Construct the Family (Turwubake) has come to be known in their community, and a number of local women and domestic workers have approached the team leaders, asking to be registered in their sewing program, in order to develop skills to establish economic independence. In order to accommodate and serve the increasing demand for their services among local women, they have begun offering their training sessions at a wider variety of times and days. They are currently trying to raise funds to purchase electronic sewing machines for use with their beneficiaries.
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS UPDATE
Release of Global Grassroots’ 2011 Impact Assessment:
Over the course of ten weeks, Julia Oakley, a dual Masters student from Columbia University conducted an independent impact assessment of our Academy for Conscious Change in Rwanda. The following is an excerpt. Download our full Impact Assessment here.
The social impact of Global Grassroots via its trained and funded ventures is approximately 32,500 Rwandans... Most teams are able to measure their social impact in some form, and all operating Global Grassroots ventures have visible signs of positive impact on their communities. Some, like Let Us Build Ourselves and Construct the Family, work intensively with their target populations; others, such as Light In Our Home, have more of an indirect but possibly widespread social impact….Global Grassroots should support teams to maximize their potential social impact on one hand, but continue to prioritize self-initiated growth and idea generation on the other. Global Grassroots' strategy of participatory development in fostering the creativity and levering the inner knowledge of local persons is its strongest asset and its key to sustainable social impact.
On vocational skills and health/women's rights training for vulnerable populations:
“I know how to claim my rights and how to help other women to claim their rights, too. This helps me be safe and independent.” -Beneficiary of Construct the Family
On girls’ sanitation and reproductive health:
"Now I am able to discuss with my children reproductive health and change of life, and tell them this is normal. I encourage them to share this with me. Before, I was ashamed to talk about it, but now I no longer have that shame and I can advise them about the consequences of their actions. This project has helped me to know my responsibilities as a parent and as a neighbor. We need to support girls and promote a bright future for them." -Beneficiary of Think About The Young Girls
Global Grassroots Hosts Training for New Conscious Change Practitioners
This fall, Global Grassroots hosted seven women representing three countries (America, Rwanda, and Haiti) to participate in the first training of trainers in our curriculum, methodology, philosophy and trauma-healing skills for the Academy for Conscious Change. Over the course of two weeks, participants learned how to work with traumatized populations, how to use mind-body skills to reset the nervous system and address post-traumatic stress, how to use participatory development methods to catalyze locally-led solutions in a developing country among a foreign culture, how to use their own understanding of personal transformation to support conscious leadership in others, and how to develop a sustainable non-profit from scratch.
Having completed the curriculum training, these new Conscious Change Practitioners will next conduct a pilot volunteer training with a partner organization in the US, and participate in a year-long correspondence course in personal transformation for change agents. Once certified, Global Grassroots Practitioners will take a leadership role in expanding our programs in new countries with interested partner organizations. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about how to bring Global Grassroots' Academy for Conscious Change to your community.
Global Grassroots Founder & President featured in Huffington Post:
Gretchen Wallace Empowers Women In Rwanda And Other Post-Conflict Societies
Our work has only been possible with your support, and we extend our deepest gratitude. We know that women have the potential to lead conscious social change, but many lack the resources and training to advance their own ideas. We need engaged investors to help us continue to support women’s initiatives for social change. Please consider a donation to help Global Grassroots continue to support the social ventures of grassroots change agents worldwide.
Turwubake's first class of trainees are about to graduate! As you know, Turwubake / Construct the Family, a Global Grassroots sponsored "micro-NGO" is addressing the issue of violence against both wives and domestic workers in Rwanda. The program is working to educate 50 households, 30 domestic workers, and 30 victims of domestic violence about gender equality. Part of the program includes teaching domestic workers how to sew so that they may have economic alternatives to the violence they face at work or in the home. The first class will graduate this month and form an association which will advocate for women's rights. Construct the Family is also carrying out an evaluation of their work this summer to assess their impact and consider ways to refine their approach.
GLOBAL GRASSOOTS UPDATE
Global Grassroots has begun the development of a web-based eAcademy for Conscious Change, which will allow women’s groups in developing countries globally to access our social entrepreneurship curriculum online. To date, we have received emails from over 160 women’s groups from 45 different countries requesting our programs. We will be choosing a pilot group of women's organizations from four continents to participate in the beta version of the elearning program. Our online academy will be accessible for free, providing an interactive program that will support the development of grassroots-level social entrepreneurship projects. We anticipate the development of the site will be complete in late autumn for piloting, with a public launch in early 2012.
Next week Global Grassroots will launch its new Conscious Social Change certification program, with seven women from three countries. Once certified, this corps of trainees will be able to deploy globally to offer our core program upon request to partner organizations. Global Grassroots is eager to collaborate through partnership to support women change agents in new communties.
As we expand, Global Grassroots needs engaged investors to help us make these exciting possibilities a reality. We know that women have the potential to lead conscious social change, but many lack the resources and training to advance their own ideas. Please consider a donation to help Global Grassroots continue to support the social ventures of grassroots change agents worldwide.
Construct the Family, a team comprised of 25 local women in the Nyaryngenge Sector of Rwanda, has identified sexual and physical violence against married women and domestic workers as a major issue in their community. The team recently concluded a baseline issue study that has informed their approach to raising awareness of domestic violence and women’s rights and to training women in sewing, so as to provide the economic independence necessary to change their abusive situations.
The team worked with a well-respected local women’s association to distribute instructional materials and to equip community volunteers to lead trainings on gender equality, women’s rights, and the consequences of domestic violence. Since receiving their second tranche of grant funding, Construct the Family has conducted three of these trainings with groups of wives, two trainings with domestic workers, and one training with a group of husbands. The female victims of violence also received sewing skills as part of their training to give them the economic autonomy and the subsequent ability to leave their abusers. Their beneficiaries have been eager to learn about women’s rights, and many are already talking about the positive effects the lessons have had on their lives at home and at work.
