Help Vulnerable Women Become Leaders of Change

by Global Grassroots Vetted since 2009 Site Visit Verified
Strong women (and a few good men) lead Unite: Jali
Strong women (and a few good men) lead Unite: Jali

In their first full year of providing safe access to clean water to their Rwandan commuity, Team Unite: Jali has achieved some significant goals set during their venture development phase. More than 1,125 people have attended their workshops, dramas, and sensitizations that focus on family planning, sharing household tasks, women’s economic empowerment, and water hygiene. Further, 26 vulnerable women receive free water (two jerrycans/day) including one especially impoverished family, a widow with four children, two of whom are disabled. The widow was grateful for the water for her family then asked the team for the waste water– the extra water that would splash onto the ground below the taps when people were filling their jerry cans at the water point in the village. Now she captures that water, using it to water her tomato plants. She was able to sell her bounty of tomatoes, reinvesting the revenue in more plants and purchasing two goats, one of which has already produced three kids - and the widow is still farming her tomatoes. Unite: Jali’s water point has completely transformed the life of this once-destitute family. 

Other Unite achievements include:  

  • 91% of the villages they serve have easy access to their clean water. However, 2 villages are still walking up to 30 minutes to collect water from their access point.
  • There has been an 8% reduction in school dropouts.
  • 37% of men now collect water compared to 13% at the start of the venture.
  • 53% of men now share household tasks, up from 20%.
  • There has been a reduction in family conflict and domestic violence by 30%.
  • 123 women have joined saving groups.
  • After one year, 58 of 180 households are using birth control.
  • There has been a 56% increase in households treating their water.

While thrilled by what they have accomplished over the last year, Unite: Jali is also already looking toward the future. They want to expand their operations to further reduce the distance that women in the two villages, mentioned above, must travel to collect water. They also are pursuing full ownership of the land on which their water point stands (which is currently leased) and are in negotiation with the land owner and the local land officer to do so. They feel that is the best way for them to protect their investment in their equipment.

Global Grassroots is committed to helping more women-led water teams just like Unite: Jali bring clean water access and social transformation programs to their post-conflict communities through our Academy for Conscious Change. Please consider becoming a recurring donor through GlobalGiving - and accept our deepest thanks for your generosity.

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Eugenie, President of Bright Future
Eugenie, President of Bright Future

When Eugenie was pregnant, she regularly had to carry 25 liters of water long distances to provide for her family (1 liter = 2.2 lbs). That's 55 lbs of water, while pregnant

Pregnant women who carry heavy loads of water are far more likely to miscarry than women who have local water access.  Eugenie was one of the lucky ones; she carried her baby to term.

Water can be dangerous in other ways. Eugenie, who is a social health worker and mother of five in Bugarama, Rwanda,  says, "...because the groundwater is not protected [from runoff and drainage], the people who get water there are often sick. I am a Social Health Worker in this village, so I would try very hard to get people to boil water, but it is hard. Some people think that the water is safe for them to drink, since they have been drinking dirty water for a long time. Others cannot afford firewood." 

Fortunately, Eugenie doesn't have to worry about carrying water up steep hills anymore. Having graduated from Global Grassroots’ Academy for Conscious Change, Eugenie now leads Bright Future, a non-profit water venture serving more than 3,000 people in her community, many of whom are mothers like herself. In addition, since launching their operations, the team has actively promoted water hygiene and sanitation. They have witnessed a decrease in water-borne diseases thus reducing medical expenses for families and out-of-school time for children, and improving the overall health of community members. 

Your support helps mothers provide water for their families and their community without risk to themselves, their children, and their unborn babies. If you are not a monthly donor to Global Grassroots through GlobalGiving, please consider becoming one. Many thanks for your generosity!

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2 of Vision
2 of Vision's leaders with one of our local staff

The members of Team Vision did not have an easy time getting their water venture up-and-running. No sooner had they launched their water enterprise than their water supply dried up, diverted to the nearby Rwandan military base. After months of unsuccessful negotiations, Vision raised the funds needed from their own community to run a new pipeline that would not compete with the base. They excavated new trenches, laid the pipe, and finally began selling water. The water authority was so impressed with their commitment as well as their financial skills acquired through our training, they asked the team to take over two additional water points; the team will be providing water access to up to 6,000 people in the coming months!

