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2016 Young Women's Ventures

Global Grassroots' Young Women's Academy for Conscious Change welcomed 25 secondary school graduates to our 2016 program: 12 in Uganda and 13 in Rwanda. Together these new change agents and their individual social ventures impacted more than 5,200 people in their communities in just eight months. All 25 of our program graduates are now attending university, taking with them the life and professional skills they learned through our program.



Issue: Drug Abuse

Venture: In Gahogo and Remera, Alice used drama performances and workshops to educate 50 youth, both boys and girls, ages 14 to 21, on the risks and consequences associated with drug use. Local leaders helped advise the youth and Alice created a youth committee to continue her work while she is in university.

Success Story: A former Miss KITS (Kigali Institute of Technology and Science) got involved with Alice's venture, speaking to Alice's students to help inspire them to focus on the possibilities for their future.


Issue: Unemployed Young Women

Venture: Aline also worked in Gahogo and Remera. She worked to reduce the number of young women who are not working, focusing on 30 who had finished secondary school. She taught a total of five classes about employment and training, involving parents as well as school and local officials.

Success Story: As a result of Aline's venture, 3 girls returned to school, 2 found jobs, 6 formed a lending circle to help one another create small income-generating businesses, and 8 parents organized debates between other parents and their children on the challenges and the importance of education.


Issue: Domestic Violence

Venture: Appolinarie's mission was to end domestic violence in her community located in Muhazi Secter. She taught 50 students about the issue and held workshops for 60 adults. Appolinarie also taught conflict resolution to couples experiencing domestic violence.

Success Story: An 11-year-old girl, Benita, whose father abuses her mother, joined one of Appolinaries's classes. She was so inspired by Appolinarie that she wrote a poem about her experiences at home and began sharing it in her school in an effort to help other children in a similar situation.

CARINE TURINE Issue: Teen Pregnancy

Venture: With the help and guidance of local health workers, Carine taught sex education to two groups of girls between the ages of 13 and 19, both those still in school and those who had dropped out. One girl, who is now a mother, shared her experience with the girls. Carine sensitized parents about teaching their children about sex and how to avoid becoming pregnant.

Success Story The health workers have kept the program going now that Carine is in university; 35 girls continue to attend and have invited more girls to join.


Issue: Girls' Education

Venture: In her viillage of Nshenyi Insingiro South, Carolyn knew there was a strong cultural belief that girls need only marry and not be educated which keeps girls from being interested in school and parents from dedicating funds toward school fees for their daughters. Carolyn conducted workshops for 50 parents and five classes for 80 girls (12 to 25 years old) about the importance of girls' education.

Success Story: Two girls in Carolyn's course returned to school, 15 created their own lending circle, and 8 parents formed a group to advocate publicly for girls' education and gender equality. The parents hold weekly public debates about the value of educating girls.


Issue: Domestic Violence

Venture: Clarisse worked in her village of Murambi to decrease domestic violence by educating 20 couples, 40 individual women (30-50 years old), and 40 girls (16-23 years old) about human rights. Couples learned about the negative impact violence has on the community and ways to avoid violence during conflict. The women and girls also learned skills to create income of their own to reduce their dependency on men.

Success Story: Of the 20 couples she worked with, at least four are no longer experiencing abuse at home.


Issue: Girl Drop-Outs

Venture: Darlaine's mission was to stop girls from dropping out of school in her village of Huye. She used motivational talks and sensitized the public about the 'treasure hidden within an educated girl.' Darlaine worked with 70 girls, ages 11-24, who were still in school, and young women, 21-25, who had dropped out. She also advocated for the drop-outs with local administrators to help the young women return to school and complete their education.

Success Story: Darlaine ran into a lot of resistance from school administrators when she asked for data related to school drop-outs, fearing they would be seen as failing to do their job. She helped them understand that by making that information public, the community could become part of the solution to the problem.


