“The best investment we can make in our shared future”
By 2008, Annie had spent more than three decades building a successful career and a family. She had met hundreds of women, listening to their stories and earning their trust. She sat around their fires and drank their tea, inspired by their strength and warmth. But she started to wonder if her work could really make a difference in their lives.
While visiting a refugee camp in Kenya, she took a photo of a Somali woman, Marwah and her daughter, who was ill. While the picture was beautiful, it felt bittersweet to Annie. What could a photo do to help Marwah and other women she loved and admired? Years later, she got her answer — one she didn’t expect.
“I was visiting a refugee coordinator’s office in Richmond, Virginia, when I saw the photo of Marwah had been torn out of a calendar and pinned to the wall,” Annie says. “I was surprised to find out that the refugee coordinator knew Marwah. He said she made it to the U.S. and was doing great.”
Newly inspired, Annie started Ripple Effect Images. Dedicated to raising awareness of women and girls in the developing world — and the aid groups working to empower them — Ripple Effect Images is Griffith’s way of paying it forward.
“Women and girls in developing countries are the best investment we can make in our shared future,” she says. “When you empower women, they help each other and ignite a flame of hope in their families, their communities and the world.”
This is the ripple effect — a cascade of positive change resulting from small successes. And it can start anywhere. Giving families access to clean cooking fuel to prevent smoke inhalation deaths. Helping women dig wells so their families have access to clean water and basic hygiene. Teaching them to build solar lanterns that allow girls to attend night school.
The stories Ripple promotes help to flip the script, showing women as the heroes in their own lives. “Most media coverage is focused on breaking news, often portraying women as victims,” says Annie. “We’re interested in telling underreported, in-depth stories that show the strength and potential of women and how essential they are to their communities.”