Global Grassroots

Global Grassroots is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to catalyze women and girls as leaders of conscious social change in their communities. Global Grassroots' work is guided by four core values that form our theory of change: 1. Deepening personal consciousness and contributing towards the common good are both essential to social change. 2. One of the most effective levers of social change is a woman with the capability, resources, power, courage and inner commitment to initiate positive change for herself and others. 3. Sustaining and accelerating conscious social change requires investment in supporting, civil society architecture. 4. Mind-body trauma healing plus t...
Oct 8, 2014

11 Girl Change Agents Transform Their Communities

Girls with well earned graduation certificates
Girls with well earned graduation certificates

Just six weeks ago, all eleven students, the first attendees of Global Grassroots Academy for Conscious Change in Uganda, successfully graduated after completing the implementation of their social ventures.  The program was carried out in partnership with Cornerstone Leadership Academy, a unique school for high-performing girls selected from impoverished communities throughout the country.

Each of the girls was remarkably successful in carrying out her social venture. They applied all that they had learned: social entrepreneurship skills, leadership training, personal transformation exercises and mindfulness practices.  Then they returned home to transform the unique societal ill they sought to address with their newly acquired skills. Their issues ranged from early marriage and teen pregnancy to domestic violence, school drop outs, high unemployment and limited entrepreneurship skills.

The eleven high school graduates who took part in this unique curriculum each impacted their communities significantly. Global Grassroots staff visited the girls in their villages to witness the girls with their beneficiaries and see their impact first hand.  It was described as exhilarating.  Each girl had made a significant impact: ranging from how they had touched their beneficiaries to the relationships they had developed with stakeholders. The social benefits and ripple effects of good will and transformation emanating from each girl and her particular social issue were powerfully present and palpable.

It would not be possible to write about each student so here is Brenda's story.

Brenda grew up as an orphan after having had both her parents die when she was age 11. Her teachers were worried about her for years because she always appeared depressed and rarely spoke. Through our Academy for Conscious Change, Brenda implemented a comprehensive program dealing with school drop-outs in her home village, where 50% of girls in her region had already dropped out due to teen pregnancy, early marriage and a poor farming season.  She took 15 other orphans under her wing and sensitized the community on the value of girls completing school.  She developed a loan saving scheme among 27 girls and ten parents to set aside school fees, found sponsorship for one orphan, developed a piggery project where the piglets will be sold to earn more school fees and convinced two other drop-outs to return to school. But more than anything, it was the self-reflection and opportunities to use mindfulness to attend to her fears, identify her passions and heal her trauma that made the greatest difference. She told us how grateful she was for this program and that “her heart had been healed”.  She attributes her self–confidence, her emotional wellbeing, her accomplishments and her newfound joy to the work she did through Global Grassroots.

As a result of the significant success of this pilot program, Global Grassroots will continue its partnership with Cornerstone Leadership Academy in Uganda and we look forward to working with more high school graduates in 2015. We look forward to updating you on the next group of girls that seek us out to learn the skills they want to transform their communities.  And if you've read this update and contributed, thank you so much. We are deeply grateful for your support which enables change agents across Uganda to advance ther own ideas which are directly benefiting women and girls in their communities.

Brenda leading a discussion in her community
Brenda leading a discussion in her community
Oct 7, 2014

Women Tackle Deep Issues Conected to Potable Water

Water. Deep Rooted Challenges Especially for Women
Water. Deep Rooted Challenges Especially for Women

Four women teams in Rwanda, focused on water issues, are in the final stages of developing their social ventures with the goal, and hope of being 70% funded by January 2015. These women's teams have each been out in their communities carrying out research to better understand the needs of their community members, in particular vulnerable women, and how they can address social issues that are described below.  These organizations are designed to solve a variety of social problems related to water and all include addressing some element of water scarcity, training in women’s rights and gender equality, hygiene, sanitation and proper water treatment. 

