Helping women in Africa escape extreme poverty through cash support and financial training—that’s the aim of Amsterdam-based non-profit organization 100WEEKS. Since its launch in 2014, the organization has given money to over 1,000 women—and, by extension, their families—helping them to significantly improve their living conditions. The next step for 100WEEKS? To scale up. Thanks to our (pro bono) Salesforce implementation, 100WEEKS is now 100% ready for what’s to come. 

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During her time working for non-profits around the world, it baffled Gitte Büch that across all development programs, the Western project managers were usually the ones deciding how the money was spent. “Who are we to determine the most effective way to spend donated funds? I was convinced that local people, on the ground—women especially—know best what they need and how to spend the money.”

Similarly, Gitte also felt strongly that corporates have incredible power to bring about real change in the world if their resources and expertise are put to good use. She acted on these two convictions when she, together with a good friend, established 100WEEKS six years ago. 

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OVER1,000WOMEN

in Africa have received funding from 100WEEKS. 

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No questions asked

100WEEKS offers cash donations of €8 per week over a period of 100 weeks and provides financial training to women living in extreme poverty in African countries. Alongside the money and training, they also have the opportunity to build a social network. Private individuals, foundations, and companies are responsible for the donations. Importantly, the women are allowed to spend the money in whatever way they want, no questions asked.

As Gitte explains, “We give the money to women because they tend to spend it most wisely. They invest it in food, education, and medical care for their whole family, and in doing so, improve the standard of living of many others around them. They also put the money into income-generating activities and start increasing their earnings this way. When the 100-weeks period comes to an end, they are socially and economically independent. That’s why we have the slogan Temporary cash for permanent change’.”

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"When the 100-weeks period comes to an end, they are socially and economically independent. That’s why we have the slogan Temporary cash for permanent change.”

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During the intervention period, the organization carefully tracks the women’s journeys and progress, sending regular, detailed updates to donors. “To date, we secured funding for more than 1,000 women living in Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda and the Ivory Coast. Before COVID-19, I used to visit these countries quite regularly. I found it so incredibly rewarding to go there and meet the women we’ve impacted. It’s been nothing short of amazing to see how these women have changed from often shy, uncertain women into powerful, confident ladies.”

Capitalizing on key opportunities

It was the drive to make such a notable difference that encouraged Rebecca Scholten to join 100WEEKS as its fundraising, partnerships and relations manager nearly two years ago. “I wanted to work for an organization that could really bring about lasting change. When I started at 100WEEKS, virtually all the information and correspondence was sitting in personal inboxes and random Excel spreadsheets.”

“When we ran a campaign, we weren’t able to gather insightful data on either our donors or the women we were helping. Essentially, we were missing out on key opportunities. We all knew that if we wanted to professionalize, be completely transparent and really scale the organization, we needed our data organized in a solid, centralized CRM system.”

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100WEEKS | Making a Difference Battle 2020

100 Weeks is an NGO helping women living in extreme poverty and difficult conditions by donating to them directly. The goal is that the donated money will be spent consciously and efficiently so that these women become more independent. This is how they pitched the project during Accenture's Making a Difference Battle 2020.

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100WEEKS as a competitor in the Making a Difference Battle

Previous contact with Gitte led to 100WEEKS taking part in the company’s yearly Making a Difference Battle. In this contest, we select organizations and projects that have developed an innovative solution that relates to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and then support them by dedicating employees’ time and skills. Ultimately, the winning project is the one that has the biggest impact.

The battle started just before the COVID-19 outbreak. Rinco Buist, Senior Manager of the Salesforce Business Group at Accenture the Netherlands, was part of the team that set out to digitally elevate 100WEEKS through the implementation of Salesforce. After only one face-to-face meeting, all competitors were then compelled to do everything remotely. That didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit, though. On the contrary, within just a few weeks, Rinco’s team had implemented Salesforce at 100WEEKS and provided training and work instructions to all the staff. 

“We didn’t win the battle, but we were winners nonetheless”

Rebecca reflects: “It was amazing to work with such professional, driven and energetic people. Thanks to the Salesforce platform, we now have all our donor and relationship data centrally available from anywhere, at any time, which means we finally have access to insights we were lacking for a long time. This shift has helped us to professionalize our marketing and communication strategy, and enhance future efforts to raise funds and build partnerships. Even though we didn’t win the battle, we still feel like winners because of the positive impact the whole journey has had on our organization. Today, we drive the Ferrari of CRM systems,” Rebecca adds, smiling. 

Aside from providing companies with a structured, solid CRM platform, Salesforce also often elicits broader change within an organization. As Rinco explains, “Salesforce is much more than just a technical ingenuity. For employees to benefit optimally from the new platform, they need to be convinced of its value and truly commit to it. As we’ve seen with our other clients using Salesforce, this transformation unfolded at 100WEEKS, too.” 

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COVID-19 highlights the need for direct cash support

Gitte explains: “One of the many things that the COVID-19 crisis has taught us, is that now, more than ever, the poorest people on this planet desperately need money to survive. If they don’t receive support, inequality and poverty will only rise, leading to deep-set problems we can’t even begin to imagine.”

“We all know that giving money to local governments unfortunately often isn’t the most efficient or reliable strategy. It’s fantastic that these days, it’s possible to send money directly through mobile means. COVID-19 has added even more urgency to the long-standing need for cash transfers.”

“Importantly, we’ve seen that after the 100 weeks of the intervention, the women involved managed to maintain the improved socio-economic standards they achieved while receiving €8 every week. We want to show the world that there are initiatives that can bring about such sustained change on a large scale. We can only achieve our goals through automation, and professionalization. Salesforce has helped us take an enormous step towards where we want to be,” says a proud Gitte.” 

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“Importantly, we’ve seen that after the 100 weeks of the intervention, the women involved managed to maintain the improved socio-economic standards they achieved while receiving €8 every week."

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“Importantly, we’ve seen that after the 100 weeks of the intervention, the women involved managed to maintain the improved socio-economic standards they achieved while receiving €8 every week."

Fighting poverty and promoting gender equality

“Now that we have the foundation in place, we are ready to scale up the organization,” says Gitte. 100WEEKS has ambitious plans for the future. By 2024, the organization intends to be giving money to 10,000 women and their families every year. If they reach this target, they will be empowering around 50,000 people—the average 100WEEKS family has five members—to escape poverty annually.

“We are not only fighting poverty; we’re also offering these women access to finance to help promote gender equality. Hitting these targets would be a great achievement, but we’ll be nowhere near done then,” says Gitte. “After that, we aim to scale even further and spread our wings to expand to other countries and continents, too.”  

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100WEEKS’ first Salesforce-driven campaign

To support 10,000 women annually, the organization needs €10 million in donations per year. In the final part of 2020, the initiative’s first-ever Salesforce-driven campaign is on the agenda, with the aim to significantly expand the number of donors contributing to 100WEEKS.

For Gitte, it proves her conviction that change truly can be realized when corporates and NGOs join forces. “Aside from the technology and tools that Accenture has given us, their agile way of working and results-oriented approach aligns well with and positively influences the way the 100WEEKS team works.”

Rebecca is very excited about the campaign. “I can’t wait to see all the data-driven results coming in and am looking forward to all the elaborate reports we are going to publish!”

Rinco Buist

Senior Manager – Salesforce Business Group, the Netherlands


Laura Marijnissen

Analyst – Salesforce Business Group, the Netherlands

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