Back to News Releases

World Food Program USA Announces 2019 Grantees for the Catherine Bertini Trust Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C./March 8, 2019—World Food Program  USA is proud to announce two new grantees for the  Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education. 

Women and girls make up a majority of the world’s hungry people—mostly as a result of unequal access to education, resources and tools for economic and personal success.  By empowering women and girls with knowledge, training and leadership skills, the  Catherine Bertini Trust Fund for Girls’ Education is helping the world achieve zero hunger.  

This spring, the Fund awarded two organizations – Sacred Valley Project (SVP) in Peru and WISER International in Kenya – grants to further projects that align with its mission. 

Sacred Valley Project 

In the rural Andes mountains of Peru, indigenous girls walk an average of 5-6 hours to get to school, and only 4 in 10 graduate. The Sacred Valley Project was created to change that, by providing a dormitory and education center that nurtures and supports indigenous girls in their endeavor to attend school and adapt to the culture of an urban area 

“We  believe that when a girl is educated, apart from it being a fundamental human right, she will have better tools with which to shape her future,” says Christie Cutler, director of development at SVP.  “But we know it takes more than a degree for girls to achieve a life of equal opportunity.”  

SVP hosts workshops on topics ranging from human rights and gender equity to self-esteem and leadership. The Catherine Bertini grant will allow SVP to add 10 more girls to its incoming class.

WISER International  

In one of the hardest-to-reach areas of rural Kenya, girls face enormous hurdles to education. Poverty, HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence mean that  only 7 percent of girls finish high school.

Yet, 100 percent of WISER students have graduated, and 90 percent have gone on to higher education. The boarding school has been so successful, its grown from 30 to 210 students, providing shelter, clothes, healthcare and advanced classes. WISER’s work extends far into the community as well. It worked with a local partner to install the town’s first clean drinking water system that serves 500 community members, and run a sex education program that has benefitted 1,500 young people, reducing their risk of HIV and teen pregnancy.

With the Bertini grant, WISER will be able to house 30 more girls and provide a new, incoming class with shoes, socks, school uniforms, textbooks, school supplies and lab materials.

“We’re making a statement to girls that they deserve resources, they deserve to be invested in, and they deserve opportunities to be empowered,” says Zack Fowler, WISER’s executive director. “We simply believe that girls have the right to an education and deserve to have their voices heard.”


About World Food Program USA 

World Food Program USA is a 501(c)(3) charity that proudly supports the mission of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the leading humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Each year, WFP reaches more than 91 million people with lifesaving food assistance in 83 countries across the globe. By mobilizing individuals, lawmakers and businesses in the U.S. to advance the global movement to end hunger, World Food Program USA bolsters an enduring American legacy of feeding families in need around the world. 

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, a fund that supports innovative grassroots initiatives around the globe that boost access to training and educational opportunities for girls.  

For more information, contact:
Colleen Callahan,