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Our Grassroots Women-Led Ventures
The best representation of our success in advancing conscious social change for marginalized women is seen through the grassroots level work of our women-led teams. Since 2006, we have trained more than 700 change agents, who have initiated nearly 200 ventures, who have reached more than 200,000 people. We are pleased to share a few of our success stories as examples and welcome you to explore further:
Abanyamurava was launched by Global Grassroots graduates in August 2007 to bring clean water access to their rural community of Gahanga and fight the ongoing sexual exploitation of women who cannot travel four hours roundtrip to collect water and are too poor to pay for water delivery. In its third year of operations, Abanyamurava is still sustainably providing clean water to approximately 100 families, while working to fight against disease, malnutrition and poor hygiene, enabling people to get to school/work on time and reducing the vulnerability of women due to lack of access to water. Furthermore, the project donates 10 jerry cans of water per tank to five orphan headed households, provides financial aid towards the school fees for five children who are AIDS orphans or genocide orphans and has bought annual health insurance for 12 vulnerable women. The team is working with local doctors to share information about water-born disease and has established two separate community ventures to generate additional revenue, including a brick-making project and a vegetable garden.
Team leader, Seraphine Hacimana, a mother of 8 children in her 40s with a 1st grade education, is recognized far and wide as being the first to bring development to her local community. She has been interviewed on local radio and visited by women across Rwanda. In March 2009, Global Grassroots was selected as a semi-finalist for the Kyoto World Water Prize based on the success of Seraphine's project and our model for grassroots-level, women-led social development. In 2020, Hard Workers expanded their venture to their fourth site, serving an estimated 12,000 people.
Achieving a Better Life was awarded a grant of $2980 in July 2008 for their project to use community-based theatre to educate communities in Kigali about domestic violence and women's rights. To date, they have performed plays fourteen times in four different communities in Kigali on the topics of domestic violence, violence against domestic workers, adultery and bearing children out of wedlock. Following each theatre performance, reaching 40 - 60 community members, they hold discussions about the topics addressed in the theatre to engage the community in finding solutions. Many women have reported that following the performance, they have gone to seek help for domestic violence and have talked to their husbands about how to improve their relationship. Many men also attend the performances, and have stated that they have started to think more seriously about how they treat their wives.
In 2009, the team conducted the first-ever performance of The Vagina Monologues in Rwanda, "Rwanda Monologues", which was adapted to include monologues of Rwandan women, tackling tough and taboo topics not often discussed publicly. On International Women's Day in March, the team was invited by the Ministry of Gender to perform at the national level, and their performance was broadcast on television three times, reaching an estimated 25,000 people. The project won the World Pulse Second Annual Bold Ideas Contest, sponsored by World Pulse Magazine, including a financial award, consulting support and a chance to blog about their work on the Pulsewire website. In April, project leader Charlotte Nyiraneza, was nominated for a CNN Hero Award.
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