Granny Bulletin: August 2018

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. SLF Director of Policy, Lee Waldorf, reports back from the International AIDS Conference
  2. Coming Soon! August 14th Facebook Live Conversation with Lee Waldorf
  3. Thank you for Striding
  4. Save the Dates: Fall Grandmothers Gatherings
  5. New to a Grandmothers Group or the Grandmothers Campaign? Join our new Member Welcome & Information Calls
  6. Fundraising Corner: Updates to the Fundraiser Catalogue
  7. We’ve moved!

Dear Grandmothers and Grandothers,
In all the work we do through the Grandmothers Campaign whether it’s your organizing and fundraising creativity and savvy at local levels, or what we do collectively across the Campaign, amplifying the voices of African grandmothers, women leaders and grassroots experts is always central to our work.
In July, at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, those voices, the concerns of grandmothers and youth, in particular and the awe-inspiring work of community-based organizations were critically, the focus of the discussions happening within the international forum.
We’re excited to share with you some insights from the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Director of Policy, Lee Waldorf, who attended the conference. Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing more with you about the resilience of African grandmothers as they advocate for their human rights and how youth are emerging as key leaders in their communities and organizations. We’ll also be trying new ways of sharing updates from, and about, our community-based partners, with opportunities to hear directly from these leaders. We’re certain you’ll find these conversations interesting, and look forward to your feedback!

The Grandmothers Campaign Team – Sarah, Megan, Winnie, Elisabeth, Asmita

1. SLF Director of Policy, Lee Waldorf, reports back from the International AIDS Conference

Hi everyone!
I attended the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam in July, and thought you’d appreciate a few highlights from the proceedings.
This global conference happens every two years – the last one was in South Africa, where the SLF held the grandmothers’ gathering, and led the grandmothers’ march to the conference steps! This time we had a small presence (me) and the mission was just to get a sense of what the rest of the world is thinking right now, and to move ahead a few SLF initiatives relating to funding for community-based organizations (CBOs).
The AIDS conference is a forum for researchers, scientists and programmers from all over the world to share their newest findings on how best to tackle the pandemic. I have to admit that most of the scientific presentations went way over my head, but I can let you know what the sociologists and programmers were talking about.
Much more attention was paid to women and youth, compared to previous conferences. This is great, as we all had been demanding more air-time for their issues! People are finally taking the high levels of new HIV infections among young women and teenage girls in sub-Saharan Africa much more seriously, and sharing practical programming insights about how to bring these levels down. Without a doubt, this is the most distressing current trend in the course of the pandemic. LGBTQ issues were also a big focus for discussion, especially because of the criminal laws adopted in recent years that are making life so dangerous and difficult for LGBTQ communities in a number of African countries.
Community-based interventions were the focus of many of the panels and presentations, which was also a refreshing, much needed change from past conferences. There was a lot of evidence tabled about the effectiveness of the approaches our CBO partners use, such as peer support groups, economic empowerment, and awareness raising about gender-based violence. While the grandmothers are still rarely mentioned by name, there were a couple of new studies presented demonstrating the huge benefit that family or “intergenerational” support has for the health and well-being of adolescents and children.
People are starting to wake up to the fact that the funding world has to change how it does business to better support community-based organizations. The Funders Concerned about AIDS (FCAA) launched a report that the SLF has been very closely involved with. It looks at ways in which private philanthropies can change their funding procedures to make money much more easily available to community-based groups.  The FCAA is the umbrella group for all the private charities in North America that provide funding for HIV&AIDS work – including the biggies – so the fact that they have come strongly on board in the effort to improve CBO funding is very encouraging indeed.
UNAIDS’ troubles continue, because of its chronic failure to get to grips with its sexual harassment problem. Executive Director Michel Sidibé’s opening remarks at the start of the conference were interrupted by angry protesters. And the Lancet Commission report that was issued at the conference was pretty blunt for such a sober, august publication: “UNAIDS has made an exceptionally important contribution to the AIDS response. But it is now mired in a leadership controversy and an investigation into its workplace culture. On the grounds that no crisis should be wasted, now is a good time to reconsider the purpose of UNAIDS.”
Researchers and CBOs came together for a very interesting discussion about how to improve the evidence for community-based work (with an eye to ultimately increasing their funding). At that meeting I met some Australian academics who are thinking about this challenge in a very similar way to the SLF, and we had a long discussion about the IAF – our impact assessment framework. They’re very interested indeed, and want to work with us to help get the information we’ve been consolidating about the remarkable long term impact of the CBOs’ work out into the world. We’ll have more that we can share with you about this joint venture in the fall.
The Grandmothers Campaign team and I will be holding a Facebook discussion about the AIDS conference later this month. If this note has sparked your interest and you want to hear more, please do join us!
Warmly, Lee
Lee Waldorf, SLF Director of Policy

