SWO Grants

Service Appreciation Grants

The Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action Service Appreciation Grants program established by Dr. Nahid Angha and is designed to honor and support the work of a woman or a women-led organization in rural neighborhoods. Nominations for honorees are solicited and invited solely by the Women in Action program. A panel of volunteer judges review nominations, and winners are announced in September of each year. Honorees receive $500-$1,000 from the program as a grant.  

Service Appreciation Grants honor and support those who have shown excellence in the following areas:

        • Significantly improving the quality of life of women through social programs: health care, employment, and conflict resolution

        • Advocating to reduce poverty among women

        • Improving gender equality in public and/or private life

        • Promoting women’s and girls’ right to access education

2023 Grant Honorees

Lilian Morsay and Peace Mothers, Sierra Leone. In partnership with US-based foundation Catalyst of Peace, Fambul Tok realized that after the war, women were confronted with the challenges of dealing with the effects of trauma related to gender-based violence, sexual assault, deprivation from poverty, and the lack of opportunities to rebuild their lives. During the post war reconciliation phase, community women were encouraged to organize themselves into formidable groups for progressive engagements that would have bearing on peaceful coexistence in their communicates, and to mobilize to give voice and support women to engage in livelihood initiatives that provide a platform for them to collectively thrive economically and help restore their dignity. At a gathering in 2009, women present decided to name the group Peace Mothers to serve as a women’s support network. Local chiefs and community leaders have shown a high level of willingness to support members of Peace Mothers to realize their leadership and economic potential in communities. The organization of women into Peace Mothers Groups in communities is key in the “fambul tok” philosophy of peace building in Sierra Leone. This grant supports Peace Mothers Groups in Benduma Village in Bagruwa Chiefdom Moyamba district in scaling up their community farming initiatives.

Solange Aquino, Portugal (honoree 2018, 2023), helps African immigrant families and children with a project to fight against poverty for a population of mostly African young girls, creating the “Youth on the Move” group, which developed volunteer activities and education within the community to care for small children while their mothers attended literacy classes. Solange has helped the members of the community with financial independence by helping them in creating and selling their art and jewelry. With the help of the WWWA 2018 grant, 32 were benefited (13 African women and 19 children).

Umayma, Malta. Umayma directs the Migrant Women’s Association Emergency Support Project in Malta. From January 2023 to the present, and with the Sufi Women Organization Service Appreciation Grant, the Migrant Women’s Association Malta (MWAM) has successfully provided social support to asylum-seeking and refugee women and their families in Malta. Over 25 percent of these women are victims of sexual or gender-based violence (SGBV) who have shared their stories with MWAM, while the rest could be at risk of SGBV, especially as they struggle to overcome poverty due to the fact that the majority of them are unemployed, married early, between the ages of 21-27 with more than three children, or have received less than a primary school education.

Ruth Nalyanya, Kenya (Honoree 2019, 2021, 2022, &2023). Through the grassroots-based Peace Path Development Initiative, Ruth operates at the village level with the mobilization of rural women from two villages in Kenya to undertake economic activities such as planting and harvesting crops of beans, maize and sugarcane. Ruth’s priority project for 2022 was chicken farming for meat with the members of the Eshirandala Mirembe and Wekhonye Women Group Initiative. Her work has made women less vulnerable to male manipulation, as poverty in the households has been linked to wide-spread women- and gender-based violence. The objectives are to strengthen the role of the women in their communities and promote the dignity of the women and girls through sustainable economic empowerment activities. The WWWA grants from 2019, 2021, 2022 benefited 40 women from the two villages each year.

Munkaila Amina Sanders, Ghana. The Yendi Project, a grassroots project organized by Munkaila “Amina” Sanders serves women in the Ghanaian northern region (Dagomba, Mamprusi, and Konkomba areas) where bread is a staple food, but is scarce and expensive in these rural areas. The decreased access to bread is an ongoing issue, and girls walk miles to buy daily bread for the village. Amina’s Yendi Project (named for the village Amina is from) teaches baking skills by holding classes and helping with the construction of ovens in the villages for selected girls and women. 12 Women and girls benefited from the WWWA Grant in the 4-day classes. This project has the potential to nutritionally affect the lives of many people and to be transformative for the people of the villages around Yendi town.

