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 16, 2014

Self-Designed Solutions for Communities ... Works!

Proud student with Global Grassroots team
Proud student with Global Grassroots team

This month we are happy to report on progress made by three young women teams formed from Global Grassroots' Girls Academy for Conscious Change, held in partnership with the Komera Project based in Rwinkwavu, eastern Rwanda.  The advances these young women have made in their villages is a reflection of their hard work, skills learned, and relationships built with teachers and leaders in their communities.

"Indangamirwa": Working with Street Children
This team of young women has a mission to reduce the number of street children through providing school material to vulnerable children, training parents on the importance of the girls and children’s rights, and training children on the importance of education through drama. The team reports that they started their work by training 20 community members on the importance of education, children rights and the value of equal opportunity for both girls and boys. The group zeroed in on supporting five vulnerable children and took them to school and provided school materials they need to remain at school.  Once a week during the team’s vacation period, they tutor the children to support their performance in class.  Their home visits allow the girls to follow up with the children regularly and monitor the relationship between the children and their parents. Finally, the girls purchased a goat as an income-generating tool.  When it gave birth to three kids, the offspring were sold and the profits used to buy more school materials. The group says that they have developed confidence in collaborating with adult stakeholders, especially children’s parents. They state, “Experience and skills from Global Grassroots were the best tools that took us beyond our personal limits and allowed us to teach our community.” Their final phase of operations will involve hosting two drama performances to encourage parents and children to have open conversations. 

"Vision": Reducing the Number of Girls on the Street
This team of 6 young women worked with girls who never had a chance to attend school.  The team holds workshops on the importance of education, have provided school materials to the six most vulnerable children so that they can continue their schooling, have conducted advocacy for their rights, and are using drama to mobilize and educate their relatives on the importance of sending both girls and boys to school. Over the last three months they have performed one play and have reached over fifteen households to help educate parents on the importance of education and children’s rights.  The result: two drop-outs returned to school resulted from our program. They have five children enrolled in different schools who are acting as advocates to eliminate violence against children by sharing their personal testimonials.  Their next steps involve organizing a vacation tutoring session for their beneficiaries to prepare for the national exams. The team shares, “We have developed confidence from learning Global Grassroots’ skills, which has allowed us to reach out to our community freely. The breathwork has been the best tool to use in making the best decisions. We have learnt a lot from Global Grassroots such as financial management, conscious behavior and techniques to use in inviting the presence of our consciousness in whatever we do, how to do a diagnostic of our social issue, research and evaluation.” 

"Step Forward": Family Planning Training
Step Forward is working to reduce poverty among women and youth by providing family planning training, offering financial skills workshops and initiating a livestock program. In the last three months, this team of eight high school girls, visited the 20 women trained in their family planning workshops, noting that 8 women participated in using family planning for the first time. The team created a savings and loan circle for these mostly-illiterate women to save money so that the women could help each other buy domesticated animals. So far, the women have been able to purchase seven goats and they are expecting six more goats to be distributed in October. Based on a request from these women, the team will return to teach land circle members about financial management with the goal that they can expand their business and keep up the social mission of visits to encourage family planning. They will also continue their home visits to encourage women to use birth control to limit family size.  The team shares in their latest report, “We thank Global Grassroots for funding and assistance. We have learnt a lot that will help us to be more of personal value to our society, by using any resource [we may have].”

For sponsors who contributed to supporting these girls and making this program possible, we thank you so much.  These young women have demonstrated how a little collaborative and hard work and applying the mindful leadership skills they have learned through Global Grassroots can make a significant impact in not only advancing positive social change in their communities, but preparing the next generation to become change leaders.

At this juncture, this project is considered completed. Global Grassroots is placing its Girls Academy for high school girls on hold for a year while it undergoes an evaluation and planning process to expand this program on a national basis across Rwanda. The Komera Project continues its important work in the support of these young women in the pursuit of their education and development as leaders. 

For those of you who contributed toward helping these young women, we extend our deepest gratitude for your support and trust in this work. Global Grassroots is now shifting its work with youth to focus on high school graduates in Uganda and Rwanda during the 9-month gap between high school graduation and university enrollment when young women are at great risk of leaving their path of education. You are invited to learn more about Global Grassroots Young Women's Academy in Uganda also listed with Global Giving: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/young-women-conscious-change-uganda/ 

To support the education and leadership endeavors of The Komera Project, click here: https://www.globalgiving.org/donate/8772/komera/  

Change Agent team member
Change Agent team member
Students practicing mindfulness
Students practicing mindfulness
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. 

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