550 Women & Youth to Defend Property Rights

by Global Grassroots

This Venture has graduated into a self-sustained training module that addresses issues of violence relating to property rights.  Working in the rural community of Mutara District, community stakeholders recently formed an “anti-violence” club, The Path of Peace, which will continue to educate people, including children, about women’s rights.  The club is now sending team members out to people’s homes to help educate them so that entire families including children can learn about equality and rights. In the past 7 months, the group reports that two theater events took place addressing the issue of family violence.  Each theater production drew large audiences of 250 people.

Thank you for your support which has made this work possible.  We look forward to continuing to update you in the coming months. 


Learning at the Academy For Conscious Change
Learning at the Academy For Conscious Change

Part of the training that teams receive at the Academy for Conscious Change is in the importance of creating strategic partnerships with other stakeholders within a community. This helps form a network of people addressing the issue at different levels, raises awareness about the issue, and helps ensure community support for the venture. 

Have Pity and Compassion, a team working in the rural community of Mutara District in Rwanda to fight violence against women and promote women's land right have been putting that lesson into action. 

On June 17 they met with the Justice & Peace Commission at the Kabgayi Diocese to share their work and build common ground. The Commission was moved by the work they have been doing already to reduce violence and agreed to partner with them, creating a club called The Path of Peace. This anti-violence club will educate children about women's rights so that the next generation can grow up with greater expectations of equality. 20 Children are already participating in this project, and the team was able to visit the homes of the 11 families where the children come from to reinforce the message throughout the entire family. 

We invite you to continue to support these change agents and others like them by making a donation. 

Have Pity and Compassion Team Update:

The Have Pity and Compassion team joined their sisters across the world when they participated in International Women’s Day on March 8. In partnership with other local leaders, they organized a community event to raise awareness about women’s contributions both in and out of the home. Women’s work has too often been undervalued globally, so recognizing the value of women’s contribution is a crucial step towards gender equity. Four hundred and fifty women attended and heard this message.

Recognizing that engaging the next generation of women is a key to social change, they organized information sessions with 120 school-aged girls, emphasizing governmental programs that provide them access to educational opportunities. 

They also organized a public discussion to educate women about opportunities to advance their well being in both their professional and personal lives. 




In Rwinkwavu, 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.  For examples, one of the six teams, called Brave People, works on the issue of homeless youth. They have succeeded in reintegrating seven children back into their families as well as helping three children find families to adopt them.

To read more about these inspiring young women, you can take a look at their page on Global Giving


We believe that engaging women and girls in post-conflict reconstruction is crucial to changing the attitudes that created conflict in the first place. To that end, we’re happy to announce that in January, we initiated our first Academy for Conscious Change via a nine-day residential training program that was held in Gulu, Northern Uganda. We accepted eight venture teams represented by 40 change agents into our first cohort.  Our participants are predominately vulnerable women affected by the reign of terror of the Lord's Resistance Army in their region. Working diligently, the teams have begun the design of their social ventures working on the following issues: HIV, Divorce, Household Conflict & Overwork, Women's Human Rights, Gender-based Violence, Illiteracy, Advancing Women in Leadership, and `Property Rights. They now are engaged in Phase 2 of our 18-month program to complete the development of their ventures. By building the capacity of women to heal from trauma and advance their own ideas, we hope to support empowerment, healing, and reconciliation. We look forward to learning from their insight and wisdom and helping them create conscious social change in their communities. 

We wish to thank you for your invaluable support this past year.  Following is a quarterly field report direct from the team on the work that Have Pity and Compassion has been doing to fight gender-based violence and women's rights to property within the family... 

* * * * * * * 

(1) In the last three months, we have served 80 more couples from four sectors Kigarama, Gishweru, Mutara, and Nyabibugu.

