Ganging Up for Girls – Kathy and Cornelia on Their New Partnership

Two Zambian girls sitting in front of a brick wall and smiling together.

Mothers Without Borders (MWB) and Be That Girl Foundation (BTG) are joining forces to support girls in rural Zambia to live a self-determined life.

We sat down with Kathy and Cornelia to hear how this partnership came to fruition, what it entails and how it ties in with the missions of their respective organizations:

Cornelia and Kathy, how did you get in touch with each other?

  • Cornelia: As so often in life, it’s been an amazing coincidence: A few years back, on a holiday in Utah, some friends introduced me to Kathy and her work. While I remember being very impressed, I soon forgot about it as I was busy directing and filming my documentary “That Girl” in Zambia. As “That Girl” premiered at the Zurich Film Festival in Autumn 2020 and gave rise to Be That Girl Foundation, I started to look for suitable partners – and suddenly remembered that encounter in Provo a few years back! It just took a long video conference with Kathy to see that our vision for girls are remarkably aligned and that it would make sense to join forces. 
  • Kathy: I remember well the time we spent together in Utah, and was impressed with Cornelia and her passion for helping women and girls in developing countries. I was excited to meet someone who’s values and determination to make a difference in the lives of women were so aligned with mine. I knew I wanted to work with her, but wasn’t certain how our paths would cross in the future. I was thrilled when she reached out following the premier of her documentary to discuss our common vision, our partnership was definitely the next right thing for both of us!


So what does the Mothers without Borders/Be That Girl Foundation collaboration entail?

  • Kathy: Mothers Without Borders has been working to improve the lives of vulnerable women and girls for 21 years in Zambia. Through education, literacy and business training, personal growth workshops, mentoring and lots of encouragement we have watched women transform their lives and their communities. We are always hoping to broaden our reach, and inspire more women and girls to create meaningful lives and realize their potential. This requires help from partners who share our passion, and Be That Girl Foundation is the perfect partner to support our expansion into new communities.  
  • Cornelia: In this context, it is important to understand the main objectives of Be That Girl Foundation: We want women and girls to lead a self-determined life. The necessary conditions for women and girls to make the first steps in that direction are security, education and basic needs such as health support and food. However, this is not sufficient to ensure success and that’s where Mothers Without Borders come in: Kathy and her team provide women and girls with tangible help to develop their personalities and to believe in themselves – this is at the core of our collaboration. 


So we feel there is a lot of excitement in the air – why is that?

  • Cornelia: I guess that happens when you find the right partner [laughs]! On a more earnest note: As you may know, my husband and I have been doing development work in Zambia for almost 15 years now, mainly through our Second Mile foundation. In the process, we’ve noticed that the success of projects is often dependent on finding talented and motivated local leaders who can push things forward – yet as you can imagine, such individuals are hard to find. With MWB’s local Zambian leadership,  we’ve got a fair shot at building such capacity and – even better – to increase the share of female leaders in society. Now that’s definitely something to be excited about!
  • Kathy: I couldn’t agree more with Cornelia’s vision. At Mothers Without Borders we are all about building capacity, and that requires local leadership that is committed to creating positive change and being there every step of the way.  We have been developing an amazing team of Zambian mentors and leaders since 2000, and they are passionate about helping women and girls realize their dreams. It’s very exciting to find a partner in Cornelia and the Be That Girl Foundation that supports our shared vision of offering dynamic women in Zambia a chance to change their world.  


Please see here for the full press release.