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 3, 2013

Six Children Off the Streets and in School

Listening intently
Listening intently

It is close to a year since 70 students from a secondary school launched their own ventures to address problems faced by their communities that they were determined to help improve.  In partnership with The Komera Project, Global Grassroots has provided the coaching and mentorship to support these girls in successfully turning their own ideas into worthy, actionable projects which are making concrete improvements in their communities.

One of the ventures launched by the girls, “Brave People” was able to enrolle seven out of ten street children back into school. The girls worked with the children in a combination of ways to give them hope, help build their self-esteem and help them recognize their rights. One of the lessons the girls described learning from this process was the importance of training. They reported that by building in some additional training and support they could succeed in getting the more resistant children to change their minds and attend school.

Brave People” is just one of six ventures designed by the participants in our innagural Girls Academy. While in school themselves, these change agents head into exams in November and will reconvene in December. At such time, the girls (whose ventures also include programs working on malnutrition, homeless youth, child abuse and economic empowerment) will conduct impact assessments on the work of their ventures over the past 12 months, develop final financial reports and provide peer mentorship to the next cohort of teens.

We will begin our second annual Girls Academy in Rwanda with 20 new high school girls in November.  We are also initiating our first Girls program in Uganda in January in partnership with Cornerstone Development.  Thank you very much for your generous donation that has enabled the launch of our Girls Academy for Conscious Change.  

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Oct 2, 2013

Change Agents Are Making Significant Advances

"Have a Good Life" Change Agents
"Have a Good Life" Change Agents

On behalf of all of us at Global Grassroots, we thank you for your continued support of the work of our grassroots change agents.  Following are some snapshots of progress from a few select ventures. 

Since July, Global Grassroots venture, “Have a Good Life,” (with the mission of creating access to clean water as a way to help prevent violence against women), has continued to make excellent strides in helping people in their village.  This team of Global Grassroots graduates, who after achieving their initial priority of gaining access to water, have turned their focus to training people in the village about domestic violence.  While working on this objective they learned how little people understood the importance of good hygiene in relation to waterborne diseases and their own health. Now they are training village members about the importance of clean water and how washing carefully plays a critical role in their health. Sixty bars of soap were just distributed in the last training to press home the importance of good hygiene.

Another Global Grassroots venture, “A Friend Indeed” is continuing to work on creative ways to tackle a deeply set sigma that single mothers face. In a survey taken before the project, 100% of their community members indicated the belief that single mothers are useless to society.  This finding led to a training campaign of over 100 women that focused on the rights each woman has when faced with discrimination.  This training, which took place in June 2013, was considered so successful that the group now plans a next training on reproductive health for the winter of 2013 to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.  The biggest news from this group is that twenty women have launched a special initiative to raise money for the training sessions.  Just a few weeks ago in early September, they developed a plan for setting up a tailoring class to teach others how to sew. With a fee associated with the training, the plan is for the women who can afford the fee to help raise money for those who are unable.  The fee covers the cost of renting a space, the teacher’s time, and the supplies such as fabric, thread and needles.

News from a third venture, "Education for Young Girls", whose mission is to keep girls from missing school during menstruation, because of harassment and high drop out rates from school, demonstrates continued progress. Over the past few months, the venture has:

  • facilitated HIV testing for 255 students.
  • followed-up with parents of each student to engage them in actively supporting their children’s needs. 
  • led the building of a girls “chamber,” a private room where girls can wash their clothes during menstruation if needed, or use as a place to rest if they have cramps so that they do not have to return home.  
  • launched a fundraising campaign based on a local football match with donations targeted to cover the costs of  a doctor who will provide training on reproductive health.

These ventures are close to becoming financially self-sustained by their communities.  With your generous support each of these ventures will be that much closer to reaching its long-term goal.

Global Grassroots will be initiating its next Academy for Conscious Change on October 7 in Kigali with a cohort of teams specifically focused on water issues.  We look forward to updating you on our progress as we round out this calendar year. Thank you for your continued support, which enables grassroots women change agents across Rwanda to advance ther own ideas benefiting women and girls in their communities. 

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Sep 11, 2013

Training of Women and Orphans on hold

Achieving a Better Life has temporarily put on hold its training program for women and orphans, as its director, Charlotte Nyiraneza, has been asked to take on increasing responsibility and leadership roles for her other fulltime job.  As is often the case with Global Grassroots' change agents, our venture founders demonstrate substantial leadership capacity and are often promoted within other organizations, run for office or apply our skills to solve other problems in their community.  At this time, this program will be discontinued until the organization has the opportunity to dedicate more time to its participants.  We extend our deepest gratitude for your support of Achieving a Better Life and its program for women and orphans.  

Achieving a Better Life was one of the first ventures trained by Global Grassroots through our Academy for Conscious Change in 2008.  Their core program uses community theater to raise awareness about domestic violence.  They have made remarkable impact in the four years they have been operating.  Since 2009, this team has performed roughly every month in five communities within Kigali on the topics of domestic violence, violence against domestic workers, adultery and bearing children out of wedlock. Their performances have been attended by ever growing crowds - over 1,200 at each of the first three performances of 2013. The reaction of the audience during the hosted discussions afterwards is very positive. Many women have reported that following the performance, they have gone to seek help for domestic violence and have talked to their husbands about how to improve their relationships. Many men also attend the performances, and have stated that they have started to think more seriously about how they treat their wives. Since beginning the performances, domestic violence rates in these communities has been reduced by 60%. The team has also produced two full-length films on the topic of domestic violence and marital relations.

The group was awarded a tender by the American NGO, Intrahealth, to perform a theatre on domestic violence for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, an event attended by the director of USAID, the US Ambassador, and the Minister of Gender. In February 2009, they performed the very first V-Day Vagina Monologues in Rwanda, adapted to a Rwandan context with monologues of Rwandan women, tackling tough and taboo topics not often discussed publicly. On International Women's Day in March 2009, the team was invited by the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion to perform one of their plays, which was broadcast nationwide three times, reaching at least 25,000 people. Project leader Charlotte Nyiraneza won the World Pulse Second Annual Bold Ideas Contest in January and was even nominated for a CNN Hero Award. Achieving a Better Life continues to perform new plays and hopes to make another film about the oppression of Rwandan women.

Thank you for your continued support.  To help other amazing women survivors of war like Charlotte advance social change, please consider supporting Global Grassroots' Academy for Conscious Change program by clicking here: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/conscious-social-change/ 

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