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.
CONSTRUCT THE FAMILY BEGINS OPERATIONS
Construct the Family is working to reduce problems related to violence against married women and domestic workers. They have seen how domestic and sexual violence leads to broken families, physical disability, HIV infection, ignorance, poverty, children without fathers, and women having multiple children who face malnutrition, neglect or abandonment. The project will target domestic workers and couples to provide sensitization trainings. They will also provide skills training and help organize workers into associations so that they can better demand their rights and have more economic opportunities to leave abusive employers.
Construct the Family received their first stage of funding this August. During the past two months, they have put tremendous effort into creating an issue survey that will assess the reality of – and beliefs concerning – domestic violence in their community. The survey will inform their project’s programming and set a baseline to help measure their impact and their progress toward goals for their community such as: women understanding and claiming their rights; domestic workers protected against abuse from employees; women empowered by learning technical skills like sewing and thereby obtaining economic independence. This month, the team is administering the survey and will use its results to select 15 domestic workers, 15 women victims of domestic abuse and their 15 husbands for this year’s training program on gender equality, women’s rights, and the consequences of domestic violence. The 30 female victims of violence will also receive sewing skills training to give them the economic independence necessary to change their abusive situations.
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS YEAR-END UPDATE AND LOOKING AHEAD TO 2011
2010 has been a turning point for Global Grassroots. We have endured hardship with the economic downturn, but are emerging leaner, more creative and more strategic. We’ve evaluated our social impact, repositioned our training program as the Academy for Conscious Change and integrated new mind-body practices for trauma healing. We’ve brought these holistic practices to earthquake survivors in Haiti and, by request, to American relief workers serving in disaster zones. We’ve doubled the number of civil society organizations our Academy has helped launch in Rwanda, and are investing in technology and partnerships to expand our reach. Today, our 300 Rwandan change agents have established 16 non-profit organizations, which are working at the root level of a social issue facing women and girls, benefiting an estimated 10,000+ people each year.
As we move forward into 2011, we have over 100 women’s groups in 40 countries requesting our programs. In response, we are expanding our hands-on approach into Northern Uganda next and embarking upon a web-based eAcademy for Conscious Change to reach women worldwide through local internet cafes. We are developing new courses, based on our core curriculum, for a range of new audiences, including students, donors and practitioners. And we are preparing to package and license our program model for partner organizations to implement in regions we have yet to explore.
Global Grassroots needs engaged investors to join with us and our change agents in a three-part-partnership to actualize the possibilities in front of us. We invite you to read more about our progress in our 2010 Year-End Magazine (available for download on our home page: www.globalgrassroots.org) and consider a donation to help Global Grassroots continue to support the social ventures of grassroots change agents worldwide.
GLOBAL GRASSROOTS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports conscious social change for women in post-conflict societies. Our Academy for Conscious Change is a 12-18 month social venture incubator, offering non-profit management skills, leadership training, personal transformation practices, seed grants and high-engagement support that enables vulnerable women change agents to launch their own grassroots solutions benefiting women and girls. JOIN US.
Global Grassroots US team recently returned from Rwanda where we visited our existing project teams and initiated our 2010 Academy for Conscious Change.This Academy cohort includes 37 participants representing 7 of the 30+ teams who applied. Having completed our intensive training, our teams will now embark upon the development of their own social ventures over the next 18 months. They are a highly motivated group working on a range of critical issues facing women:
Violence and discrimination against mothers of handicapped children
Lack of clean water access and associated violence, exploitation, and disease
Violence against and rejection of single mothers
Teenage mothers with unwanted pregnancies (age 12-14)
Education of girls, especially children of prostitutes
We anticipate great progress from these teams as we work with them over the next few months to develop sustainable ventures with a measurable social impact. We'd like to ask for your help in making that happen. Your financial contributions enable our efforts on the ground to improve the lives of the worlds most vulnerable women.
Global Grassroots is preparing to begin providing seed funding for the launch of Turwubake in order to fight violence against women in 50 Rwandan households. The team will begin by training 30 women, including 15 domestic workers and 15 victims of domestic violence, in gender rights training and vocational skills. They will also reach out to engage 15 men within the community too. They will then help domestic workers organize themselves as an association so that they can successfully fight for their rights or leave abusive employers. We will keep you updated as the project begins their operations. Please consider donating today to help them get their start.
BRINGING BREATH AND YOGA TO RWANDA
For the first time in Rwanda, Global Grassroots implemented the Breath~Body~Mind (BBM) program developed by Dr. Richard Brown and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg (www.haveahealthymind.com). This program, integrating Qi Gong and Coherent Breathing, was introduced by Global Grassroots earlier this year in Haiti to support trauma relief for earthquake victims. We are conducting a program evaluation over the next year in Rwanda to assess how this group's symptoms of PTSD change with the continued practice of BBM.
We were also thrilled to have Yoga practitioner Jessica Spain join us to offer yoga each morning during the personal transformation practice portion of the program. On the first day she taught, yoga was met with a room full of nervous and embarrassed giggles, but the next day everyone told us that they wanted another session! It became a regular part of our morning and prompted Jessica to develop special series of poses she called "Yoga for Skirt Wearers".
Gretchen Wallace has coauthored an article with Dr. Gerbarg on the use of mind-body practices in post-disaster scenarios that will be published in an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. Gretchen will also be teaching a course at Kripalu September 6-10 for relief workers in Haiti on using breath for managing trauma exposure when working with traumatized populations. This offering is a collaboration with Suzanne Jones of YogaHope and David Emerson of the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Initiative.
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