With the profits from the sale of water at their own water point, Vision has already funded family planning workshops attended by 115 couples; water hygiene and sanitation trainings for 187 households; free sanitation supplies for 20 of the most vulnerable households in the community, and the team has been instrumental in helping four children, who had dropped out, successfully return to school.

Please consider becoming a Global Grassroots monthly donor through GlobalGiving and help support a new team of marginalized, underserved women (up to 45 people!) design and run their own nonprofit solutions to the water and social problems facing women and girls in their community. We - and they - are grateful for your support!

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Collecting water at Trust Each Other
Collecting water at Trust Each Other's water point

Clemence has a tough job in construction in Busasamana in Rwanda. All day long she carries rocks and bricks on her head to where a health center is being built. The physically demanding job pays her $3 a day which she uses to support herself and her three children. Next to the construction site, at their water tap, the Global Grassroots' trained team Trust Each Other was teaching a group of women about saving money. Clemence had attended two sessions when she started to set aside about 75 cents from each day's pay, in the last three months saving 42,000 Rwandan francs (about $50). With her savings, Clemence recently invested in a large flock of chickens and began selling their eggs, reaping another $3 a day for her family. Clemence never imagined that she would someday have saved enough money to start her own livestock project thereby doubling her income, and she credits Trust Each Other with making this a reality for her.

Through their social change programs, Trust Each Other continues to reach out. Recently the team even invited a popular host of a local television show to speak to their community about saving money and generating additional income. His involvement exposed nearly 350 more people to the practice of saving and growing small businesses in this community where women often make less than $2 a day. In addition, the team continues to educate women and men on family planning, reproductive health, and the triggers of domestic violence. Through July and August, they conducted sessions on family planning that were attended by 87 men and 73 women.

Beyond their social change work, Trust Each Other is also successfully running their water venture - selling nearly 16,500 gallons of water to their community in August alone.

All of us at Global Grassroots are grateful to everyone who helps support our Academy for Conscious Change in Rwanda. You make it possible for women such as Clemence to have access to clean water, achieve their dreams of better supporting their children, and improving their lives. 

Please consider increasing your impact by becoming a monthly donor to Global Grassroots through GlobalGiving. Thank you so much!

Women benefit from Trust Each Other
Women benefit from Trust Each Other's programs
Creating a nutritious kitchen garden
Creating a nutritious kitchen garden

Patricia is a widowed mother of four and a proud member of Team Hygiene & Culture.

“I am so proud to see our children attend school on time now and be able to grow up appropriately. Every single time I see the water site [managed by Hygiene & Culture] it makes me happy but it reminds me how we abused our children by making them wake up early and walk two hours to fetch water. A five-year-old child can only carry seven liters of water and you could not allow them to take a shower if you had no hope that someone else could go back to get more water for lunch. Sometimes children would complain about being overwhelmed. Imagine being that child who has to wake up every single morning and find water. How is he or she going to grow up well physically and mentally? It’s impossible.”

Patricia also talked about how the lack of water access affects a family’s income:

“If a cow does not have water to drink, how is it going to produce enough milk for the family and for the market?”

Prior to Hygiene & Culture’s launch, households often spent Rwf 300 per jerry can of water (approximately 35 cents). For women who often make less than $2 a day, buying water for their families was often a real but necessary hardship. Now those same women pay only Rwf 30 (3 cents), a tremendous savings that these same women can now use to buy more water for farm animals and pay school fees for their children. Further those savings are enabling women to do even more for their families: the team has helped women in Nyakusi cell outside Kigali, Rwanda, join a lending circle. The group has grown from 213 women to 384!

The team has also helped women understand the impact kitchen gardens can have on child nutrition. Two team members personally teach community members how to start gardens even on very small plots of land. Nine households now have thriving gardens with more to come.

Finally, Hygiene & Culture has provided training and workshops on gender-based violence and conflict resolution to 160 couples, effectively changing attitudes and behaviors that are enabling women to live without fear of their husbands. 

Your gift – of any amount – will help transform the lives of vulnerable women like Patricia and the other women in Nyakusi. Please, support Global Grassroots today. Thank you so much!

Learning how lending circles work
Learning how lending circles work

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Organization Information

Global Grassroots

Location: Portsmouth, NH - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.globalgrassroots.org
Project Leader:
Gretchen Steidle
President and Founder
Portsmouth, New Hampshire United States
$49,379 raised of $123,000 goal
 
993 donations
$73,621 to go
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