In the Byimana and Ruhango sectors of rural Rwanda, Light in Our Home is working to end all forms of gender-based violence (GBV). The project is educating local leaders about the causes and consequences of violence and forming anti-violence clubs in each local neighborhood. Where sexual violence has emerged as an issue in the primary and secondary schools, the team is also committed to raising awareness and providing resources to help its victims and stop the cycles of violence.
In February, the team held a district-wide training on GBV, which was organized by the Gender Monitoring Officer and engaged a number of local officials, including coordinators the National Youth Council in Ruhango, the Directing Doctor of Gitwe Hospital, and several security agents and justice agents. This training offered information about how to report cases of GBV and also identified resources and local officials that women and children could seek for help with GBV issues. The team also provided trainings for 60 education professionals, where they taught lessons on GBV causes and consequences, civil law, and human rights law. Those trainees have been given the equipment and materials that will enable them to do follow-up work in their communities.
All district schools have also been asked to build a room for girls to use when they are menstruating. The private space will protect them from sexual assault that they may face in the unisex latrines, and will encourage girls to attend school consistently rather than being absent for several days each month.
Finally, Light in Our Home presented its program to Care International and received a donation of Rwf 300,000 (around $600), to be used for the celebration of International Women’s Day. Light in our Home was the one of the teams selected to be in charge of preparing the day’s events
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS UPDATE
Global Grassroots is currently preparing to expand our Academy to Northern Uganda to serve women and girls abducted and forced to serve as combatants and sex slaves by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Thousands of women have returned home after the war, many of them traumatized, stigmatized, HIV-positive, and caring for children. While there are many initiatives working to rehabilitate male former child soldiers, there are far fewer resources for women who are returning with the added trauma of having experienced sexual violence. We conducted an extensive feasibility study in late February/early March, speaking with individuals and organizations about the landscape of need and opportunities for partnership in Uganda. Having met with over 20 local organizations throughout the northern region of the country, we have identified strong potential partners and have chosen to locate our program in the Pader district. We intend to initiate the Academy program for at least 5 new teams in Uganda later this year.
We have also had over 100 women’s groups in 40 countries request our programs. This summer, we will launch a web-based eAcademy which will allow our training curriculum to be accessible online to serve this broader need and to disseminate our social entrepreneurship curriculum globally through local internet cafes. Global Grassroots' e-learning Academy will allow us to deliver our program through a free subscription service to grassroots teams throughout the developing world. In so doing, we will provide training, skills and tools to support small-scale, grassroots-level social entrepreneurship among underserved women’s groups in impoverished countries. In most cases, these women would have no other access to the training needed to start their own non-profits and design their own solutions to the social issues in their communities.
During this time of growth, Global Grassroots needs engaged investors to join with us to actualize these exciting new possibilities. Our vision is that all women will have the capacity and resources to lead conscious social change, sustained by their own communities. You can help to make this a reality. Please consider a donation to help Global Grassroots continue to support the social ventures of grassroots change agents worldwide.
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