2022 Grant Honorees

Denan Project, Ethiopia. A micro loan program through the Denan Project, whose volunteer members secure necessary resources for highly disadvantaged people. This microloan is for a group of 10 women who help impoverished communities become self-sustainable with resources to provide health care, education, and other critical assistance.

Tecla Namachanja, Kenya (Honoree 2021 & 2022). Through the Shalom Centre for Counseling and Development, a Kenyan NGO, that provides five-day healing circle meetings for young, affected women in the Chelebei, Chongeiwo location of Mt. Elgon, Tecla has been responding to relational, structural, and traumatic needs of women in communities affected by violent conflicts. These women are identified and mobilized by a peace mother and a member of the local peace committee. The WWWA grants awarded to Tecla benefited 40 participants for 2021 and 2022 in each of the healing circles most affected from their target group. These five-day healing circle meetings create and hold trusted and safe spaces for these women to become aware of their dark traumatizing past, and to confront and process it as they embark on their healing journey.

Past Grant Honorees

Jane Keji Alex, South Sudan, has a passion and strong work ethic that moved her to the social workspace where she serves rural communities to uplift and empower HIV positive women and children who have been affected by the protracted war in South Sudan. WWWA grants have helped her to support women through adult education and enroll girls to join schools that provide vocational training for girls who have gone through war trauma, including rape. Jane founded Wipe My Tears Foundation (WTF) together with a diverse group of other rural women from different ethnicities and religions. These are women who have hope in change and have experienced different challenging situations during and after war.

Fatima Sheriff Alhassan, Nigeria, courageously promotes and advocates for displaced women and children as a result of insurgency in the Borno state. With help of the Sufi Women Organizations’s WWWA grant, Fatima founded a free school, which began with 20 students in 2016 and grew to benefit 663 women and children. Fatima has played a vital role in mobilizing the community to learn through education and promoting good nutrition, hygiene, and awareness of sexual abuse.

Itaf Awad, Dabbouriya, Galilee helped establish the Dabbouriya Village Forum of Women, a committee of 15 women within a wider community who work on issues of social justice and equality in order to promote the status of the community’s women. Itaf’s voluntary work in Jenin helps women facing very difficult conditions given the Israeli military occupation and its impact on impoverishing their community. She has created an environment for compassionate listening by holding stress-related exercise workshops giving direct and immediate help for the women most in need. The 2018 WWWA grant has benefited 45 Palestinian women and in 2019 benefited 55 Palestinian women.

Isabelle Kamariza, Rwanda, is the Founder and President of Solid’Africa, a non-profit organization operating in Rwanda since 2011. Her mission is to help vulnerable patients in public hospitals by providing food, hygienic products and other services, with the goal to accelerate the patient recovery process, preserve patient dignity, and promote equity. She was the recipient of the Young African Women Leaders Forum Award, a CYRWA (Celebrating Young Rwandan Achievers) awardee. Sufi Women Organization grants helped to provide basic needs, food and water to patients in one of Rwanda’s hospitals.

Dima Samman, Jerusalem, is a Palestinian-Jerusalemite novelist and human rights activist. Dima was born and raised in occupied Jerusalem. She is currently the Director General of the Palestinian Ministry of Education. She believes that through education women can change their lives, and that young men must be educated in order to change society toward the better. The WWWA grant awarded to Dima was used to provide retreats to help a great number of women to learn to express their problems, their challenges and feelings through writing.


Thank you for your interest in our grant nomination process. To learn more about what we fund and support, please review the overview above. We accept nominations by invitation only. For any additional questions please contact the International Association of Sufism.

There is a 2 step nomination process. Step one (1) is to complete the general nomination.