(2) As we have finished our training, we are in process of following up and finding out the impact of our training concerning conflicts related to refusing women to have access to family property:


  • In Kigarama: We found out that 15 out of 20 trained couples have applied what they learnt from our training. We are still visiting and checking the challenges that they face in order to overcome them.  
  • In Gishweru:  We found out that 16 out of 20 trained couples applied what they learnt from our training, and many have made remarkable positive change. We are still visiting and checking the challenges that they face in order to overcome them. 
  • In Mutara: Our volunteers in partnership with the National Women Council committee members visited 20 families and there is a great change except in one family. 
  • In Nyabibugu: all the trainees live in good relationship, except one family that is still having conflicts. 

(3) We selected couples that experience domestic violence referring to recommendations from local leaders.


(4) In general, the law about having access to family property among couples, gifts, and succession is now well understood in our community. Now, people are approaching us whenever there is a misunderstanding or conflict in relation to this law in order to ask for our advice.


  • There is an old widow in the Umudugudu (village) of Ntongwe in Nyabibugu cell whose brother was denying her to have the rights to their family’s land. The woman reported her case to local leaders, and asked for advice from some of our trainees about what the law says about that case. Finally she defended herself showing articles that allow her to access that land and she got it. 
  • Mostly, women come to us before going to the leaders in charge, whenever they think that their rights are being violated. We tell them what the law allows them or not. It helps them to understand well whether they need to report their case or not.  
  • This spring, our trained youth met and talked about the following two main topics: 
    • The impact of the training that they received
    • How to help their families as well as their neighbors in case there is conflicts

That afternoon, youth gave testimonials about conflicts that they have noticed in their community. Then, they shared ideas on how they can proceed, in order to positively contribute to resolve conflicts in their communities. Some were thinking that it is inappropriate to advise their elders; but they all ended up by deciding that no matter how young they are, they should not stay inactive when there is a social issue in their neighborhood. Our trainees especially youth are working hard in advocacy for people whose rights are being violated in our community.

(5) In the next 3 months we are planning to do the following activities:


  • To elect a core committee for households in an additional four sectors, so that we can easily conduct workshops with them.
  • We are planning to hold trainings and debates in the children’ committee.
  • We also plan to organize public discussions in cellules, before starting to perform sketches.  

 (6) Challenges and how to overcome them:


  • When we visited our trainees some couples lied to us saying that they have changed, but when talking to one partner alone we would discover that there was no improvement.
  • In some families, violence has strengthened its roots and it will take a long time to change. We have identified some of these families and sent the list to local authorities, so that we can work together to help and prevent those families from tragedies like killing each other, etc.

 (7) Wishes and thanksgivings


  • We need more instructional materials about reproductive health, because we figured out that youth want training about that topic
  • In addition, we need instructional materials about counseling
  • It is so difficult to reach our goal of 100% improvement, as women continue to face violence in our community. Today we would appreciate that in these families women's rights about family property access are being respected, and at the same time we would hear that in other new families conflicts are raised.
  • We are still working together to face this issue in our community. Our trainees really appreciate your support, and we also thank you for continuing to help us in different ways.

May peace from God stay with you!

* * * * * * * 

We at Global Grassroots extend our deepest gratitude for your support in enabling our graduates' venture, Have Pity and Compassion, to do this important work in educating families, couples and the local community on women's rights to ownership and decision-making over family property, including land, homes and household resources.  This work enables women to care for themselves and protect themselves and their children from vulnerability and violence. 

We invite you to continue to support our work for Have Pity and Compassion and other teams of women change agents throughout Rwanda.  Thank you and warm wishes to your friends and families.


The Have Pity and Compassion venture team has already trained 340 people directly, and they serve 800 people indirectly, through the advocacy clubs and workshops that trainees then facilitate in their communities. This team is also hosting theater performances and public discussions this September and October, in order to educate community members and promote dialogue about conflict management, family law, and property rights. With these events, they will be reaching more people than ever before!



Our 300 graduates in Rwanda are directly serving over 15,000 women and girls each year. 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.
  • 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: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/conscious-social-change/ 


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Organization Information

Global Grassroots

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

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