Help Vulnerable Women Become Leaders of Change

by Global Grassroots
Girls often miss school retrieving water
Girls often miss school retrieving water

Hello! All of us at Global Grassroots hope that you have been enjoying this holiday season. And, as always, we want to thank you for your support of our Women’s Academy for Conscious Change.

Since our last report, so much has happened! Since then, we have received and approved completed water venture proposals from nearly all of the twelve teams who completed our formal training in July. Currently, the teams are waiting for estimated costs from WASAC, the municipal water company. WASAC officials have completed site visits to all of the individual team locations to assess the cost of each venture and they will provide the estimated budgets to our Rwanda office in the coming weeks. In the meantime, each team is completing their issues studies, processing their sector registrations, and opening bank accounts through which they not only will receive their start-up funds and subsequent tranches from Global Grassroots, they will be able to pay contractors and others when construction begins. Our local staff visits teams weekly during the venture development process.

One team, named Vision, is focusing on unemployment and lack of skills as they relate to water. The team is from a village called Nkusi, about an hour and half’s drive from Kigali by way of a long, winding road to the top of a mountain. A couple of the team’s leaders are men and they believe that their mission is to convince other men in the community how critical the social issues facing women are. The team, as a whole, is very ambitious and organized and we are delighted by their commitment and their efforts.

The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation has provided Global Grassroots with partial funding for this ambitious undertaking; we need to raise the rest. When completed, the cost per ultimate beneficiary receiving clean water and other gender-based violence services will equate to less than $6 once all teams are operating - and 30,000 people will have access to clean water right in the heart of their villages. That's all: just $6 per person for permanent, sustainable access to clean water.

As we start off a new year filled with hope and possibilities, will you help us make clean, safe water not just a possibility but a reality for thousands of people – mostly women and children? Thank you so much for your support!

From all of us at Global Grassroots, we wish you a very happy and healthy 2016!

Leading our 2015 Training
Leading our 2015 Training

Thank you so much for generously supporting Global Grassroots’ Academy for Conscious Change. We are excited to have convened our current cohort of 12 teams of women (and their supportive male colleagues). These teams all are focusing on bringing clean, safe water to their villages by mid-2016 through our exciting partnership with The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation’s Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN). RAIN is helping support these twelve water ventures as part of a 3:1 matching grant so we really need your help as an individual donor to ensure that our teams are able to achieve their goals! 

Our teams began their 12-month leadership training and social venture incubator through our Academy in July. They will work to provide water access to their respective communities, a total of approximately 30,000 people, while simultaneously addressing social issues facing women and girls, such as sexual exploitation associated with water collection or water-borne illnesses. Just as in all of our other Academies, participants learned mindfulness, entrepreneurial skills, accounting and financial accountability, and nonprofit management. Currently teams are completing their business proposals which will include mission and vision statements, a team roster, and a list of stakeholders. 

Ten of the 12 women-led teams will be working with WASAC, the Rwandan municipal water authority, to extend the main water pipeline into their communities. The two remaining teams, both without access to a WASAC pipeline, will each install a pipeline system to run water from local springs directly into their respective villages. The median cost globally for water infrastructure to bring clean water to one person is $250. Global Grassroots’ high-engagement model teaches women how to provide water to their communities, sustainably and permanently, while also improving other dimensions of the lives of local women and girls, for just $6.50 per person. We stand proudly behind our data and believe that our approach of working with grassroots women change leaders may be one of the most efficient water programs globally. Add to that the many significant ripples of impact, particularly for women and girls, and we know our program is special.

Global Grassroots staff has already begun to provide high-engagement support to teams in the field, helping them to fully develop their proposals. Once completed proposals have been approved, teams will collect data for their baseline issue studies, get materials estimates, and develop project budgets. Going operational is close to a year away for all teams but there is a lot to do in the meantime. We look forward to reporting on their progress over the coming months.

This year, your gift – at any level – will help us 'meet our match' from RAIN and will support our teams in bringing safe, clean water to thousands of people. Sustainably. Permanently. Amazing. Thank you so much!

Training exercise during July Academy
Training exercise during July Academy
A few water team leaders at Academy graduation
A few water team leaders at Academy graduation
The community now has safe local access to water
The community now has safe local access to water

We are excited about the progress our four women-led water ventures in Rwanda have made! First, Trust Each Other installed a 5,000L water tank and their new extension from the municipal pipeline is bringing water to it. Five villages, approximately 1,500 people, are now benefiting - with expanded service to five more villages soon. The team will be using profits from water sales to address gender-based violence and provide school fees for vulnerable children. 

Hold Each Otherhas encountered a delay laying their pipeline, most notably needing to increase the diameter of the pipe to their site because they are more than 300 meters from the water main. The new pipe is still being installed but should be completed in the next 3-4 weeks; the team will then be providing water to more than 1,800 people. 

