Help Vulnerable Women Become Leaders of Change

by Global Grassroots
2010 Academy for Conscious Change
2010 Academy for Conscious Change


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 Domestic violence Violence against and rejection of single mothers Malnutrition 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.

NEW TEAM PROFILE: A Friend Indeed: Combating stigma and violence against unwed teen mothers

In Rwanda sex before marriage is considered inappropriate, and so pregnancy out of wedlock is highly stigmatized. Pregnancy and birth control is often considered a woman's responsibility and the boys frequently take little responsibility. Even if the pregnancy was the result of sexual violence or exploitation, the girls, sometimes as young as 12, may experience rejection from family members, and possible expulsion from their homes. Forced into absolutely dire circumstances, there are stories of mothers falling into transactional sex in order to survive.

One of the teams from this year's academy, "A Friend Indeed," is working to advance women's rights awareness, entrepreneurship training, reproductive health education and parenting skills for single mothers. Its members also aim to educate their larger community through theater to fight the stigma against young, unmarried women who seek access to contraception. They have already established an initial program to provide emotional support and parenting help to unwed mothers who are on their own, visiting the mothers of 120 children once every two weeks, and providing education about sexual safety and birth control. Once they develop a sustainable program in their first location, they will expand their work nationally.


For the first time in Rwanda, Global Grassroots implemented the Breath~Body~Mind (BBM) program developed by Dr. Richard Brown and Dr. Patricia Gerbarg ( 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.

Be a part of Global Grassroots! Help us continue to offer innovative programs to train and support local change makers.

Thank you!!

Rwandan women doing yoga
Rwandan women doing yoga
A Team
A Team's Community Theater Performance


Light in Our Home training program
Light in Our Home training program

2010 ACADEMY FOR CONSCIOUS CHANGE BEGINS Global Grassroots will host its next Academy for Conscious Change course beginning June 14th, enrolling a new class of 5-6 teams of change leaders in its 18 month social entrepreneurship incubator. Applications have risen sharply to nearly six times the available spots in the new class. Global Grassroots is targeting a rural area to the east of Kigali, where it has not yet had an opportunity to reach.

GLOBAL GRASSROOTS EXPANDING GLOBALLY THROUGH PARTNERS & TECHNOLOGY To date almost 100 women's organizations in 40 countries have requested partnership or access to Global Grassroots training. This past term, Global Grassroots engaged a team of MBA students from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College to analyze this market opportunity and design a global scale strategy to replicate our work on an international level. The Tuck team recommended two core strategies. The first strategy will use a web-based, interactive, e-learning platform to disseminate our curriculum to teams of change agents working at the grassroots level. The second strategy involves training selected partner organizations to license and deliver our complete Academy program model to their own target populations. Global Grassroots is now in the process of securing funding to begin to roll-out each strategy by year end.

NEW PROJECTS LAUNCHED & OPERATING In May, Global Grassroots project team, "Have A Good Life" completed construction and began operations providing access to water for 200 families, including those once sexually exploited in exchange for water access. Thank you to the PECO Foundation and Cherokee Elementary School in Scottsdale, AZ for making this project possible.

Further, Global Grassroots' newest project, "Light in Our Home", which is dedicated to ending domestic violence through education, held its first training program with local leaders, including district executive council members, sector representatives, women’s council members, youth representatives, and the director of education for the district. Thank you to the Christ Church Board of World Fellowship and the St. James Trust for making this project possible.

This month, Global Grassroots is preparing to launch two new projects. APROFER will fight violence against women and ensure access to property rights by training local community representatives to be advocates. Turwubake will engage married couples, domestic workers and their employers in dialogue to fight sexual and physical violence in the home.

THANK YOU Without your support these successes would not have happened. But the need remains great and we ask you, once again, for your help as we stretch to reach dozens more vulnerable women with ideas to transform their own communities. Your help is vital to this effort. Thank you for your continued support of the women of Rwanda and the work of Global Grassroots.

Have a Good Life water access point
Have a Good Life water access point


Let Us Build Ourselves Literacy Class
Let Us Build Ourselves Literacy Class

We are delighted to share we have formed a new partnership with Jewish Helping Hands and deepened our partnership with the J.A. Clark Charitable Trust to provide mezzanine funding for several of our existing projects to help sustain and expand their operations in 2010. This will allow:

Hard Workers, a project fighting sexual exploitation of vulnerable women for water, to expand to a second site, serving another 1000 people

Think About the Young Girls, to complete construction of a new bathing facility at the site of their latrines which protect girls from rape and ensure they do not drop out at the age of menstruation. It will also provide feminine products and supplies for one year.

Achieving a Better Life, to produce new plays fighting domestic violence and, with the additional support of the Rebecca Davis Dance Company, to make a new documentary film.

Let Us Build Ourselves, to continue offering its literacy and math classes to a new class of 20 vulnerable women.

Invincible Vision 20/20, to expand its literacy classes to another 226 women and add an animal husbandry program to compensate its teachers.

We are thrilled by the support of these partners and the continued social impact of our teams into their second and third year of operations.

We are about to complete construction on another water project, Have a Good Life, which should be operational by March, and anticipate launching three more projects fighting violence against women before April. We welcome any of your comments and questions about the projects.

Thank you for your continued support!

Hard Workers water project
Hard Workers water project
Think About the Young Girls latrines
Think About the Young Girls latrines

On this eve of Thanksgiving, Global Grassroots wishes to thank you for your invaluable support. Please click on the links below to view our 2009 video annual report to see our impact this year in Rwanda.

Our 260 graduates of our Academy for Conscious Change served 8000 vulnerable women and girls this year. This would not have been possible without you.

We invite you to join us in 2010 so that we may continue to support conscious social change driven by and for grassroots women.

There is only one week left in the GlobalGiving Give More Get More Challenge, where your year-end donation will be matched. Please consider making a gift today to support our work in 2010.

Thank you. Gretchen Wallace Founder & President


30 women learn to write. Venture: Let Us Build Ourselves
30 women learn to write. Venture: Let Us Build Ourselves

Global Grassroots held its annual Gathering of Graduates from its Conscious Change Academy in Kigali this August. Over 75 grassroots change agents attended, enjoying new workshops on conciousness practices, creative problem-solving and financial sustainability. Joining us from the US were graduate student Lydia Humenycky of Carnegie Mellon University, Melissa Collum - a Fulbright Fellow and social studies teacher from Wisconsin, and Jennifer Holden - former board member, athlete manager and photographer from Utah.

Over the course of 10 weeks in the field, Lydia completed an in-depth Impact Assessment of our Academy program. Her analysis show Global Grassroots is moving steadily towards its goals in supporting marginalized women in becoming leading change agents. In only two years, we have helped establish 11 civil society organizations, 6 of which are moving into their 2nd and 3rd year of operations! Our graduates' ventures have collectively touched upwards of 40,000 lives across Rwanda, combating domestic violence, illiteracy, sexual exploitation and lack of clean water. We invite you to download our 2009 Project Portfolio which we have just posted under our GlobalGiving profile to learn more about each project you have helped make possible by supporting our Conscious Change Academy.

Over a dozen projects remain in our pipeline, which we have also just begun to post separately on Please consider supporting a specific project by searching under Global Grassroots or projects supporting Women and Girls in Rwanda. Our goal is to launch 10 more projects by year end. Thank you for your continued support of our work.

90 prostitutes learn new skills. Venture: Meg Foundation
90 prostitutes learn new skills. Venture: Meg Foundation
Water delivered to 250 families. Venture: Work for Life
Water delivered to 250 families. Venture: Work for Life

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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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