MasterCard's 'Project Inspire' impacts women's lives


Case study: How MasterCard, the Singapore Committee for UN Women and Weber Shandwick sparked sustainable programs to better the lives of women and girls.

The work described here won Asia-Pacific PR Campaign of the Year in the PRWeek Awards Asia.


Of the 780 million people in the world who can’t read, 510 million are women. And women work the equivalent of two-thirds of the world’s working hours, but earn only 10 per cent of the world’s income. What if we could help change this? Building on the programme’s past success, MasterCard and the Singapore Committee for UN Women (UN Women Singapore), along with the support of their PR agency, launched Project Inspire 2013 with the intention that it would reach more people and encourage more entrants, raise the bar on the creative solutions presented and make a bigger impact than ever before. This would cement MasterCard’s position as a leader in women’s empowerment, and more importantly, provide long-term sustainable benefits to women in disadvantaged communities in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.


The strategy in 2013 was designed to reach out to, engage, and inspire action from a larger global audience. In addition to sustaining interest from existing stakeholders, the Project Inspire community, and the UN Women and MasterCard global networks. It was also important to acknowledge that much had changed since Project Inspire first launched, including where the audience was and how best to communicate with them. To support this, a robust content approach was introduced to strengthen the connection of Project Inspire with its audiences. This was done through a 3-stage process: expansion, integration and enrichment.


Project Inspire sparked the creation of three impactful, sustainable programmes to better the lives of women and girls. US$45,000 was awarded to these projects: 1) Women in Bangladesh, Morocco, Papua New Guinea and Tunisia are being trained as journalists, empowering them to spark change through their writing whilst earning strong living wages. 2) Disabled Ugandan women are being taught the business of beekeeping to both boost their identity in the community and lay the foundation for them to compete in the economic world. 3) At-risk adolescent girls in Delhi slums are now being educated in creative arts, giving them sustainable livelihoods and a path out of poverty.

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