Global Grassroots 2011 Year-End Magazine - Page 46

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Global Grassroots 2011

This summer, I had the special privilege of being involved with Global Grassroots in two amazing and different ways. From June to early August, I conducted an impact assessment on the Global Grassroots program in Rwanda. Previously unaffiliated with the organization, I was able to use those nine weeks to offer a fresh, independent perspective on Global Grassroots programming, with tremendous operational support from Global Grassroots staff. This was a unique opportunity for me to not only apply my studies by taking an analytical eye to Global Grassroots’ work, but also speak with and learn from Rwandan staff, team leaders, and beneficiaries. Having seen first-hand how deeply impressive and transformative Global Grassroots’ work is, I was especially thrilled to be invited to be part of the inaugural Conscious Social Change Certification training program in late August. Learning from Gretchen about how to lead the Academy for Conscious Change alongside other thoughtful and inspiring women was an invigorating experience.

Among the countless memorable moments from my summer in Rwanda, there is one that strikes me as evidence of the value of the Global Grassroots model. I was interviewing “focal points” and beneficiaries of the Light In Our Home team, which is an anti-gender-based violence program operating in the Ruhanga district. The “focal points” I spoke with were community leaders who had been trained by Light In Our Home about gender-based violence, family law, and property law, and were tasked with following up with members of their communities who might be facing these issues.

I asked these community leaders about what challenges they have encountered thus far in their work with this program. This was the question in my notebook that single-handedly produced the most interesting and telling answers, for how people react and respond to challenges is indicative of their creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving skills. A female community leader replied that a

The Global Grassroots model ... works. When it comes to social change for women in Rwanda, Rwandan women know best.

The Best Kind of Change

by Julia Oakley