aka WLP   |   Bethesda, MD   |  http://www.learningpartnership.org


Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace is an international, nongovernmental, charitable organization (501c3) that works in partnership with nearly 20 self governing national and regional organizations located in the Global South dedicated to women's advancement. WLP's mission is to transform power relations and promote justice, equality, peace, and sustainable development by strengthening the global feminist movement. Our primary objectives are to increase the number of women taking on leadership and decisionmaking roles at family, community, and national levels; to promote a qualitative change in the practice of leadership to enhance democratic practices, ethical principles, and cultural values; and to improve the effectiveness of the women's movement.

Ruling year info


Founder, President & CEO

Ms. Mahnaz Afkhami

Executive Director

Ms. Lina Abou-Habib

Main address

4343 Montgomery Avenue Ste 201

Bethesda, MD 20814 USA

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NTEE code info

Women's Rights (R24)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (S01)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

WLP was founded in 2000 by Mahnaz Afkhami in response to the expressed needs of a network of NGO leaders and grassroots activists from the Middle East North Africa region who had been working together since the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference for Women. On their recommendation, WLP organized a dialogue in June 2000 for 15 women NGO leaders from Muslim majority societies to identify themes and priority areas for the newly established organization. The participants concluded that it was of the utmost importance to redefine concepts of leadership and power to reflect women's values; develop culture-specific curriculum that could be adapted to different societies; and provide training to help women
achieve positions of leadership and decision making in the public sphere.
Women's Learning Partnership International in Bethesda, Maryland, serves as the secretariat for the partnership to address these needs.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Curriculum and Resource Development

We collaborate with our partners to develop
and disseminate inclusive, culturespecific,
multilingual resources and learning
tools on participatory leadership, political participation, evaluation, organizational capacity building, youth leadership, combatting VAW, ICTs for advocacy, and
expanding women's human rights in transitional societies, among other topics, and we make this curriculum freely available online. WLP also is creating a webbased open and interdisciplinary library for information about political, social, and cultural movements to advance the rights of women worldwide. Our hope is that these materials will provide guidance and inspiration for future activism by documenting the leaders, milestones, and strategies that have brought us to the present. We have collected interviews, case studies, oral histories, event recordings, and analysis of issues important to women today, in multiple languages.

Population(s) Served

We implement trainings on women's political participation, navigating democratic transitions, participatory leadership for women, program evaluation,
organizational capacity building, women's rights advocacy, combatting VAW, and the use of ICTs for active citizenship, reaching thousands of women and youth
each year at the local, national, and regional levels. These workshops target individuals seeking ways to engage more deeply in activism, and trainers who go
on to lead their own training workshops using WLP curricula and methodology. All WLP trainings are dialoguebased and interactive, drawing on participatory
leadership methodology.

Population(s) Served

Through our online and in person organizational capacity building trainings, we introduce and strengthen our partners' and collaborating organizations' monitoring and
evaluation and financial management skills, enhance their ability to utilize technology to promote women's rights, create platforms that help raise the
visibility of our partners' work, and facilitate transnational collaboration amongst partners in order to share organizational lessons learned and best practices. WLP
helps to strengthen the capacity of partner organizations with resources, funding, and technology so that they can more effectively carry out their work educating, organizing, and inspiring women to lead.

Population(s) Served

WLP mobilizes women and youth at the grassroots level to affect social change and legal reform for gender equitable societies. We strengthen grassroots, national, and international campaigns that support universal human rights, and combat violence against
women; promote democratic governance and peacebuilding; and that increase the capacity of marginalized, moderate civil society activists to effectively engage in prominent networks with opinion leaders, policymakers, and academics. In 2016 we launched a research-based advocacy project, Family Law Reform to
Challenge Gender-based Violence. This global initiative will provide grassroots actors with resources and strategies to address regressive legal codes and norms
that affect their lives.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Women's Learning Partnership (WLP) is dedicated to women's leadership and empowerment. Working in more than 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, WLP produces culture-specific curriculum in 20 languages and implements participatory leadership training to empower grassroots women. WLP's primary objectives are: a) to increase the number of women taking on decision-making roles at family, community, and national levels, and more importantly, to qualitatively change the practice of leadership, promoting decision-making styles that are participatory, inclusive, and dialogue-based, and b) to improve the effectiveness of women's organizations and feminist movements by strengthening the capacity of grassroots organizations.