Hard Workers’ has installed a second large water tank in their village in the southeast section of Kigali. The new tank serves an additional 600 households, approximately 3,500 residents. Twenty households, representing the disabled and/or most vulnerable, receive water for free. To achieve their goal of reducing water-borne illness by 98%, the team is visiting every households to teach the importance of treating water and of proper hygiene. 

Unite is bringing clean water to 300 households (1,600 people). Profits from water sales are already being used towards expanding to serve an additional four villages (5,400 people), teach residents how to purify water, and support the team’s Gender Equality Program. The team teaches local couples the importance of gender equality, including the need to share household responsibilities between the wife and the husband. 

Your gift of just $10 will support more grassroots, women-led teams like these solve – permanently and sustainably– the issue of water and bring about conscious social change in Rwanda. Please support Global Grassroots today. Thank you!

Women walk long distances to unsafe water sources
Women walk long distances to unsafe water sources
Learning in our Academy for Conscious Change
Learning in our Academy for Conscious Change
Preparing materials for first awareness campaign
Preparing materials for first awareness campaign

There is a saying to the effect that “when you give me fish you feed me for a day but when you teach me to fish and give me a hook, you feed me for life.”

This saying did come true in the life of Waribu Cing Wa (Unity is Strength) Women’s group. Their mission is to reduce the problem of work overload for women in their community by sensitizing their communities about the benefits of sharing both productive and reproductive work within the household for a healthy and happy community.

Having successfully completed their training, and conducting an indepth issue study, the group received funding for their second tranche just two weeks ago. They have now embarked on purchasing items they need to reach their mission of reducing the challenge of work overload for women in the community.  The attached picture shows group leaders taking stock of items purchased for the group in preparation for their sensitization (awareness building) sessions in the community.

The launching of the group is indeed a dream come true for not Just Waribo Cingwa but also seven other Women’s groups that were also launched in Gulu. They will be tackling social issues ranging from illiteracy, domestic violence, Women’s lands rights, HIV/AIDS and Women’s participation in leadership.


Kind People team member at work
Kind People team member at work

As reported directly from the field:

Global Grassroot's women's group, United People and Kind People led by two different groups of remarkable women report in on their progress as 2015 begins.

The Venture, United People, located in the Southern Province of Rwanda, is working with four groups of beneficiaries who are engaging in tailoring, making handcrafts with banana leaves, and carpets and small baskets with sisal as a way of raising money to train couples about gender balance and domestic violence. The group describes many challenges such as the issue of finding the right place to sell their items and only having the use of one sewing machine.

The team reports that some of their goals in working to reduce domestice violence have been achieved.  After training several women in making handcrafts they were able to award domesticated animals to couples whose behavior had changed the most significantly. Additionally the group was able to mobilize women to participate in income generating projects as a way of reducing their economical dependence, often the biggest trigger of violence.

The team trained a total of 40 couples who were most affected by domestic violence its causes and its consequences. They taught 35 women to make handicrafts who are now able to generate income that is helping them with the basic needs for their families. Five community members were taught sewing, and were then able to earn money from what they made.

Kind People, also located in the Southern Provence, in the Kabagali Sector, is also working to alleviate the root causes of domestic violence.  Their focus is on protecting women’s rights and promoting legal marriages by training men and women about the laws protecting the family and creating clubs to advocate for women’s rights.

One member described, "After getting training on social entrepreneurship by Global Grassroots our dreams of fighting violence in the community came true because of the grant which Global Grassroots  offered to us..."  The team also describes a split.  Seven team members decided to stop their work for a number of different reasons, including, for instance, the fact that they changed their residences, and some realized they did not have a natural affinity to being a change agent.

The remaining eight members are firmly committed and have created a conflict resolution commission, which helps them follow up with those cases after they are taken to the local authority.  The Conflict Resolution Commission allows Kind People to assist in problem solving and they have weekly meetings.

Recent accomplishments:

  •  70% of couples in Imudugudu say that violence has decreased.
  • 65% of women who attended the training have the right to access their property.
  •  Half of the couples who were illegally married at the beginning of the training decided to legalize their marriages
  • 75% of couples are still together after training provided by the members.

The team is fundraising with the goal of reducing the amount of monthly dues requested of group members.  Any donations would do towards this.  And if enough money is raised the group would like to rent an office rather than meet in the house of a team member.  Additionally, the team reports that because they are all over 50 years old they would like to bring their program to youth as a priority in the coming year.

The team is deeply grateful for the generosity of those who have contributed to date and feels continually blessed by your consideration.  They extend their heartfelt thanks.

The Kind People team
The Kind People team
United Team Members
United Team Members
Recently made handicrafts of United Team members
Recently made handicrafts of United Team members
Handicraft making to support domestic violence
Handicraft making to support domestic violence

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Organization Information

Global Grassroots

Location: Portsmouth, NH - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Gretchen Wallace
President and Founder
Portsmouth, New Hampshire United States
$47,131 raised of $123,000 goal
980 donations
$75,869 to go
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