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2013 World of Difference 100 Award Recipients | Page 6
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Mariliana Morales Berrios     Costa Rica      Non-Profit/NGO

Mariliana Morales is the Founder and Executive Director of the Fundacion Rahab, an NGO that fights against human trafficking and the commercial sex trade. The foundation provides women with the tools necessary to be able to better their lives. These tools include education, holistic counseling, individual and group counseling as well as teaching them many important job skills such as sewing, catering, beauty school, computer and English. The ladies are trained with the goal of starting their own business. The foundation works together with the main hospital in San Jose to also provide medical care for the victims. When Ms. Berrios started the foundation she began by herself, then one woman and now works with approximately 50 women weekly along with their families. At the foundation there are approximately 115 teens who also attend a weekly youth group. This youth group provides a mentoring program to help the teens stay-in-school. Many of the teenagers come from very rough neighborhoods throughout Costa Rica. At the foundation there is also a daycare provided so that the women are able to attend their courses and not have to worry about their children. The desire of Ms. Morales Berrios has always been to work with the entire family. Her main goal is to empower the women and given them a purpose in life. 

 Alessia Mosca       Italy       Public Service/Government

Alessia Maria Mosca is an Italian politician, a member of the Italy's Democratic Party and since 2013, Group Leader of the European Policies' Commission for her party. She was elected to Parliament in 2008. As a legislator, she focuses mainly on gender issues, welfare and employment. Together with Italian politician Lella Golfo, she was co-author of the "Golfo-Mosca" law, which bears her name, recently introducing gender quotas for boards of listed companies in Italy. She is also one of the main sponsors of the "Controesodo" law, a measure which facilitates the movement of young talent to and from Italy. In 2011, Ms. Mosca co-authored "Senza una donna", a dialogue on power, gender issues and rights in Italy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy from Cattolica University in Milan, a Master's degree in Diplomacy from the ISPI in Milan, a diploma in International Relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a PhD in Political Sciences from the University of Florence. Ms. Mosca has been an Aspen Junior Fellow and since 2009, she has been part of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum for Economy and Society. In 2010, she was listed among the Rising Talents by the Women's Forum for Economy and Society.

Kathleen Mulligan     United States of America       Entrepreneurship

While on a Fulbright grant to Kerala, India, Kathleen Mulligan taught a workshop at a shelter for victims of domestic violence and the sex trade run by the inspiring Beena Sebastian. When Ms Sebastian was asked at the end of the workshop what was needed most, she replied, "We need a vehicle. We need a way to rescue women and their children when we get desperate calls in the middle of the night.” From that conversation, the organization "Wheels for Women" was born. Kathleen and her husband David are professional actors, and that summer they produced a benefit cabaret in Holland, Michigan. They raised $4000 for Wheels for Women that night, enough to purchase a new auto rickshaw for the shelter. Since then they have produced three more cabarets at Ithaca College, raising another $4000. In 2011 Kathleen received an IIE New Leaders Group Award with a cash prize of $2500. To date, Wheels for Women has sponsored driver training and licensing for seven shelter residents and purchased a second rickshaw for the shelter. Auto rickshaws are used as taxis in Kerala, and this training provides women with the skills to move towards financial independence and away from their abusers. In the words of Bindhu, the first trainee of the program: ‘’The auto has been helpful to make frequent trips to Police Station and hospitals especially to take a sick resident at night, which happens very often. I also assisted in rescuing some victims from abuse, since I had gone through abuse in my past life, to help such victims gave me immense joy and satisfaction.” Ms. Sebastian says "Female auto rickshaw drivers are rare in Kerala, but we are starting a revolution!”

Catherine Munoz       United States of America       Corporate

Catherine Munoz has dedicated the majority of her adult life to empowering women in her community. For the past six years, as Associate Director, Knowledge Services, she has used her influence in corporate social responsibility to work on local community initiatives. Ms. Munoz spent five years co-facilitating a Domestic Violence support group where she helped survivors regain confidence, embrace their self-worth, and most importantly regain control of their lives in a safe way. Over the past two years, Catherine’s efforts have focused on "The Global Give Back Circle`, an initiative to transform young girls from disadvantaged educational backgrounds into social participation, community contribution, fulfillment, and financial independence. Since 2011, she has supported four corporate mentor events to increase awareness and secure over 100 mentors from the US to advise young women in Kenya. Ms. Munoz`s mentee currently attends the University of Nairobi and has secured a paid internship with KPMG Kenya. As a result of the program, and her hard work and dedication, she will likely gain a permanent position with the firm upon graduation. Ms. Munoz traveled to Kenya to meet her mentee in person for the first time and served as a panelist at the Annual Mentoring Ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya. Through her dedication to young women, Catherine Munoz will continue to impact lives, locally and globally.

