Anti-Violence Clubs & Training for 1000 Leaders

by Global Grassroots

In the Byimana and Ruhango sectors of rural Rwanda, Light in Our Home is working to end all forms of gender-based violence (GBV).  The project is educating local leaders about the causes and consequences of violence and forming anti-violence clubs in each local neighborhood. Where sexual violence has emerged as an issue in the primary and secondary schools, the team is also committed to raising awareness and providing resources to help its victims and stop the cycles of violence.

In February, the team held a district-wide training on GBV, which was organized by the Gender Monitoring Officer and engaged a number of local officials, including coordinators the National Youth Council in Ruhango, the Directing Doctor of Gitwe Hospital, and several security agents and justice agents. This training offered information about how to report cases of GBV and also identified resources and local officials that women and children could seek for help with GBV issues.  The team also provided trainings for 60 education professionals, where they taught lessons on GBV causes and consequences, civil law, and human rights law. Those trainees have been given the equipment and materials that will enable them to do follow-up work in their communities.

All district schools have also been asked to build a room for girls to use when they are menstruating. The private space will protect them from sexual assault that they may face in the unisex latrines, and will encourage girls to attend school consistently rather than being absent for several days each month.  

Finally, Light in Our Home presented its program to Care International and received a donation of Rwf 300,000 (around $600), to be used for the celebration of International Women’s Day. Light in our Home was the one of the teams selected to be in charge of preparing the day’s events


Global Grassroots is currently preparing to expand our Academy to Northern Uganda to serve women and girls abducted and forced to serve as combatants and sex slaves by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Thousands of women have returned home after the war, many of them traumatized, stigmatized, HIV-positive, and caring for children. While there are many initiatives working to rehabilitate male former child soldiers, there are far fewer resources for women who are returning with the added trauma of having experienced sexual violence. We conducted an extensive feasibility study in late February/early March, speaking with individuals and organizations about the landscape of need and opportunities for partnership in Uganda. Having met with over 20 local organizations throughout the northern region of the country, we have identified strong potential partners and have chosen to locate our program in the Pader district.  We intend to initiate the Academy program for at least 5 new teams in Uganda later this year.

We have also had over 100 women’s groups in 40 countries request our programs.  This summer, we will launch a web-based eAcademy which will allow our training curriculum to be accessible online to serve this broader need and to disseminate our social entrepreneurship curriculum globally through local internet cafes. Global Grassroots' e-learning Academy will allow us to deliver our program through a free subscription service to grassroots teams throughout the developing world.  In so doing, we will provide training, skills and tools to support small-scale, grassroots-level social entrepreneurship among underserved women’s groups in impoverished countries. In most cases, these women would have no other access to the training needed to start their own non-profits and design their own solutions to the social issues in their communities.

During this time of growth, Global Grassroots needs engaged investors to join with us to actualize these exciting new possibilities. Our vision is that all women will have the capacity and resources to lead conscious social change, sustained by their own communities. You can help to make this a reality. Please consider a donation to help Global Grassroots continue to support the social ventures of grassroots change agents worldwide. 


This social venture led by a local headmaster who also ran for Parliament this past year, is working to fight against all forms of gender-based violence.  The project is educating local leaders about the causes and consequences of violence and forming anti-violence clubs in each local neighborhood.  The venture, launched in late March has already conducted its first training with local officials from 33 different sectors, including high school principals, District advisory council members, and the head of security in the Ruhango District, about the causes, consequences, relevant laws and forms of gender-based violence (GBV). Consequently, two schools created anti-GBV clubs. The clubs are mobilizing students to report GBV cases that occur at school and are then following up on the cases.  At the government level, the district advisory council members who received training successfully advocated for funding, and the Ruhango District distributed 1,800,000 FRW ($3,076) for fighting GBV in nine sectors. In October, Light in Our Home trained another 164 people including 127 local authorities, members of the National Women’s Council, members of the National Youth Committee, eight local representative members of the President’s Advisory Council and eight Executive Secretaries at the local government level. They are working to develop new anti-GBV clubs and strengthen existing ones.  They also recently conducted a survey of their beneficiaries and are in the process of analyzing the data. We look forward to continuing to update you on their progress in the coming months.


2010 has been a turning point for Global Grassroots. We have endured hardship with the economic downturn, but are emerging leaner, more creative and more strategic.  We’ve evaluated our social impact, repositioned our training program as the Academy for Conscious Change and integrated new mind-body practices for trauma healing.  We’ve brought these holistic practices to earthquake survivors in Haiti and, by request, to American relief workers serving in disaster zones.  We’ve doubled the number of civil society organizations our Academy has helped launch in Rwanda, and are investing in technology and partnerships to expand our reach.  Today, our 300 Rwandan change agents have established 16 non-profit organizations, which are working at the root level of a social issue facing women and girls, benefiting an estimated 10,000+ people each year.

As we move forward into 2011, we have over 100 women’s groups in 40 countries requesting our programs.  In response, we are expanding our hands-on approach into Northern Uganda next and embarking upon a web-based eAcademy for Conscious Change to reach women worldwide through local internet cafes.  We are developing new courses, based on our core curriculum, for a range of new audiences, including students, donors and practitioners.  And we are preparing to package and license our program model for partner organizations to implement in regions we have yet to explore.

Global Grassroots needs engaged investors to join with us and our change agents in a three-part-partnership to actualize the possibilities in front of us. We invite you to read more about our progress in our 2010 Year-End Magazine (available for download on our home page: and consider a donation to help Global Grassroots continue to support the social ventures of grassroots change agents worldwide. 

GLOBAL GRASSROOTS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports conscious social change for women in post-conflict societies. Our Academy for Conscious Change is a 12-18 month social venture incubator, offering non-profit management skills, leadership training, personal transformation practices, seed grants and high-engagement support that enables vulnerable women change agents to launch their own grassroots solutions benefiting women and girls.  JOIN US.


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


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.


The Light in Our Home venture team, led by a local headmaster who also ran for Parliament this past year, is working to fight against all forms of gender-based violence. The organization is educating local leaders about the causes and consequences of violence and forming anti-violence clubs in each local neighborhood. The venture, launched in late March has already conducted its first training with local officials from 33 different sectors. The project is now working to execute an broad-based issue study in the surrounding communities regarding gender-based violence. Thank you for making this venture possible. We look forward to continuing to keep you updated on its progress!


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


Global Grassroots is delighted to announce that with your support and that of the Christ of Church Board of World Fellowship and the St. James Trust, we have fully funded and launched this project. We are tremendously grateful for these contributions and look forward to updating donors on the project's operations.

Funds permitting, we will launch an additional seven social venture projects in Rwanda this year. In June, we will return to Rwanda to host our sixth Academy for Conscious Change and, in partnership with Jewish Helping Hands, offer training for our project teams in reproductive health, social-issue filmmaking, computer literacy, English, and trauma healing through yoga and breathwork.

Additionally, Global Grassroots has been working in Haiti, offering the trauma healing portion of our program to women survivors of the earthquake.


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Organization Information

Global Grassroots

Location: Portsmouth, NH - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Gretchen Wallace
President and Founder
Hanover, NH United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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