Trust Each Other (Abizeranye)
This venture based in Gasyata proposes to reach approximately 450 households (2700-4500 people) by bringing sanitary water to 10 umudugudus (villages). The group envisions the installation of a tank that will allow for easy access to water, preventing the sexual exploitation of women who cannot collect water on their own, and will train community members on how to purify water and the importance of good hygiene.

Hold Each Other (Tuzamurane)
With 20 members hoping to serve 300 households (1800-3000 people) near Ruhango, this venture seeks to address the critical issue of water scarcity in their community and the contamination of ground water shared with animals. Hold Each Other will establish a clean water access point by extending the municipal pipeline into their region and educate the community on good hygiene and sanitation through boiling water. The team is led by three women and two men, with education levels no greater than 6th grade. 

Hard Workers (Abanyumurava)
Hard Workers has been operating as a Global Grassroots-sponsored venture for over 5 years, serving approximately 9000 people in three distinct villages, focused on ending sexual exploitation of the vulnerable and disabled in exchange for water delivery. In addition to providing clean water through three water access points, this team of 17 wishes to expand their activities to train people how to properly clean dirty water containers, often the culprits of diarrhea.

Unite (Ubumwe)
This team of 8 members from the Rwabutabura-Rugarama Cellule-Nyamirambo Sector seeks to bring clean water to 300 households (1800-3000 people). With their new water access point, this group of women believes that they can institute a series of activities that will improve hygiene, reduce diseases, allow children the chance to study, and reduce poverty. The highest education level of the five attendees, ranging in age from 24 to 41, is third grade.

Each venture will involve operating a sustainable water enterprise as well as working on addressing the multiple dimensions of impact that a lack of clean water access has on women and girls, including health, sexual assault, economic limitations, obstacles to education and domestic violence. Your contribution helps bring each group one step closer toward that goal.  We are so grateful to existing donors who have already supported these women.  And to new donors who might be inspired to join, thank you so much as well. 

Oct 1, 2014

Literacy Training Leads to Bank Loan and More

Learning to write
Learning to write

Dear Sir / Madam,

We thank you for the collaboration and partnership towards women's development. Your support is of great importance to us. Currently we are at the beginning of the third term of our program, the first of September 2014.

In our last report we had mentioned that we had taught 20 women to read, write, solve math problems as well as introduce the subjects of women rights and some business skills. This training was carried out without obstacles. Additionally we managed to prepare for the end of second termexams, plans for the third term program, and carry out student study tours that helped them achieve business skills. We also sensitized students about the benefits of cooperatives in the development of our societies.  As a result, most of them are now enjoying being in cooperatives.

We would like to share with you the testimony of one of our students, Placidie, who managed to apply and receive a bank loan which she used to rehabilitate a house and erect a water tank from which she sells water to the neighbors. From this she is able to pay her children's school fees although she herself is a widow.  She thanks Let us Build Ourselves to have enabled her to better know the dignity and value of a girl in society and to take action. She says that if she has not been in this literacy program she wouldn't have been able to achieve all of this.

Chronic challenges continue to be:

-  Teachers salaries are paid irregularity.

-  Monthly operating costs continue to get higher.

- The issue of replacing the dancing troupes INZOVU (elephant) costumes remain unsolved.  The costumes are getting worn out and we now have to rent some when we are invited to perform. This dance troupe helps us in our fundraising.

The following is our plan:

-  Continue to teach reading, writing and mathematics as planned from the beginning.

-  Prepare for examinations for the end of the third term.

-  Increase study tours for students since they have proven to be impactful.

-  Continue encouraging students to form and join cooperatives.

-  Continue training women on their rights and business skills.

-  Organize the fifth graduation ceremony.

I would like to end by asking two questions.  In your country is the number of women bigger than the number of men as it is here in Rwanda? Do you have women in decision-making positions in large members, as it is the case here in Rwanda?

Once again, please accept our appreciation of your support and participation in advocating for women’s rights.

Thank you so much,

                                                The Team “Let us Build Ourselves" in Rwanda

Learning math
Learning math
Learning to read
Learning to read
Becoming literate
Becoming literate
Instructing
Instructing

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