Granny Bulletin: August 2017

Welcome to the Granny Bulletin, your source for news, stories and information about exciting initiatives from the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

In this Granny Bulletin:

  1. Tanzanian Grandmothers Gathering 2018
  2. Spotlight on Australia
  3. More Grandmothers Book News
  4. Grandmothers Campaign Member Awarded Order of Manitoba
  5. Fundraising Corner: Announcing the Grandmothers Campaign Fundraiser Catalogue

Dear Grandmothers & Grandothers,

Although it has been many years since most of us were in school, something about the nearness of September still feels like the beginning of a “new” year. We can’t help feeling the anticipation and excitement of what this year will bring. It’s no surprise then that this bulletin, on the heels of last month’s announcement of the grandmothers book and book launch tour, brings news of another momentous event for the 2017-2018 calendar year: a national Grandmothers Gathering in Tanzania.

As you know from reading the Ugandan and South Africa Grandmothers Statements, national grandmothers gatherings in Africa culminate with a powerful call to action delivered by grandmothers to their governments, to the media, and to donor communities. This is key to the Grandmothers Campaign — that the work you all do supports African grandmothers in their own advocacy, their own fierce determination to hold their governments accountable.

Recently, Theo Sowa (African Women’s Development Fund and member of the SLF’s African Advisory Board) and Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro (Global Fund for Women) wrote an op-ed for the Globe and Mail that touches on this very subject. In light of the Canadian government’s recent unveiling of their feminist foreign aid policy, Sowa and Kanyoro call on the government to make sure funding flows to grassroots organizations. This is precisely what the SLF exists to do. They remind us all that sustainable change must be led by those who know their communities inside and out:

“In our decades of experience in women’s rights activism, we have heard many champion reproductive rights. We have also seen that those who are best qualified to lead social change are rooted in their community. There are countless examples highlighting the magnificent work that they do against daunting odds. Yet, their work remains chronically underfunded.” Read the op-ed in full here.

Theo Sowa has been with us at every Grandmothers Gathering. She, and many around the world, marvel at the solidarity model of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign! The work you do year-round in your communities amplifies the voices of African grandmothers, honours their expertise, supports essential funding of the transformational work of our grassroots partners, and helps in the critical struggle to shift the paradigm of how the international community thinks about African grandmothers at the heart of the response to the AIDS pandemic.

In solidarity,
The Grandmothers Campaign Team

1. Tanzanian Grandmothers Gathering 2018 — Grandmothers Campaign Delegation

We are happy to announce that the SLF is again working alongside our community-based partners to convene a Tanzanian Grandmothers Gathering that will take place in late February and early March 2018!

As you know, grandmothers in Africa are mobilizing to claim their human rights. Among their demands are pensions, land rights, child protection, and access to health care for older women who are HIV-positive and the HIV-positive children in their care. Above all, they are insisting that they have a voice where decisions about their lives are being made.

The national gathering will bring Tanzanian grandmothers together to share their expertise as community leaders, as advocates, and as first responders to the ravages of AIDS. Workshops will be led by and for Tanzanian grandmothers alongside staff from our partner organizations to provide a platform for grandmothers to voice their stories and experiences, to discuss urgent issues, and to carry the momentum forward by issuing a Tanzanian Grandmothers Statement.

As with previous gatherings, the Foundation will be leading a small delegation of Grandmothers Campaign members to attend as observers and ‘ambassadors’ for the thousands of women active in the Campaign. This trip is open to grandmothers and grandothers in Canada, Australia, the UK, and the US who belong to a registered grandmothers group and are active members of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

To answer some questions you may have, and to help inform your decision to submit an application to attend the Tanzanian Gathering, we’ve put together an information kit. If you’d like an information kit and application, send an email to or call 1-888-203-9990, ext. 0. Please share your first and last name and the name of your grandmothers group.

We’ll also be holding conference calls this fall for those thinking about submitting an application, to share even more information, to give you a chance to ask questions, and to share excitement with one another about the Tanzanian gathering! Everyone who plans to submit an application is required to be on one of these information calls.

The call dates and times are:
Tues., Sept. 5th at 11am Eastern time
Tues., Sept. 12th at 8pm Eastern time (we hope this will work for our Australian grand(m)others)
Mon., Sept. 18th at 2pm Eastern time.

To RSVP for a call and get the call-in information, please email

The deadline for submitting completed applications is October 1st.

2. Spotlight on Australia

While the Grandmothers Campaign has its roots in Canada, momentum has been building around the world. We’ve had a UK group and a few Australian groups for several years, but now the movement is really taking off globally!

