Help Vulnerable Women Become Leaders of Change

by Global Grassroots
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
Rwandan women
Rwandan women

Alexis Nadin is a student at American University and former intern at GlobalGiving. This summer, she is traveling through Africa and visiting a number of GlobalGiving projects. Alexis visited this project on May 27, 2009. She writes:

During our brief time in Rwanda, we have heard about a broad range of problems: young girls being attacked in latrines; female business owners unable to read, write, or use a calculator; disabled women trading sex for water; women forced into prostitution to afford food for their children; and many others. How can one organization possibly address such a broad range of problems? It’s simple: empower the grassroots to find and implement their own solutions. This is how Global Grassroots has been able to change so many lives. They teach women about the power they have in their own communities, work with them to identify the root causes of their local problems, and how to develop sustainable solutions. Further, this organization equips women with skills to develop a strategic plan, to fundraise independently and to operate as a lasting organization.

At every project we visited, we found women that had gained confidence in themselves, and, consequently, had begun to respond to problems in their local communities. In their own words, they have become “agents of change.” The success of Global Grassroots is best exemplified in the achievements f the four projects we visited during our stay. These projects are briefly described below.

Project 1: Helping School Age Girls Stay Safe

In a community thirty minutes outside of Kigali, a group of teachers noticed that girls were dropping out of school, and others were complaining of being attacked and harassed in the latrines. We saw that the latrines were crumbling, and lacked any privacy (no doors, ceilings, etc). According to the president of the group the boys and girls use the same latrines, which led to the violence. Because of a lack of privacy, girls were too embarrassed to come to school during their period. Today, through a partnership with Global Grassroots, this group of teachers has began to build new latrines (separating boys and girls) and to educate the community about issues facing young girls. Because of the networking skills this group learned through Global Grassroots the local government has also contributed tremendous support, and more latrines.

Project 2: Improving Quality of Life Through Access to Water

In another community, a lack of access to water forced women to walk two hours to collect water, children to miss school because they were busy collecting water, and handicapped women to trade water for sex. Having attended Global Grassroots training, a group of women from a local church decided to set up a rainwater collection system to provide water access to the community, as well as a source of income from the profits. Aside from providing the training, Global Grassroots provided the otherwise unattainable start up costs (such as tanks) for a project that still serves 200 families today.

Of the 22 Global Grassroots projects throughout the country, time only allowed us to visit two others. For one project, Global Grassroots helped the group buy 15 sewing machines to teach former prostitutes an income generating project to escape the sex-trade. The last project taught female business owners to read, write, and do basic math, making it possible for them to profitably manage their businesses. One woman, Zahara, happily told us that now she can help her children with their homework. The countless stories about women like Zahara are a testament to the phenomenal work of Global Grassroots.

GlobalGiving is committed to incorporating many viewpoints on our 600+ projects. We feel that more information, especially from eyewitnesses helps donors like you continue to support organizations doing great work in the community.


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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
$46,914 raised of $123,000 goal
975 donations
$76,086 to go
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