Young Women's Academy for Conscious Change: Uganda

by Global Grassroots
Allen is all smiles at our training session
Allen is all smiles at our training session

Here at Global Grassroots, every year we are impressed with the secondary school graduates we accept into our Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change and 2016 has been no exception. Based on our core Women's Academy, our Young Women’s Academy helps these young change agents develop their leadership skills, incorporate a mindfulness practice into their lives, and learn how to create and implement their own social change venture. In January, twelve vulnerable yet high-performing girls went through our training in Uganda. In February they began their work in their respective villages then our newest leaders reconvened in April for our mid-term sessions where they talked about their progress and learned additional social entrepreneurial skills. Participants are now in their final weeks of their enterprises. By early August, they will have completed their ventures, done impact assessments, and prepared their final operational and financial reports to present during our closing session week which will include a graduation celebration.

Recognizing the importance of girls’ education, seven of our newest change leaders are working to either increase girls’ access to school, improve school supports for those in school, or decrease the number of girls who drop out of school each academic year. The remaining five participants are addressing drug use by youth, early marriage, teen pregnancy, women’s economic empowerment, and street children.

Allen is from the village of Kibuli in Kampala. She is concerned about the number of street children in her community, particularly those coming from the refugee camps in the area. She believes that many children there are not having their basic needs met, especially those with no family to care for them. Allen is teaching the children skills to enable them to support themselves rather than beg on the city streets. Her goal is to have those children ‘pay it forward’ by teaching other street children what they have learned.

Your support of Global Grassroots' Young Women's Academy for Conscious Change means the world not only to us but to Allen and the other bright, motivated, yet vulnerable young women who join our program each year. Thank you for your thoughtful generosity.


Every year we are impressed with the young women who participate in our Young Women's Academy for Conscious Change - and this year is no different. Our young women in Uganda are proving that they are forces to be reckoned with. Just two weeks ago, they reconvened for their mid-term sessions where they shared with one another and with Global Grassroots’ staff the challenges they have faced implementing their ventures and the successes they have experienced in that same process. Naggayi, from the village of Kibuli in Kampala shared her insights about the beneficiaries of her venture: street children.

Naggayi is seeking to reduce the number of street children in Kampala, particularly those who are from the refugee camps in the area. She believes that many children there are just not able to have their basic needs met, especially those with no family to care for them. They then think that they will be able to support themselves through begging on the streets of the city, which Naggayi knows only puts them at great risk.

Naggayi’s goal is teach the children skills to help them support themselves and for the children she teaches to then teach others. She is also sharing with them the inherent dangers of street life so they realize that turning to the street is not a solution to any problem they may have.

This young change agent said that the community doesn't have time for street children because "they tend to think of them as crime creaters, drug abusers, etc. The interesting thing is that [these street children] are cooperative and ready to give to those who need them. And they are hard-working."

Naggayi said that she believs that it is how you approach people often determines how they in turn respond to you.

Well said, Naggayi; we couldn't agree more!

Monica, from 2015 Class, feels powerful now!
Monica, from 2015 Class, feels powerful now!

Global Grassroots’ Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change in Uganda provides recent secondary school graduates with an alternative to the detours many young women face during the nine-month gap between high school and university. Too often these promising young women are forced by their parents to find employment or to help with household chores, or they become the target of male predators, are forced to marry young or they become pregnant. In all of these cases, the new graduate’s hopes to attend university and for a future lived out of poverty are all but lost. Our Young Women’s Academy helps vulnerable young women become leaders in their communities. They learn how to design and launch a social venture that addresses an issue facing girls and young women like themselves. They learn to advocate for themselves and their beneficiaries. They learn how to interview stakeholders and write a needs assessment. And they learn that they are leaders who can positively impact their communities.

We are so excited to have just welcomed newest cohort of young women to our 2016 Academy in Uganda! This 40-hour program began on 08 January and includes mindfulness training to help each participant heal from trauma and gain greater compassion for others and herself. Each is acquiring project development skills, is using role play and story-telling to prepare for meetings with community stakeholders, and is completing her baseline personal impact assessments.

By 20 January, each young woman will develop a social change venture that will address an issue facing girls and young women in their communities. And each young woman will spend the next eight months bringing that social change to fruition. After participating in Global Grassroots’ Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change, not only will each young woman preserve her educational path, advance her economic potential, learn a set of skills for making a difference, and have the confidence-boosting experience of going through the process of starting something from scratch in her own community, but she will also successfully have an impact through her own ideas. There is nothing more powerful than to experience that your ideas have value and can make a difference.

Our 2015 cohort of 13 young women impacted more than 2,800 people in their communities, most of whom are women and girls. Please help us make 2016 equally successful and demonstrate to these vulnerable young women that you believe in them - and their ideas for social change - as much as we do. Thank you so much for supporting Global Grassroots’ Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change!


