Mission: Global Grassroots is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that catalyzes ideas for social change designed by and for underserved women in post-conflict Africa. Our mission is to unite, empower and support relief of poor, distressed and underprivileged women worldwide. Global Grassroots’ Academy for Conscious Change in Rwanda is a 12-18 month 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. All of the ventures are locally-designed and operated by our graduates as self-sustaining, non-profit endeavors.
Results: Since 2006, Global Grassroots has steadily built a track record of social impact in Rwanda. We have trained over 250 emerging change agents, who have launched 11 sustainable, civil society organizations, and we have a further 9 social ventures now ready for seed funding. Our teams are collectively serving 9,000 vulnerable women and girls annually, and touching a total of over 40,000 lives to date, including the children of venture beneficiaries and the audiences of their awareness work.
Target demographics: Global Grassroots works through grassroots networks and partnerships to identify among vulnerable women, the emerging change agents who are committed to transforming the lives of women and girls. Our participants include widows, genocide survivors, women living with HIV/AIDS, mothers with only a primary school education, and women living on $2 a day. We also welcome into our program men who are eager to combat the underlying issues affecting women and girls, and on average, approximately 10 percent of our participants are men. Our simple application requires that change agents form a team, identify their social issue priority and propose a solution to address that issue collectively. We target groups at the earliest stage of their idea development, and invite between 3 and 5 representatives of each selected team into our Academy for Conscious Change.
Geographic areas served: Rwanda
Programs: The Academy for Conscious Change The first phase of the Academy is a 40 hour intensive, interactive training course that accelerates the process of personal and societal transformation. Our curriculum begins by investing in a personal growth process for each change agent. Our objective is to help these future change leaders expand their sense of self-awareness, develop tools for transforming oppression and suffering, cultivate compassion and initiate change responsibly. We believe it essential for future social change leaders to invest as much in inner transformation as they do in outer solutions, so that they may avoid the pitfalls of burn-out, abuse of power or pursuits that detract from constructive social change. We share practices in meditation and breathing to support trauma healing, and promote self-care to alleviate stress. Finally, by helping women map out their capabilities that can be leveraged for social change, we deepen their sense of agency, as they identify ways to make their own unique contribution. Integrated with the personal transformation work and conscious leadership practices, the second part of our training provides all of the skills needed to create a plan for a viable social enterprise. We begin by mapping social issue priorities and diagnosing core causes. Project teams then enter an intensive venture design process to construct a mission and vision, operational plan, organizational design, budget, creative resourcing strategies, evaluation metrics, strategic partnerships, a code of conduct and communications strategy. Following the academic portion of the program, teams move into a three to six month phase of hands-on project development support to prepare for launch. Our local staff works with each team to ensure that the project is designed to be self-sufficient, has measurable goals and objectives and will address a root cause of the underlying issue to create systemic change for women and girls. Projects which meet our criteria for social impact and sustainability receive seed funding averaging $4000 for their start-up costs and a further 12 months of high-engagement support. These locally-designed social ventures are not small businesses, but are instead small non-profits driven by a social purpose to address a priority issue facing women, such as domestic violence, water access or illiteracy. Evaluation metrics and ongoing assessment are incorporated into the operations phase to ensure the development of a strong organization.