Help Vulnerable Women Become Leaders of Change

by Global Grassroots
Powerful Female Change Agents in Rwanda
Powerful Female Change Agents in Rwanda

We’re busy moving forward with our high-engagement incubator, helping women at the grassroots level develop and sustain their own micro-NGOs.

Here’s a snapshot about some of the exciting new developments happening on the ground in Rwanda:

  • Let Us Build Ourselves, a women’s literacy venture, has developed a sister program tutoring street children and training them in traditional Rwandan dance.  Their dance program performs at local weddings and other events to support the cost of the literacy program. The dance team has become so skilled that they recently won a district-wide award. At the celebration for this award, 118 people also received free HIV tests.
  • Education for Young Girls, which initially tackled the problem of ensuring girls stay in school by building safe latrines and showers for them to use during their menstrual cycles, are now utilizing the skills they learned through our Academy for Conscious Change to design new approaches to tackling teenage prostitution.
  • Some of our water ventures, including Hard Workers and Have a Good Life are experiencing new difficulty because of climate change. The rains in Rwanda have been unusually scarce this year and water sources are drying up. Hard Workers’ rain collection cisterns have too frequently run dry, and the city has turned off the supply to Have a Good Life for days at a time. These teams are in the process of problem solving and trying to raise money for additional cisterns so that women don’t have to go back to dirty streams during dry spells.
  • In Rwinkwavu, in Eastern Rwanda, 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.  You can read more about them on their own Global Giving page here


We anticipate initiating our next Academy for Conscious Change with a cohort of venture teams focused on water issues in October.  Stay tuned for more. 



This past January, Global Grassroots launched its first geographical expansion from Rwanda into Northen Uganda to target women survivors of the reign of terror of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  Our first cohort of 40 change agents representing eight venture teams are now in the process of their venture development work.  Our newest staff from Uganda, Colombus Onoo and Celine Auma, traveled this month to Kigali to train with our Rwanda office, led by Senior Program Officer, Gyslaine Uwitonze and Program Assistant, Josiane Isingizwe. Their training included exposure to our existing venture teams and the delicate methodology we use to guide venture development and inspire self-sufficiency without imposing our own ideas.  We look forward to the opportunity for our venture teams in Uganda having the opportunity to exchange with our Rwandan organizations too.   



We remain deeply grateful for your support, as our ability to continue to support the growth and impact of these teams would not be possible without you. We are excited about our expansion into Uganda, our adaptation of our work for a younger audience of vulnerable girls and our upcoming Academy for Conscious Change focused on water issues.  We hope you will continue to contribute to our work, so that we may help vulnerable women become leading change agents.

This past year represented a turning point for Global Grassroots in moving from a successful pilot program to a growing organization that is expanding, replicating, scaling and adapting its core curriculum to new audiences while integrating supporting structures and revenue streams to enhance its sustainability. With your support, we have not only continued our commitment to our core Academy for Conscious Change for women change agents in Rwanda, but we have laid the groundwork for our geographical expansion into Northern Uganda, established partnerships for future issue-based investments in women-led water ventures, initiated a new offering for the next generation including high school girls in Rwanda and university women in the US, leveraged technology to disseminate our curriculum globally beginning in Liberia, and broadened our corps of trained practitioners who can help us meet the demand for our work.

In Rwanda, over the last year we have completed the launch of three new social ventures (Kind People, Education for Young Girls and People of Love) and have completed the design of three additional ventures (United People, Perseverance and A Friend Indeed) that are currently in the process of launching.  We conducted a small Academy for Conscious Change training program for additional members of two teams (Perseverance and People of the Same Compassion) who had management changes and were no longer led by our graduates, as required for funding.  People of the Same Compassion will resume their design work this winter.  Our final team of the 8 we have been coaching over the last two years (Handicap Rwandais Reabilite Reintegre dans ses Droits) has continued to revise their program plan and is not yet decided on a strategy to move forward.  Because our program is fiercely committed to local leadership, the pace of each team’s progress is driven by its own members.  As such, though our incubator is designed to serve teams for 18 months (the average time needed to develop and launch a social venture), we will continue to provide facilitation as long as is necessary for our teams to establish their work.  A brief overview of the mission of each of these teams follows:

Kind People is working to educate about the laws protecting the family and the mutual benefits of legal marriage. By promoting women's rights to property through legal marriage, they are advancing equality and reducing oppression and gender-based violence.

