Hogan Lovells: Empowering girls and women

Marcelline Dohami received loans for her grocery stall business in Benin from Lendwithcare, which is supported by Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells works to solve the toughest legal issues in major industries and commercial centres around the world. The firm’s Citizenship programme uses the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to identify and develop initiatives and policies, with a particular focus on helping to achieve SDG 5: Gender Equality through their global Empowering Girls and Women Initiative.

In January 2014, Hogan Lovells chose to support Lendwithcare, CARE’s online microloan platform, through their global matched giving initiative, Touch.

There are 1.1 billion women worldwide without access to finance. Lendwithcare allows individuals across the world to provide microloans to poor entrepreneurs in developing countries at the click of a button. Entrepreneurs get the investment they need and repay the loan over time. Once repaid, lenders can withdraw their money or reinvest. Hogan Lovells partnered with Lendwithcare to help female entrepreneurs around the world lift themselves and their families out of poverty by making loans to entrepreneurs and providing the organisation with pro bono legal advice to expand their reach.

The partnership raised £324,000 to assist more than 3,500 entrepreneurs in 11 developing countries, with nearly three in four of the loans being made to women. More than 19,000 people in poor communities were helped to escape poverty.

In the final year of the partnership Hogan Lovells and CARE  developed an innovative advocacy and policy programme focused on gender equality that aimed to give voice to the concerns of women and girls in Afghanistan. Gender-based violence (GBV) is widely recognised as one of the greatest obstacles to achieving gender equality, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development. Together, CARE and Hogan Lovells sought to amplify the voices of women working in grassroots organisations to uphold their rights and enable the prevention of GBV through a global advocacy project, #SHEis.

Through #SHEis we sought to empower local women’s organisations to speak out against gender-based violence, contribute to the design and implementation of GBV prevention and become gender and humanitarian champions in their local communities. We also shared their stories on the global stage, notably the World Humanitarian Summit where five new gender commitments were made by the international humanitarian sector. The partnership has allowed CARE to support pilot projects in four countries, all of which partner with local grassroots women’s organisations and activists who are helping refugee and internally displaced women and families. Please see Hogan Lovells’ #SHEis Partnership report to find out more.  

As well as taking the outcome of these pilots and the stories of these women to key global advocacy moments with #SHEis, CARE is also one of Hogan Lovells’ emergency partners, benefiting from pro bono legal advice and financial support for disaster relief appeals and CARE’s overall Emergency Fund.