Issue: Child malnutrition

Venture: Diane conducted a series of classes in her home community of Gitega, teaching ten young mothers how to prepare healthy meals for their children and even provided them with vegetable seeds and assisted them in planting kitchen gardens.

Success Story: Nine of the women formed a cooperative and continue to meet monthly to share information on healthy eating among themselves and with other women.


Issue: Early pregnancy

Venture: Janet, from Nyagatare, used a three-pronged approach to reduce early pregnancy there. She taught reproductive health classes to girls 12-22 and helped them focus on their future; she led a workshop for parents that stressed the importance of helping their daughters avoid pregnancy; and she hosted a school debate to convey the dangers of early pregnancy to students. Janet also helped the girls form a cooperative so they could continue to work towards reducing early pregnancy in their community.

Success Story: When Janet started our initial training she lacked confidence in her ability to lead social change but once she started talking to local stakeholders, she found they were very willing to assist her in both reaching and teaching her beneficiaries through monthly community meetings. Altogether, Janet reached a remarkable 1,400 girls.


Issue: Early Marriage

Venture: In Rwamangana, Janet educated 50 girls (20 aged 13-17 and 30 aged 18-23) and 10 parents about the consequences of early marriage. She also sensitized parents about better providing for their daughters, especially with school fees. Janet invited accomplished girls and women to talk about their backgrounds and to help the girls focus on a future that is less dependent on others.

Success Story: Realizing the impact of her trainings, a local church leader and district officers asked Janet to help identify girls with whom they should follow-up to help them get back into school.


Issue:Girls' education

Venture: To keep more girls in school, Justine sensitized ten sets of parents to the need for their daughters to be educated. She also taught girls in one primary school, one secondary school, and seven girls not in school how critical education is, how to avoid pregnancy, and how to be self-supporting, including paying their own school fees. Finally she advocated for the drop-outs to be able to return to school.

Success Story: Through Justine's venture, the girls now perform dramatizations at schools about pressure to engage in sex.


Issue: Teen Pregnancy

Venture: Through workshops in her village in Nyagatare, Marthe taught business skills to 35 unemployed girls and invited successful business women to inspire and serve as role models for the girls. Marthe enlisted parents and local leaders to help keep girls from being idle, a primary cause of early pregnancy.

Success Story: By the end of the program, 15 of the 35 girls had formed a small lending club to help one another with start-up funds for small businesses.


Issue: Teen Pregnancy

Venture: Rhoda discovered that many girls in Kabare get pregnant because their parents do not take good care of them; the girls get involved with men who they hope will be better providers. Rhoda taught 50 girls how to be self-supporting and avoid pregnancy, thus reducing their reliance on others for their needs. She also sensitized 20 sets of parents to 1.) better provide for their children, 2.) reduce drug use (which often leads to unplanned pregnancy), and 3.) practice birth control to reduce the number of children they have who must be cared for.

Success Story: Rhoda is very shy and starting our program did not believe she was capable of speaking publicly but she has become such a dynamic speaker that her school has asked her to return during university breaks as an inspirational speaker for current students.



Issue: Street Children

Venture: Allen sought to reduce the number of street children in her village of Kibuli in Kampala, particularly those from the refugee camps in the area. She learned that many children there are not having their basic needs met, especially those with no family to care for them, therefore they think they will be able to support themselves through begging on the city streets. She taught the street children skills so they might support themselves.

Success Story: The children formed a cooperative and they now teach other children what they learned from Allen.


Issue: Girl Drop-Outs

Venture: Angella worked to reduce the number of girls who drop out of school in Kikwanda. Angella addressed several of the primary reasons girls do not complete their education including early pregnancy, alcoholism, lack of school fees, and negative peer pressure.

Success Story: Angella had prepared for 50 students to join her program but, as word got around about her work, more showed up. By the end of her program, she was working with 86 students.


