This charity, which is supported by the WI, involves women helping women. It works with 420 member societies and affiliates and represents more than nine million women in 75 countries.

Its aim is to raise the standard of living for rural women and their families through education, training and community development programmes covering areas such as nutrition, health, income generation, sustainable agriculture, energy, water and sanitation, maternal and reproductive health.

It gives practical help to locally-based groups by setting up income-generating schemes, supporting educational opportunities for women and girls and helping to eliminate gender discrimination.

The charity also gives rural women a voice at an international level through links with the United Nations.

Current projects range from enabling a self-help group in Kenya to teach more than 100 women the art of beekeeping, to giving 150 women in Papua New Guinea a six-month course in basic literacy and numeracy. After this they will spend a month learning how to sew and have a week’s training in financial literacy, which should help them to find a job and make their own clothes, improving family finances as a result.

Surrey Federation fully supports ACWW projects, such as the Deepam Trust which helped improve the lives of 250 Dalit women (a caste considered ‘untouchable’) in India through training sessions on reducing malnutrition, food safety awareness, basic health, sustainable cooking methods and growing food for the family at home. Their home gardens resulted in a 75% cut in spending on vegetables for 50% of the women, and enabled over half of the women to double their household income. They are also now much better informed about good nutritional practices, health and food safety.

WIs are asked to make cheques payable to ACWW or Associated Country Women of the World and send to ACWW, A04 Parkhall, 40 Martell Road, London, SE21 8EN. On the reverse of the cheque,  WI’s are asked to write ‘Surrey Federation Projects’.