International Women's Day at Cognifide

13 March 2019Josie Klafkowska

Balance for better! That’s what International Women’s Day urged us to do.

The campaign launched last week on International Women’s Day but it doesn’t end there. It’s a call to action that aspires to a more gender balanced future across the globe. To quote the IWD organisation:

Balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender-balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.

So it was fantastic to see men and women galvanised behind the same cause to mark International Women’s Day at Cognifide. For the third year running, we joined forces with the WPP family, clients, corporate partners, friends and our local communities to reach out to disadvantaged women and victims of domestic abuse through Project Shoebox. The call for donations was driven from London, Poznań and Bydgoszcz, Poland, where our three offices are based.


Project Shoebox is not a new or unique idea and it’s very simple and low tech. However, its impact can be pretty big for the individual women that we are able to reach via our charity partners. In the words of Patrick Ryan, CEO of the charity, Hestia:

For many women and children escaping an abusive relationship, having to leave in a hurry means that they often arrive at our refuges with little more than the clothes they are wearing. It is often the simple things that we take for granted, like having a toothbrush or shower gel, which can result in women returning to abusive homes.
It’s hard for most of us to imagine just how desperate you’d have to feel to even consider walking back into an abusive situation. The work that Hestia and our other charity partners do is so incredibly important in supporting adults and their children in these situations. By filling shoeboxes with toiletries, cosmetics and personal care items, our aim is to provide the simple essentials that just might make a difference in their changing lives.

In Poland we worked with 13 organisations in Poznan and across the Greater Poland region. The focus there was on crisis intervention centres, homes for single mothers and NGOs that help underprivileged, homeless and abused women. And donations came from far and wide. Believe it or not, there is a Museum of Soap and History of Dirt in the Polish city of Bydgoszcz who kindly helped us by organising a collection. We’ve worked with local schools, law firms, healthcare manufacturers and global consumer goods manufacturers to collect thousands of items and package almost 700 individual boxes in London and Poland.


So we’d just like to say a huge thank you to every company and every individual who has helped us to reach more women than ever this year. There are too many to name but without you, this wouldn’t have been possible. We hope that you’ll enter the Project Shoebox and #IWD spirit with us next year to help Balance for Better.


Author: Josie Klafkowska
Published: 13 March 2019

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