Three of our 2015 Young Women
Three of our 2015 Young Women's Academy Graduates

Thank you for your generous support of our 2015 Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change in Uganda. With your help, 13 vulnerable young women have graduated from our program and are now entering university! This is what you have helped to achieve:

Thirteen confident young leaders have done amazing work in their communities, impacting thousands of people through individual ventures of their own choosing and design. Each program engaged a variety of stakeholders, including teachers, church leaders, parents, community leaders, police, and schoolgirls like themselves. Their initiatives included planting hundreds of tomato plants and tangerine seedlings to provide revenue to keep girls in school, working to keep children from living on the streets, and teaching girls about the risks of early pregnancy. In Uganda, our graduates’ work in schools and communities benefited more than 2,800 people over the last six months! And the ripple effects of all of the ventures, such as how many girls complete their education and emerge from a life in poverty or how many children grow up healthy because their mothers learned about nutrition now, will be felt for years to come in

During their final days before graduation, participants presented their venture impact assessments as well as observations and insights about their work and about themselves. Each young woman reported that the process of bringing conscious social change has dramatically increased their confidence levels. They all know now that they are capable of leading their communities to address issues facing women and girls.

At the graduation celebration, our young change agents each received a Certificate of Successful Completion of the Academy along with a scholarship to help pay for their first semester at university. All of us at Global Grassroots are proud of our graduates and we offer our sincere congratulations on a job well done!

We are now gearing up for our 2016 Young Women’s Academy. In November, our team in Uganda will accept applications from young women just graduating from secondary school. Participants will convene in January to learn all of the skills necessary to launch and run their own micro-NGO in their respective villages during the break between high school and the start of university. Individually, these young women will address a variety of social issues in their communities.

We humbly seek your support for our 2016 program so that we may not only continue our work with vulnerable young women but also increase the number of participants in our Academy. Each year the reach of our Young Women's Academy grows, impacting thousands of people, predominately women and girls. What a difference you make in the lives of these change agents and their beneficiaries.Thank you.

2015 participants in a group exercise
2015 participants in a group exercise
Graduation celebration means cake!
Graduation celebration means cake!
Enjoying an outdoor session at midterm training
Enjoying an outdoor session at midterm training

Thirteen secondary school graduates were accepted into the 2015 Ugandan Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change training in January; each then successfully launched social change ventures in their home communities. While they each are focusing on social issues that primarily impact women and girls, ultimately, their ventures address matters that negatively affect their communities as a whole. During the first week of May, all of our youngest change agents reconvened for our one-week mid-term sessions. During these training sessions, participants learned more skills, including how to develop an impact assessment and prepare a comprehensive final financial report. While together, these young leaders discussed the various challenges and successes they have experienced and they shared the joys and frustrations felt while implementing their individual ventures. All are now back in their home communities, finishing up the work of their ventures while also looking forward to graduating from our program in early August and heading off to university in September, each with a $500 scholarship from Global Grassroots. It’s an exciting time for them – and for us! 

Seven initiatives are working to reduce the school drop-out rate among girls. Each young woman is working with a variety of stakeholders in her community, sensitizing them all to the importance of girls – and all children – to complete their education. One venture is working to educate parents and girls in her community about the negative consequences of early marriage, including inviting girls who have married before the age of 18 to talk about their experiences, especially the difficulties they’ve encountered. Four ventures are focusing on preventing teen pregnancy - two by providing sex education to help girls make informed choices - and all are teaching the effects and consequences of early pregnancy. 

Lillian learned that the majority of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 in her community are getting pregnant, primarily because most are lacking any form of sex education. With guidance from a local nurse and the head teachers at four different schools, Lillian meets with students to teach them basic sex education. She feels gratified when the students ask good questions and understand what she is telling them. Lillian’s goal during the last two months of her program is to help local parents understand the importance of teaching their children about sex and of encouraging their children to go to – and stay in – school. 

Your support of Global Grassroots’ Young Women’s Academy for Conscious Change helps us provide training and seed funding, high-engagement support and one-year university scholarships to vulnerable yet motivated young women who wish to bring about social change in Uganda. Thank you.


2015 Uganda Class and Global Grassroots Staff
2015 Uganda Class and Global Grassroots Staff
Group Discussion During 2015 Midterm Sessions
Group Discussion During 2015 Midterm Sessions
Our Girls Get Lots of Support Initiating Ventures
Our Girls Get Lots of Support Initiating Ventures
Irene's Self-Portrait: A Bridge for Her Community

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Organization Information

Global Grassroots

Location: Portsmouth, NH - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Heidi Luquer
Portsmouth, New Hampshire United States
$690 raised of $70,000 goal
9 donations
$69,310 to go
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