2. Coming Soon! August 14th Facebook Live Conversation with Lee  Waldorf

On Tuesday, August 14th at 2pm EST, Lee Waldorf will share her insights  and report back from  the International AIDS Conference. We’ll broadcast the conversation live to the Grandmothers Campaign Facebook page. Tune in and ask your questions by leaving a comment below the live video. If you’re unable to watch live, you’ll be able to watch the full recording at any time on the Grandmothers Campaign Facebook page.

3. Thank you for Striding

Earlier this summer (and earlier for virtual walkers!), 25 grandmothers groups across Canada walked together in communities or virtually, counting their steps each day to stride in solidarity with the indomitable grandmothers in Africa.

Together, grandmothers groups and your friends, family and supporters raised over $147,000! That’s a combined total of $2.2 million raised since Stride’s inception in 2010.

4. Save the Dates: Fall Grandmothers Gatherings

Local organizing committees are busy across Canada planning Regional Fall Gatherings. These gatherings are opportunities for members across the Campaign to connect, share, and learn from one another and always results in laughter, lessons learned, and renewed regional energy!

Mark these dates on your calendar if you are a grandmothers group member in the following communities:

September 14-15: BC Interior Gathering in Kamloops
September 29: Northern Alberta Gathering in Edmonton
September 29: Ontario South West Gathering in Ancaster
October 12-13: Atlantic Gathering in Dartmouth
October 20: Manitoba Gathering in Winnipeg

Check out the Regional Gatherings page on the Grandmothers Campaign website for more details.

5. New to a Grandmothers Group or the Grandmothers Campaign? Join our new Member Welcome & Information Calls

Have you recently joined a grandmothers group? Or have you been in the Campaign some time?
It’s often grandchildren, a commitment to human rights, feelings of solidarity and sisterhood, and the draw to try something new that brings interested individuals to the Grandmothers Campaign. Whatever the reason you’ve joined, you’re interested in joining, or are encouraging more friends to join, we can’t wait to connect with you and help support your work!

Starting in September on the third Monday of every month. The Grandmothers Campaign Team here at the Stephen Lewis Foundation will host conference calls to welcome you (or a friend of yours who is curious!) to the Campaign. We’ll speak to a range of topics including, how to join a group and exciting news about the Campaign, and we’ll take questions at the end.

The next (and first!) welcome call will be on Monday, September 17th at 12:30pm EST. If you would like to participate or have any questions, contact us directly at 1-888-203-9990 ext 0 or email

6. Fundraising Corner: Updates to the Grandmothers Campaign Fundraiser Catalogue

Many grandmothers groups have shared and contributed your most inspiring, creative and successful fundraising ideas to the Grandmothers Campaign Fundraising Catalogue. This catalogue was recently updated and is available on the Grandmothers Campaign website in the Members Only section. This resource honours grandmothers groups ingenuity and aims to inspire new ideas. Browse the catalogue to learn all about the Glacier Grannies’ Car Boot Sale (page 27), GrammaLink – Africa’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese Lunch (page 18), the new beeswax wraps that the Dartmouth Grannies make and sell (page 37), and so much more!

If your group would like to contribute, please download and submit this Fundraiser Description Form and email it to your Grandmothers Campaign Officer or contact us at

7. We’ve Moved

The Stephen Lewis Foundation moved offices earlier this summer (same building, new suite). Please update your address books and contacts with our new mailing address.
Suite 100-260 Spadina Ave. Toronto, Ontario M5T 2E4
Phone: 416-533-9292/ 1-888-203-9990
Fax: 416-850-4910

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