In the last three months, this team, working on gender-based violence, has had a profound effect on the lives of 20 local women who received their training on women's rights. These beneficiaries report that they no longer feel afraid to come forward when they experience domestic abuse or denial of their rights. They no longer feel they must suffer in silence.
Working with local leaders, the Relax team identified 34 couples living with or at-risk for domestic violence and gathered them to conduct a training seminar. Their research has shown that arguments about property and inheritance are often a trigger for domestic violence. Although Rwanda passed the Inheritance and Martial Property Law in 1999, guaranteeing equal rights for female and male spouses and children to inherit property, not everyone knows this law exists. The Relax team is helping ensure these couples know their rights under the law and what to do if those rights are being violated.
To reach broader audiences, they have also trained “focal points” who are responsible for speaking with people in their communities and reporting back to Relax. One focal point, Agnes Uwimana explained the impact Relax is having, saying that “women in the community used to keep silent, but after introducing this project to the community, people come to us if they have a problem and we show them how to address the issues they are facing.”
Relax also recently received a small grant to purchase two more cell phones that they can use to report domestic violence to the authorities. When not used to fight domestic violence, they are also able to use these phones as part of a fundraising strategy by charging a small fee to community members who wish to make a call.
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS UPDATE:
GIRLS ACADEMY FOR CONSCIOUS CHANGE
In Rwinkwavu, our 70- vulnerable high school girls who took part in the Girls Academy training last November are exceeding our greatest expectations with their passion, commitment and fearlessness. Although their projects were initially intended to take place as a one-time events during their holiday school break, the girls are motivated to develop long-term programs creating change in their communities as well as opportunities for themselves to grow as leaders. For examples, one of the six teams, called Brave People, works on the issue of homeless youth. They have succeeded in reintegrating seven children back into their families as well as helping three children find families to adopt them.
To read more about these inspiring young women, you can take a look at their page on Global Giving
NORTHERN UGANDA EXPANSION
We believe that engaging women and girls in post-conflict reconstruction is crucial to changing the attitudes that created conflict in the first place. To that end, we’re happy to announce that in January, we initiated our first Academy for Conscious Change via a nine-day residential training program that was held in Gulu, Northern Uganda. We accepted eight venture teams represented by 40 change agents into our first cohort. Our participants are predominately vulnerable women affected by the reign of terror of the Lord's Resistance Army in their region. Working diligently, the teams have begun the design of their social ventures working on the following issues: HIV, Divorce, Household Conflict & Overwork, Women's Human Rights, Gender-based Violence, Illiteracy, Advancing Women in Leadership, and `Property Rights. They now are engaged in Phase 2 of our 18-month program to complete the development of their ventures. By building the capacity of women to heal from trauma and advance their own ideas, we hope to support empowerment, healing, and reconciliation. We look forward to learning from their insight and wisdom and helping them create conscious social change in their communities.
We wish to thank you for your invaluable support this past year. Following is a quarterly field report on the work that Relax has been doing to fight domestic violence:
Relax had to place its operations temporarily on hold as members took advantage of opportunities to further their education and also because of personal family challenges that required their attention.
We congratulate team member, Chantal, who completed her university dissertation while also conducting an academic internship. At the same time, she was also responsible for a sick child and a sibling who was hospitalized, which took her away from the venture's regular activities. We also congratulate the team's president, Marcelline Ngirabandi, who was accepted into university and had to move away from her community to attend school.
However, the team has recently resumed its programs and has been meeting during academic breaks. They held a training with the remaining group of beneficiaries in September at the Kabutare cell’s office in Mwendo sector. We expect a more complete update in the coming weeks on the impact of their training, which we will share.
Relax is working to fight violence against women by training people about the rules about property succession and human rights and ensuring that violations are reported to the sector authorities. We at Global Grassroots extend our deepest gratitude for your support in enabling our graduates' venture, Relax, to do this important work in fighting domestic violence. We invite you to continue to support our work for the benefit of Relax and other teams of women change agents throughout Rwanda. Thank you and warm wishes to your friends and families.
The Relax venture team conducted another training with women on their legal rights in May. Two of the leaders from this team have recently had to move away from the region where they’ve been working, due to family needs. They remain committed to their mission with Relax, but the team is now taking time to step back and evaluate their work and original activity plan to determine whether they are on track, what impact they are having, whether they need to make management or programmatic changes and to refine their work. We look forward to providing additional updates as they continue their programming.
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS UPDATE
Global Grassroots is making innovative efforts to meet the growing demand for our programs and has created exciting new partnerships to catalyze conscious social change around the globe:
Beginning in their own communities, Global Grassroots’ change agents are working building a culture that values, supports and empowers girls and women worldwide. Please support our continued work with vulnerable women change agents. Donate today: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/conscious-social-change/
The Relax venture team conducted another training with women on their legal rights in May. The team is now taking time to step back and evaluate their work and original activity plan to determine whether they are on track, what impact they are having, whether they need to make management or programmatic changes and to refine their work. We look forward to providing additional updates as they continue their programming.
Global Grassroots & Women for Water Partner to Support Women's Empowerment Worldwide
Global Grassroots is excited to announce that we have been chosen as one of four partners for the first year of the new 3-year Women for Water campaign initiated by the Global Water Challenge!
This initiative will empower a billion women to join together and raise a billion dollars to fight the global water crisis that disproportionately affects women and children.
Click here for more information about the Women for Water campaign, or check out their video!
Join us in supporting sustainable, women-led water ventures that provide livelihoods, hope and safety for thousands of women!
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New Conscious Social Change Practitioner Training begins this summer!
This program, open to anyone interested in personal transformation and social change, provides an intensive and experience-based training in the methods, philosophy, skills and frameworks of Conscious Social Change. Beginning July 1 is Part 1 of our three-part Conscious Social Change Practitioner Certification Program, which enables trainees to become certified in Global Grassroots' core curriculum. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information or are interested in participating!
Thank you for your continued support. Please consider a donation today! http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/mobile-phones-domestic-violence/
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