Education for Young Girls is working to prevent the harassment of and drop-out rates among 2000 girls during menstruation by building safe latrines at school.

People of Love has constructed a water-access point to provide clean water to a community of 200 families to eliminate the abuse of women associated with water collection. 

United People is working on the issue of domestic violence, and will be teaching 210 couples about gender-based violence, family law, reproductive health and family planning, while providing women with income-generating activities, so that they have greater economic power to leave abusive relationships.

Perseverance is working to reduce teenage pregnancy and school-drop out rates among grils by providing educational programs and safe latrines at Mahembe primary school. 

A Friend Indeed is working on the issue of teenage pregnancy and the stigma that further marginalizes single mothers and their children.  They will address this issue among nearly 700 community members through theater, mentorship programs, public discussions and income generating projects. 

People of the Same Compassion is working to eliminate child malnutrition by educating parents and children on cultivating kitchen gardens, cooking nutritious meals and raising chickens for eggs. 

Handicap Rwandais Reabilite Reintegre dans ses Droits is preventing discrimination against mothers of disabled children and working to provide specialized care and avenues to reduce economic vulnerability.

Further, this year we established a new partnership with the Komera Project to develop a Girls Academy for Conscious Change.  Launched in November, the partnership adapts Global Grassroots proven social venture incubator to serve 70 vulnerable girls who have been selected as Komera Scholars during the 2-month school holiday in November and December.  Our young participants are now working on 6 inspiring social ventures of their own design addressing issues such as hunger and child abuse.  You can learn more about the Girls Program here: 

Attached, please find a year-end report that provides further detail on our specific progress in meeting our goals for 2012.  In summary, this past year we deepened our core programs and took significant steps towards establishing new pilot endeavors that will not only expand our influence and raise our visibility, but also generate resources for our work.  Our success is due to your commitment to our programs and your belief in our vision and philosophy.  We look forward to a productive year ahead in supporting grassroots, conscious change agents working to benefit vulnerable women and girls. Thank you for your support!



Dear friends,

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:

  • We are piloting a new “uAcademy” bootcamp for juniors and seniors at Dartmouth College this fall, through a partnership with the Dickey Center for International Understanding and the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy. This program will enable students to learn and apply our methodology of Conscious Social Change, driving social change in their home communities and abroad. This engaging new course represents a unique fusion of personal leadership, global citizenship, social entrepreneurship, and international development. We are thrilled to partner with Dartmouth College, and we hope to offer our workshops to more universities next spring!
  • We are initiating our first partnership program with the Komera Project in Rwanda, offering our social entrepreneurship training to 57 vulnerable high school girls this November. Our Girls Academy for Conscious Change will support the next generation of change agents in recognizing their power to transform themselves and their communities. Click here for more info:
  • We are currently piloting our “eAcademy” e-learning program with women’s groups in ten countries and are preparing to publicly launch the platform in early 2013. This pioneering program will allow women’s groups in developing countries around the world to access our social entrepreneurship training online for free. Not only will these women be equipped to drive change in their own communities, but they will also become part of our global network of grassroots change agents, with access to ideas and best practices shared by other women 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: 



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 crisisthat 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!

* * * * * * * *

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 if you would like more information or are interested in participating!

 * * * * * * * * 

Global Grassroots initiated its Academy for Conscious Change in Rwanda in 2006 with a group of 60 genocide widows with HIV, caring for 227 children, including orphans.  What began as a brief training program followed by small seed grants with no oversight has expanded into an 18-month social venture incubator that incorporates conscious leadership training, mind-body trauma healing, social entrepreneurship and non-profit management training, seed grants and high-engagement support to help vulnerable women launch their own ideas for social change.  To date, we have trained 300 change agents who have designed 26 “micro-NGOs”.  Over 50,000 people have been served to date, including:

  • Nearly 11,000 people have received access to clean water, with another 1200 by year end
  • Over 30,000 people have received training or have witnessed educational events on gender-based violence and women’s rights
  • Nearly 350 women have learned to read, making a new commitment to send their girls to school
  • Over 4500 children, parents and community members have been educated on girls’ reproductive health and over 2000 girls will be served by new, safe latrines by year end

Thank you for your invaluable partnership and support.  Please help our continued work with vulnerable women change agents. Donate today: 

 Global Grassroots is thrilled to announce the launch of three new, sustainable social ventures in Rwanda, designed by and for grassroots women...

