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International Development Center

International Development Center (the IDC) was established in 1975 - although the organization's global work dates back to 1940, when a delegation of African American women representing NCNW first visited Cuba. Since that time, NCNW has worked in 26 African nations.

The mission of the IDC is to extend expertise gained through NCNW's domestic community development work to help improve the social and economic status of women internationally, particularly in the rural areas of Africa. NCNW considers it essential that women-focused projects - designed in a framework sensitive to and respectful of local cultures - are part of all development assistance efforts.

The IDC's work reflects NCNW's principle of "twinning" - developing equal partnerships with national women's organizations to offer training and technical assistance for sustainable development compatible with local culture, needs and resources. In recent years, NCNW has implemented activities benefiting women in Eritrea, Benin and Senegal, as well as a one-time youth exchange program involving young people from South Africa, Uganda and the United States. Following are some highlights about the work of the IDC:

  • Through its consultative status at the United Nations, NCNW provides millions of African American women with a voice in the dialogue of the global NGO community on issues such as the Millennium Development Goals, and representation at United Nations conferences around the globe.

    NCNW has a long-term relationship with the United Nations Association of the United States of America, and holds a seat on its Board of Directors. UNA-USA is a center for innovative programs to engage Americans in issues of global concern, from education and HIV/AIDS to peace, security and international law. Its educational and humanitarian campaigns allow people to make a global impact at the local level.
  • NCNW recently completed the Partnership Efficacy Research Project (PERP) – a twenty year retrospective research study examining the efficacy of its development partnerships with women’s network organizations across Africa. Researchers traveled to Senegal, Eritrea, Benin and Egypt to document NCNW’s “twinning” relationships as envisioned and established by Dr. Dorothy Height, and review and compare achievements over the period spanning 1984 – 2004.
  • In Senegal, NCNW has established a Women’s Business Center in the coastal city of Saint-Louis. The WBC is a technology-focused small business incubator that provides both residential and non-residential clients with technical assistance, training and shared services. Supported by the World Bank’s infoDev (Information for Development) initiative and the Government of Senegal, NCNW’s incubator helps strengthen women's small and medium sized enterprises, and improve entrepreneurs’ access to training and credit. NCNW is also active in a global network of incubators leveraging information and communications technologies (ICT) and creating new South-South learning linkages.
  • In East Africa, NCNW partnered with the National Union of Eritrean Women in a reproductive health initiative and enterprise development project designed to strengthen the organization's institutional capacity by enhancing its ability to deliver services and empower women and their organizations.

  • Through its consultative status at the United Nations, which is managed through the NCNW New York State Regional & United Nations Office heat 777 United Nations Plaza, NCNW provides millions of African American women with a voice in the dialogue of the global NGO community on issues such as the Millennium Development Goals, and representation at United Nations conferences around the globe.
  • NCNW's collaborative microcredit programs have extended loans to more than 600 women in three countries, enabling them to start or expand small businesses that improve their families' income and well-being.
  • With its partners, NCNW established the Center for Law & Development for Women in Benin. This center provides legal support to women. Over 200 women have visited the center for assistance and guidance related to the legal and social ramifications of abuse and women's rights.

  • NCNW is one of only four national women's organizations selected as a "Connecting Working Women to International Development" grantee of One Shared World, a new national education campaign to help raise women's awareness of and support for America's global development assistance.


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National Council of Negro Women, Inc.• 633 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW• Washington, DC 20004
Tel. 202-737-0120 / Fax 202-737-0476