Pida has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to the principle of voluntary service and community engagement. In 1983 she became an active member of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry, FANY (PVRC), the world’s longest established women’s uniformed ‘military’ voluntary organisation. The Corps works in partnership with the City of London Police and is on 24 hr call to respond to emergencies in the city. Pida was part of the response team on several occasions.
Founded in 1907 the Corps has a prestigious history of service in both war and peace. In 1987, the 80th Anniversary of the founding of this illustrious Corps, Pida was invited to write a major article for the Armed Forces magazine.
Article: ArmedForces.1987.FANY80thAnniversarybyPida Ripley.pdf
A lifelong belief in the peacebuilding role of the United Nations and ‘We...the people’ directed Pida to support and promote the United Nations and she initiated and organised, in a voluntary capacity, multiple national and international special events to promote the United Nations and its Agencies.
Pida served six years as a member of the National Board of UNICEF-UK and undertook major fundraising initiatives to benefit UNICEF.
She also served for fourteen years as an annually elected member of the National Executive Board of the United Nations Association - UK, actively involved on many UN-related committees. As the voluntary chairman of the UNA National Appeals Committee, she created many high-profile national initiatives, including national celebratory events marking the 30th and 40th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations as well as annual fundraising events. She was requested by government representatives to establish the first UN National Committee to raise the profile and funds in support of the UN Development Fund for Women.
Appointed a Vice-President UNA-UK
In 1996, in recognition of her 21 years of high profile voluntary work undertaking both promotion and very substantial fundraising for several UN agencies, as well as service on numerous UNA and UNICEF committees, she was appointed a Vice-President of UNA-UK. She was also a founding Patron of the British-Armenian All-Party Parliamentary Group (BAPPG.
1993: CNN International Promotion of all UN Special Days
Pida Ripley, noting CNN were not promoting the UN or any of its Special Days, contacted the CNN London office and secured valuable agreement to promote annually the Special Days of the UN and its specialised agencies.
Twenty-five years later this initiative continues
to promote the United Nations and its special agencies.
In 1987 she founded the Women of the World Campaign, launched by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at 10 Downing Street. In the same year she created and organised the inaugural Women of the World Global Awards (WoW Awards). Dame Vera Lynn was one of the first WoW recipients, later awardees include Sadako Ogata, High Commissioner for Refugees and Nobel Laureates, Mother Teresa and Wangari Maathai.
In the same year she also founded WomenAid/Women of the World, also known as WomenAid International, a humanitarian aid and development agency to provide assistance to women and families in crisis caused by war, poverty, repression and abuse, to raise awareness of issues adversely affecting women and children.
The WomenAid mission is to act as a catalyst for international and national legislative and public policy change.
Despite having a full-time career path, Pida Ripley simultaneously continued to develop and manage WomenAid International, securing high value funding from both the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), the UK government, (ODA) and UN agencies for large scale refugee assistance programmes in the Balkans, Caucasus and Central Asia -all affected by war and civil conflict. WomenAid International was the 7th British agency to sign a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the European Community Humanitarian Office, (ECHO).
In 1998/99, as conflict in the Balkans surged again, she began raising awareness and aid for refugees from Kosovo, and having established a WomenAid base in Tirana, Albania, WomenAid was one of the first agencies to provide assistance to incoming Kosovan refugees.
The support of a large number of very loyal and dedicated volunteers and interns based in the WomenAid London office made it possible for WomenAid to provide over 30,000 MT of food, medical and other supplies, valued at more than £12 million, to more than 1.5 million refugees, IDPs and other vulnerable people in Former Yugoslavia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Albania and Kosovo.
At the close of 1999, following a successful audit by ECHO of the multiple high value programmes undertaken by WomenAid International in the Caucasus, WomenAid was offered confirmed substantial funding and encouraged to continue developing its successful global humanitarian work in partnership with ECHO
“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on the overall positive audit conclusion and also for the good work completed by WomenAid with ECHO in the past.”
C Adinolfi, Director, European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) 02.06.2000
“We face an enormous challenge which we cannot tackle alone. Only with voluntary contributions from governments and the dedicated commitment from organisations such as WomenAid can refugees look forward to the future”
Sadako Ogata, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
In 2000, WomenAid decided to continue working in the Caucasus but with a focus on civil society development and stabilisation programmes, working closely with several governments on securing policy changes in areas of women’s empowerment, gender violence, human rights of women and children and environmental health. By developing direct partnerships with local, regional and international NGOs and other stakeholders, WomenAid sought to improve conditions, increase opportunities and raise awareness of the status of women, youth and children in the Caucasus.
'Only by working together can men and women end violence against women'
Pida Ripley launching her unique initiative of a 'twin-track' multimedia campaign
combining CAUCASUS 16 DAYS and the White Ribbon Ambassadors, 2001.
She created highly successful Caucasus wide 'Network Platforms' to promote two 5-year multi-media coordinated campaigns CAUCASUS 16 DAYS | Ending Gender Violence and CAUCASUS ZONE GREEN | Environmental Health, successfully enrolling many hundreds of civil society organisations in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia together with UN agencies, national government ministries and all media channels.
Pida used the same concept in the UK, launching a major anti-trafficking network (UKAT) and organising the UK’s first anti-trafficking international conference.
WomenAid International-Caucasus, (WAI-C), was the recognised local partner organisation of WomenAid International, a UK based humanitarian aid and development agency that actively campaigned for human rights and the well-being of vulnerable groups. WAI-C programme and project activities included human rights advocacy and awareness, health and gender equity, trafficking and illegal migration, child rights and well-being, and civil society development, both within Georgia and within the Caucasus region.
WomenAid International-Caucasus implemented its projects by encouraging and facilitating collaboration, using the WomenAid Network Platform Concept to encourage and maintain cross-sector inter-action and sustainable dialogue between government, law enforcement bodies, human rights and women’s NGOs, media, and health and education professionals. The issue-focused Network Platforms, Round Table Dialogues and publications contribute to policy reform, gender sensitive development and support the empowerment of women and children goals by creating the connecting link at national, regional and international levels on critical issues involving or concerning women and children.
The WomenAid Caucasus-based team:-
- A Health & Gender Equity Centre
- A Child Rights & Well-Being Centre
- A multimedia anti-trafficking project
- Initiated and coordinated the first 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence in the Caucasus.
- Created and coordinated two 5-year multimedia campaigns on Ending Gender Violence and Environmental Health, successfully enrolling many hundreds of civil society organisations in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia together with UN agencies, national government ministries and all media channels.
- The White Ribbon Campaign (Men Against Violence Against Women) to the region.
- IDP and refugee women, government officials. media representatives and National Police Academy cadets.
WomenAid was successful in acting as a catalyst and securing
changes in government policies and national legislation.