Project Impulso provides year-long academic support in critical areas like technology, math, reading, and socio-emotional skills to ensure girls are prepared for secondary school. Through the daily program, girls gain the academic momentum to continue their education beyond elementary school and succeed professionally. This grant will support Project Impulso and help girls build that academic foundation.

When speaking about the grant, General Director of MAIA Andrea Coché Mendoza said, “Our partnership with the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund empowers generations of Indigenous women and girls for success in the 21st century through education, socioemotional development, family engagement, and opportunity. Together we are creating a more equitable and just Guatemala and world.”


About World Food Program USA  

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

World Food Program USA, a 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, DC, proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme by mobilizing American policymakers, businesses and individuals to advance the global movement to end hunger. Our leadership and support help to bolster an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. To learn more about World Food Program USA’s mission, please visit

About the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education

After winning the World Food Prize in 2003, Catherine Bertini, the former executive director for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), recognized an opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for women’s empowerment. Bertini used her winnings to establish the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education. This fund supports innovative grassroots initiatives around the globe that boost girls’ access to training and educational opportunities.

Media Contact:  
Abigail Seiler
Senior Manager, Public Relations
World Food Program USA