Issue: School Drop-Outs

Venture: In her village of Lutolo, Faith stressed the importance of education to both children and their parents, teaching youth about birth control and family planning, and specifically counseling girls about the dangers of engaging in sexual activity while still young.

Success Story: At the end of Faith's program, the drop-out rate had dropped, by nearly 30%: from 36 in each of the previous few academic years to 26 in 2016.


Issue: Teen Pregnancy

Venture: Joan also addressed teen pregnancy as a cause for girls to drop out of school. In Madera village where Joan is from, most girls still in primary school become pregnant so Joan enlisted the school nurse to help her teach students about the consequences of early pregnancy.

Success Story: Joan also helped two young mothers create vegetable gardens. They began selling what they grew and used the income to pay school fees so they could continue their education.


Issue: Girls' Education

Venture: Most of Sarah's friends in Kigasani do not attend school so Sarah sensitized her community about the value of education, teaching kids about the dangers of early sexual activity, and helping parents start a savings group to help with school fees.

Success Story: In the term prior to Sarah's venture, 22 girls had dropped out of school. During Sarah's term, only 3 left school.


Issue:Drug Abuse

Venture: Jamia learned that, in Kibuye Village, most youth begin using drugs because they lack parental guidance and are pressured by others to do so. She worked with children and youth to teach them about positive peer pressure and she sensitized parents to the need for closer supervision of their children.

Success Story: Fifteen of Jamia's students formed an anti-drugs positive peer pressure group in school.


Issue: Teen Pregnancy

Venture: In Oriamo, girls as young as 13 were getting married, often because they became pregnant or had dropped out of school, turning to men for support. Juliet sensitized girls to the importance of education and to resisting sexual predators, particularly older men.

Success Story: By the end of Juliet's program, there was a 50% increase in girls' knowledge of the causes and consequences of early pregnancy; a 40% increase in the number of parents who now talk to their children about sex; and a 50% drop in early pregnancy. Juliet said that she now feels 'strong and courageous.'


Issue: Girl Drop-Outs

Venture: Joyce organized a youth club through her church and, working with the Local Chairman, teachers, and religious leaders in her community of Drikoa, reduced the number of girls who drop out of school.

Success Story: One girl had dropped out of school in 2014 and ran away to Sudan to find work. She returned to Drikoa in 2016 and participated in Joyce's program. She has since returned to school, paying her school fees herself.

GERTRUDE MUNGULI Issue: Women's Unemployment

Venture: Gertrude recognized that women are discriminated against in the job market and elsewhere in East Tumbe Village (West Nile) so she helped empower women with skills to enable them to support themselves and their children.

Success Story: In 2015, 100 students between the ages of 14 and 18 dropped out of school; in 2016, only ten did.


Issue: Girls' Education

Venture: Majourine wanted to help parents in her village of Kyerima see the value of educating girls and of earning enough money to pay their daughters' school fees. She met with local parents, helping them to increase their income potential, and assisted girls to return to school who had dropped out.

Success Story: An unexpected benefit of her work: there has been an increase in respect shown to teachers and improved student behavior in the schools in which Marjourine worked


Issue: School Drop-Outs

Venture: Colline believed that, in her community of Oporot, youth drop out of school primarily because their parents cannot pay the school fees. The young people then have no focus or goals so they engage in sex or get involved with alcohol to pass the time. Colline started a dance group to help keep them busy and formed a club where they can engage in open discussion about issues they face.

Success Story: Colline also taught more than 150 girls the importance of building strong character and about early pregnancy. 50% of the girls she worked with have committed to making - and keeping - their education a priority.


Issue: Girls' Education

Venture: Veronica focused on girls between the ages of 12 and 18, although she did include boys in her venture. While she worked with parents on recognizing the importance of education for their children, Veronica also wanted to ensure that youth had the skills to earn their own school fees - so she taught them how to make hand-crafts to sell.

Success Story: 25% of the parents with whom Veronica worked brought their children back to school.

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