Halima Namakula        Uganda       Community

Halima Namakula is the founding member of Women At Work International, a non-profit organization that helps to take commercial sex workers off the streets by creating job opportunities for them. The vision of Women at Work International is to improve the quality of life of women and children, helping them to overcome health issues in order to generate income. With the founding of Women at Work International in 2003, Ms. Namakula partnered with Program on Accessibility to health, Communication and Education (PACE) in 8 districts of Uganda, resulting in commercial sex workers moving off the street and learning basic measures to prevent HIV/AIDS. They also received key leadership and entrepreneurship training to improve their ability to earn a living. Many of these women go on to start their own businesses or form village farming groups and savings circles. Ms.Namakula also runs Hana Girls, a holiday camp for mentoring young women. Her latest project to empower women is the END-FISTULA PROGRAM. Fistula is a severe medical condition in which a hole develops between either the rectum and vagina or between the bladder and vagina as a result of lack of proper medical attention during child birth or as the result of sexual violence. She has mobilized funds to enable over 400 women to be treated countrywide and return to normal life.

Benedicta Nanyonga       Uganda         Non-Profit/NGO

When Benedicta Nanyonga quit her job at Bank of Uganda in 2001, many questioned why she would leave a stable job to go into the unknown. Today, at 65 years of age, she does not regret her decision. She started the Kinawataka Women’s Initiatives, a non profit organization whose mission is to empower girls and women of the Kinawataka slum in Kampala to become economically independent, socially responsible and focus on community development. Specializing in making handcrafts and jewelry using recycled drinking straws her initiatives have impacted more than 1200 families nationally. These unique products have transformed family’s incomes and livelihood hence their famous tagline "from trash to cash.” The women have formed savings and investment groups, taken their children to school, fed them well and above everything, have restored their image, self-esteem and purpose in life. Ms. Nanyonga’s work has been exhibited both locally and internationally and has won her several awards including The Investor of the Year Awards 2013 by Uganda Investment Authority, the President’s Export Award in 2008, the Lubogo Award for Community Involvement, the Lake Victoria Environment Award from UN Habitat in 2005 and an appointment as a member on the Regional Steering Committee of Great Lakes Initiatives of AIDS.

Marcela Navarro       United Kingdom        Corporate

Marcela Navarro is a highly motivated and dynamic senior business banker with a proven track record of delivering results in a multitude of international banking environments. She possesses in-depth corporate knowledge and experience, an innovative and entrepreneurial approach, excellent operational and execution skills alongside the capability to comprehend and align with the strategic aims. She is commercially astute, achieves results by identifying the way forward and engaging all stakeholders to make it a reality. Marcela is engaged with a number of organisations including the Global Banking Alliance for Women and she is the Chair of the WEConnect International European Advisory Board. WEConnect supports "supplier diversity” and Marcela has pro-actively driven this agenda forward in the UK by leading on the development of a Supplier Diversity and Inclusion Code of Conduct that was launched at Westminster in May 2013. This code is a commitment by corporate organisations to provide a level playing field for women-owned and other diverse/under-represented suppliers to strengthen market places, promote competitive advantage and enable business sustainability. The Code is guided by the principles of inclusion, development, compliance and continuous improvement. Ms. Navarro has been the driving force behind the design, development and launch of the Code which will significantly advance diversity and increasing business opportunities for female business owners, enabling them to earn a living and make an economic impact.

Elphi Nelissen      The Netherlands        Entrepreneurship

Elphi Nelissen leads by example both as a woman business owner of Nelissen Engineering and as a professor of Building Sustainability and Dean of the Faculty at the Technical University Eindhoven (TUE) in the Netherlands. She has created a number of initiatives to encourage more girls and women to pursue an education in science and/or technology, has hired and promoted women wherever she can and is a role model for women in science and technology as President of VHTO, a national expert organization for girls/woman in science and technology. In 1991, at the age of 31, Elphi started her engineering company, convinced that she could make a difference with an integrated view on engineering, design and execution in a long term sustainable manner. Today her company successfully employs more than 40 professionals and many of them are women. In 2009 Elphi became professor of Engineering and Architecture at the TUE and since 2011 she has been the Dean of the Engineering faculty, the only woman Dean at the university. On "Girls in Science” over 7000 girls visit tech companies, labs and universities to show them the attraction of a future career in science or technology. As an active member of the Association of Engineers she coaches and mentors many women.      

Deborah Nixon        Canada         Education

Deborah Nixon has had great impact in helping women in gaining control over their financial affairs. She helps them to understand their emotional connection to money and how gaining control of their money will help them to gain control over their lives. By helping women uncover their underlying motivations regarding money, she takes them on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. By sharing her personal story, she serves as an inspiration to other women and writes regularly about women, money and emotion for Huffington Post. In addition, she holds workshops to help women get out of debt and become financially independent and educates financial professionals in dealing with women clients. She also helps other financial professionals learn how to effectively assist women clients and to further their economic empowerment, making the reach of her efforts far and wide.

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