WLP achieves its objectives through the following strategies and programmatic areas:
Curriculum Development and Training: We develop and implement participatory, inclusive, horizontal, and culture-specific leadership learning tools that foster women's agency and participation in the private and public spheres.Specific programs for women's empowerment we have developed or are in the process of jointly developing include participatory leadership, information and communication technologies (ICTs), political participation, organizational capacity building and evaluation, and advocacy against gender-based violence. Partner organizations help tailor each curriculum to the unique cultural context and translate it into the local language. Established and respected grassroots partner organizations implement our programs through workshops, training of trainers institutes, and online trainings such as eCourses and eIntensives in their settings with support from WLP. ; Capacity Building: WLP strengthens partners' existing organizational infrastructure through institutional development, evaluation system training, management skill building, and ICT development. We help national and regional partners to implement empowerment programs and assist in monitoring and reporting. We help partners build their fundraising capacity by establishing connections, providing information on potential funders, and creating platforms that raise the visibility of partners' work; and Advocacy and Networking: To ensure that we build strong civil societies guided by tolerant voices, we strategically position activists in networks to amplify moderate women's voices needed to help shift inequitable power distribution and advocate for women's rights and democracy. WLP helps strengthen the women's movement by connecting activists, networks, and movements that are not currently linked to each other. We also take on leadership roles to bridge women's rights networks with other relevant policy networks. It is important that grassroots women's organizations work autonomously in developing and implementing advocacy strategies in their settings. We increase the visibility of their diverse strategies and strengthen the movement by sharing knowledge of these strategies through the media, ICTs, translation of texts, and through international gatherings. Through our interactive conferences, alternative media, and web-based portal, we have become a place where activist and grassroots women connect as well as a space where South-South and South-North dialogue occurs.

WLP is totally unique among international human rights organizations in that we are operating exactly the sort of participatory, inclusive, learning model we espouse. Our unique partnership model allows organizations in different countries and regions to share knowledge and resources, and maximize their impact locally, nationally, and internationally. The WLP Partnership brings together women of different nationalities, races, religions, and socioeconomic classes to exchange information and strategies on advancing women's rights. The Partnership is based
on a relationship of intense and continuous communication and ongoing
cooperation in the conception, development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of joint programs. Participation and mutual respect form the foundation of our interactions. The result is the production of dozens of culturally adapted and translated educational resources, international and regional peer to peer mentoring and support, South-South dialogues on best practices, and the utilization of the most cutting edge social networking strategies by grassroots women in the Global South. For us, the means is also a way to reach our end of empowering women to lead, in order to create a more just and equitable world.

Over the past fifteen years, we have trained more than 30,000 women, men, and youth (with a particular focus on women and girls) in participatory leadership and democratic participation, who have in turn reached hundreds of thousands of individuals in their families, neighborhoods, and workplaces; we have spearheaded advocacy campaigns, civic organizations, small businesses, and human rights reforms that have improved the lives of millions more. Through targeted capacity and skills building activities, WLP has enhanced women's and civil society organizations' institutional, strategic, and tactical capabilities to influence decision making at the international, regional, national, and community levels. Because of our work, the Partnership has become an internationally recognized force for freedom, equality, and democracy in societies that, culturally, remain rooted in nondemocratic systems and social norms. From the vantage point of 2017, current events that have shaken the foundations of global security and stretched international humanitarian aid to the breaking point have strongly influenced our own thinking about how we can have the greatest transformative impact over the next five years. We are excited about building on our past culture specific strategies to address pressing global needs among refugee communities, women victims of violence under discriminatory laws, and civil society organizations in the global south threatened by authoritarian rule and violent extremism.



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 10/08/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Dr. Thoraya Obaid

Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund

Leila Ahmed

Harvard University Divinity School

Jacqueline Pitanguy

Cidadania, Estudo, Pesquisa, Informação e Ação (Cepia)

Inger Prebensen

Independent (banking)

Marian Wright Edelman

Children's Defense Fund

Mahnaz Afkhami

Women's Learning Partnership (WLP)

Yakin Erturk

Council of Europe, Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT)

Barbara Y. Phillips

Programme on Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights International

Ann E Mayer

University of Pennsylvania

Abena Busia

Rutgers University

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes