Granny Bulletin: January 2018

Granny Bulletin: January 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. Save the Date – Aeroplan Mile Matching
  2. Tanzania National Grandmothers Gathering Delegation
  3. Seeking Grandmothers Regional Liaisons
  4. Fundraiser Catalogue Available Now

Dear Grandmothers and Grandothers,

Happy 2018!  Let us start by wishing you all health, happiness and love for the New Year. All of us at the Stephen Lewis Foundation are looking forward to another busy and exciting year that includes the National Tanzania Grandmothers Gathering in February.

In honour of that Gathering, we wanted to share an update from one of our partners in Tanzania.  Last November, the Stephen Lewis Foundation staff had the pleasure of meeting with Ndinini Kimesera Sika, one of the three Maasai women who founded the Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO). MWEDO empowers Maasai women through access to education, women’s economic empowerment, and maternal health and HIV & AIDS education. Ndinini talked to us about MWEDO’s community health program which reaches 10,000 households every year. Before the health clinic opened in 2010, it was very difficult for people from pastoralist communities to access any sort of health care. It would take three days of travelling to get to the only hospital in the district. Once at the hospital, people from the Maasai community often faced discrimination because of cultural and language differences. MWEDO has built a community health centre which provides a variety of health services ranging from HIV & AIDS treatment and prevention to prenatal care. MWEDO has worked closely with Maasai traditional birth attendants and incorporated traditional methods in their care of the Maasai community.

Ndinini spoke excitedly about the ultrasound machine in their health centre, which, in addition to allowing the health centre staff to better assess patients and make necessary referrals, has surprisingly become an important tool in helping to engage young Maasai men with prenatal healthcare. When mothers-to-be visit the clinic for a prenatal checkup, their husbands are able to engage more with the pregnancy by having a glimpse at their baby through this new technology. 

The insights that Ndinini shared about MWEDO’s work are important reminders for us of why community-based organizations, engaged in holistic programming in their communities, are the backbone of the response to HIV & AIDS in Africa. They are both delivering services to address specific urgent challenges, such as inadequate healthcare and lack of access to education, and also contributing to a larger integrated vision of what it takes to restore the whole person.

In solidarity,
Olivia, Jonea, Megan, Graham, and Healy

1. Save the Date: Aeroplan Mile Matching

Each year, the Stephen Lewis Foundation partners with Aeroplan to select one week where donated Miles will be matched on a one-for-one basis up to 500,000 Aeroplan Miles. It’s a great way to double the impact of your donation! 

This year, February 5-11 is Aeroplan Mile Matching Week

As you may know, we use donated Miles in every realm of our work: to amplify the voices of African grandmothers and other leaders by bringing them to Canada; to facilitate meetings in Africa; to facilitate visits to our partner organizations by field representatives conducting monitoring and evaluation work; and of course, to keep our administrative costs low.

We know that many Campaign members have friends, colleagues, and family who collect Aeroplan Miles, so we wanted to give you advance notice about the upcoming Matching Week. We will send a Special Granny Bulletin early in the week of February 5 with the details of how to donate that you can pass along to anyone who collects Aeroplan Miles.

PHOTO: Beatrice and her grandmother Philister with Joanne, Programme Director of Pendeza Africa (Kenya), reached communities across Canada to share their expertise, using donated Aeroplan Miles. (Alexis MacDonald/SLF)

2. Grandmothers Campaign Delegation to Tanzania

Next month, 11 grandmothers from Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, will represent the Grandmothers Campaign at the Tanzania Grandmothers Gathering in Arusha. As delegates they’ll attend workshops and celebrations and spend time learning about the challenges and achievements of Tanzanian grandmothers and the dedicated community-based organizations that support them. Before the Gathering, they’ll make a stop in Kampala, Uganda to visit two of the SLF’s partner organizations and hear directly from the grandmothers there.

When they return, they’ll have so much to share, including stories, photos and new insights into the lives and experiences of Tanzanian and Ugandan grandmothers! Each delegate has committed to one year of sharing what she learned with grandmothers groups, faith communities, schools, media and community organizations. We’re happy to connect you or your group with a returning delegate! Just email us at

Here are the delegates:

  • Elizabeth Sebesta, Victoria Grandmothers for Africa, Victoria, BC
  • Mary Baker, CanGo Grannies, Kamloops, BC
  • Thelma Hanson, Grands ‘n’ More Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB
  • Pat McKee, Oomama, Oakville, ON
  • Gail Rappolt, Blooms for Africa, Hamilton, ON
  • Anne Alper, Capital Grannies, Ottawa, ON
  • Eke Van der Zee, G-Moms of Port Perry, Port Perry, ON
  • Linda Price, Cordia Grandmothers, Traverse City, MI, USA
  • Hilary Stephenson, Guildford & Godalming Grandmothers’ Group (4G’s), Guildford, United Kingdom
  • Marilynn Freitag, Gogo Mamas Perth, Perth, WA, Australia
  • Marg Collett, Grand-AIDS, Barrington, NSW, Australia

In the February Granny Bulletin, we will share more information about the plans for the Tanzania National Grandmothers Gathering!

3. Seeking Grandmothers Regional Liaisons (GRLs)

Grandmother Regional Liaisons (GRLs) are members of the Grandmothers Campaign who come from all across Canada. They work with the Stephen Lewis Foundation to facilitate connections among grandmothers groups in their regions and to strengthen the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. GRLs have a special relationship to the SLF and work alongside Grandmothers Campaign staff to support and encourage new and existing grandmothers groups. They also participate in Campaign-wide initiatives at the local, regional and national level.

We are currently recruiting volunteers for the following regions of Canada to fill current or upcoming vacancies:

  • BC Islands (North) (will be a co-GRL with an existing GRL for the Southern BC Islands)
  • Southern and Western Ontario (can be filled by one GRL or by co-GRLs)
  • Southern Alberta
  • Atlantic Provinces (will be a co-GRL with an existing GRL)
  • Québec

GRLs take on a part-time, voluntary position for a term of two years. The time commitment varies – most GRLs spend about 5 to 8 hours a week in their roles.  And yes, GRLs still take vacations and time away from the Campaign! A monthly teleconference call with the other GRLs and Campaign staff provides an opportunity to share ideas, ask questions, and support the growth of the Campaign.

We have a GRL Roles and Responsibilities document with more information about the role as well as an application form. Both are available in the Members Only Resources section of our website. You’re also welcome to email us at for more information and/or to receive the application package. We look forward to hearing from you!

4. Fundraiser Catalogue Available Now

Is your group looking for some new fundraising ideas? The Fundraiser Catalogue is here with dozens of tried and true events from grandmothers groups across Canada and Australia! We hope that your group will enjoy reading about a variety of successful fundraisers for groups small and large, rural and urban.

You can access the Fundraiser Catalogue in the Members Only Resources section of our website or by emailing with your group’s name.
Please continue to send us your group’s favourite events, so that we can add them to the catalogue. You can access the submission form here. Also, we’re excited to let you know that based on feedback from grandmothers groups, we are going to create an Outreach Catalogue that focuses on awareness-raising events and strategies for recruiting and supporting new members. We’d love to feature your group’s ideas! You can access the submission form for that, here.

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