Kind People: Providing Training to Promote Legal Marriage and Protect Women's Property Rights
With the generous sponsorship of Maura Shaughnessy and family, Global Grassroots officially launched social venture “Kind People” in the Ruhango District of southern Rwanda. Kind People will train 400 men and women about the laws protecting the family and the mutual benefits of legal marriage and build local advocacy clubs in 9 communities.  By promoting women's rights to property through legal marriage, they will advance equality and reduce oppression in relationships. Kind People will also invest in a motorcycle taxi, which will help women report incidents of violence, provide transportation for follow-up with victims, and earn revenue as a public taxi.  They hope to become the 'go-to' network for victims of domestic violence, serving a geographical area with an estimated population of 12,000 couples.  Learn more:

Education for Young Girls: Preventing Harassment of and Drop-out Rates Among Girls During Menstruation by Building Safe Latrines at School 
With the generous sponsorship of The Segal Family Foundation and support from MyVillage2Urs, Education for Young Girls has launched. At Cyarwa high school, female students frequently drop out because they feel unsafe or uncomfortable using the restroom at school.  There is only one set of latrines that are shared by all students and teachers, and boys watch the girls while they used the restroom; not even teachers are spared from this harassment. Education for Young Girls will build separate latrines for females and males so that boys cannot harass female students or teachers.  They also plan to educate their community about reproductive health, reaching 2000 students, 1000 parents and 600 community members to end harassment and keep girls in school. Learn more:

People of Love: Providing Accessible, Clean Water to Eliminate the Abuse of Women
With the generous sponsorship of Project High Hopes, People of Love has begun their operations. This team works in the rural area of Kamonyi, where a severe scarcity of water causes and triggers gender violence, domestic conflict, and other social issues affecting women. People of Love will reduce violence related to lack of water by installing a clean water point, visiting couples in their homes and educating those who come to use the water point about domestic violence laws and consequences, gender equality. They will also train families on the use of kitchen gardens to fight malnutrition and the importance of men sharing domestic responsibilities. The team aims to reduce domestic violence in Kamonyi, keep more children in school, increase female participation in community affairs, and build stronger and more gender-equal families.  Learn more: 


Global Grassroots is also working to expand our programming and deepen our impact, through new offerings and partnerships:

Global Grassroots Receives Support for Expansion into Northern Uganda
We are delighted to announce that, through a generous grant from the Imago Dei Fund and with ongoing support from the NoVo Foundation, Global Grassroots will be replicating our Academy for Conscious Change in Northern Uganda this year! We are thrilled to partner with the Imago Dei Fund and the NoVo Foundation in this critical step toward advancing our work for vulnerable women change agents in post-conflict environments.

eAcademy Pilot Begins with a Site Visit in Guatemala
Last week, Global Grassroots initiated the pilot of our new eAcademy - an innovative, interactive, elearning program offering our social entrepreneurship and conscious change training online. In partnership with a team of MBA students from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, we conducted a feasibility study with women’s groups in the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala to understand how best to target grassroots groups worldwide.  In mid-March, we will pilot the platform with approximately 15 groups in 4 continents, and anticipate our public launch this summer or fall, serving grassroots social ventures in 45 countries worldwide!

GG Founder & President Gretchen Wallace Teaching at Omega NYC

Global Grassroots Founder & President Gretchen Wallace will be facilitating a Women & Happiness workshop at the Omega Institute’s “Omega NYC” retreat, April 20th-22nd. In an interactive session, Gretchen will teach participants how to discover their unique, authentic power and use it to help others. Come away ready to make a difference! To sign up or learn more, go to

Please consider a donation to help Global Grassroots continue to support the social ventures of grassroots change agents worldwide.


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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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