This past May, Ida Nambeya Mukuka, Senior Advisor to the Grandmothers Campaign, travelled to Australia for a cross-country speaking tour. Ida was welcomed and accompanied in her travels by Margaret Hunter, founding member of “Ranges Aid,” the first grandmothers group in Australia, who planned the entire Victoria leg of the tour.

Ida and Margaret travelled to 12 different towns and cities across the country. They met with existing grandmothers groups and also gave talks and presentations to other interested parties. At stop after stop, the enthusiasm and commitment to support African grandmothers raising their grandchildren orphaned by HIV & AIDS was palpable.

They visited grandmothers and grandothers from:

  • Meeniyan, Emerald, Chelsea, Junction Village, Broadford, and Williamston, Victoria
  • Perth, Western Australia
  • Brisbane and Coominya, Queensland
  • Sydney, Sylvania, and Barrington, New South Wales

In Chelsea, Ida met with the “Bayside Grannies,” a grandmothers group that have already made their own matching t-shirts despite not forming until late 2016. They’ve just held a “Christmas in July” event, which raised more than $3000!

Ida and Margaret also had the pleasure of visiting the Gogo Mamas in Perth. Group member and founder Marilynn started the group after learning about the Grandmothers Campaign from her friend Wendy, who is a member of the Guilford and Godalming group in the UK!

The Grand AIDS group in Barrington organized a lovely evening filled with entertainment, learning, and jewellery sales. And, of course, Ida and Margaret enjoyed their stay with Marg, the founder of Grand AIDS, in beautiful Barrington.

In the past year there have been three new grandmothers groups formed in Australia, bringing the grand total to seven! From Perth to Melbourne, Brisbane to Sydney, and many other smaller cities in between, there is much enthusiasm for the Campaign and surely more groups to come.

3. More Grandmothers Book News

Our Special Granny Bulletin in July announced that the SLF’s new book Powered by Love: A Grandmothers’ Movement to End AIDS in Africa will be released on Oct. 10 in bookstores across Canada (and is currently available for pre-order online). 

We’re excited to announce that the website for book is live! Visit for a sneak peek inside the book, to see the full list of fall book launch tour stops, and to learn more about how to order the book. We also have promotional materials for the book available (a poster, e-vite, and high resolution image of the book cover) that we’d be happy to send you if you’re planning to incorporate book sales into one of your group’s upcoming fundraisers.

4. Grandmothers Campaign Member Awarded Order of Manitoba

We wish we could award every Grandmothers Campaign member with an Order of Canada/Australia/UK for your inspirational support and solidarity. Since we don’t (yet) have that power, we’ll instead celebrate and spread the joyful news when grandmothers and grandothers receive well-deserved accolades and recognition.

Beverley Suek, a member of Grands ‘n’ More Winnipeg was recently awarded “The Order of Manitoba, the province’s highest honour, which recognizes Manitobans who have enriched the social, cultural or economic well-being of the province and its residents.” In addition to her work with Grands ‘n’ More Winnipeg, Bev is the “founder of Women’s Housing Initiative Manitoba, an alternative housing concept for older women who prefer not to live alone. … She also initiated the development of Winnipeg’s first birthing centre and was a co-founder of the Manitoba Women’s Enterprise centre, Women’s Music and Cultural Festival, Women’s Employment Counselling Centre and the SDB Housing co-operative. Bev also started Kali Shiva AIDS Services in Winnipeg, now known as Sunshine House, and organized volunteers to assist people with AIDS to help them stay in their homes as long as possible.”
(Excerpted from an article that was originally printed in the Winnipeg Free Press on July 12, 2017 and from an article that was originally printed on on May 12, 2017.)

We know you’ll join us in congratulating Bev on this incredible honour, and reveling in the great fortune that we all have to be part of the global Grandmothers to Grandmothers movement of extraordinary grandmothers and grandothers.

Our thanks to Cathie Hiller for bringing this honour to our attention.

5. Fundraising Corner: Announcing the Grandmothers Campaign Fundraiser Catalogue

Inspired by the feedback we got in the Grandmothers Campaign survey, we’re compiling a Grandmothers Campaign fundraiser catalogue to honour the creativity and ingenuity of grandmothers groups, and to make sure that good ideas are shared. As you know, this space in the Granny Bulletin has become a forum for idea-sharing, and many groups have expressed that it is helpful to learn about new fundraising ideas.

We have created a one-page fundraiser description form to capture key information about successful events that your group has held, and we would be incredibly grateful if your group could share information (using this form) about at least one fundraiser that you felt was particularly successful in your community. Once we have received enough completed forms to constitute a catalogue, we will compile them and make the Grandmothers Campaign fundraiser catalogue available to all of you on the Members Only section of our website. (And we will regularly update it as new forms come in.)

Please email your completed form to your Grandmothers Campaign Officer, or



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