Granny Bulletin: June 2017

Granny Bulletin: June 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. The Resilience Effect and the Power of Community
  2. The SLF’s New LGBTQ Initiative
  3. Fundraising Corner: Art from the Attic
  4. SLF’s Fiscal Year Ends June 30

Dear Grandmothers and Grandothers,

As we write this, Stride walks are taking place across the Canada, cyclists are in serious training for cycle tours in the fall, calendars are filling up quickly with fall fundraisers and awareness raising events, Ida Nambeya Mukuka and Margaret Hunter have recently returned from their organizing and speaking tour across Australia (details to come in the July Granny Bulletin), and so much more!  It is a busy, busy time. There is no doubt that grandmothers group members are full steam ahead in Canada, Australia, and the UK and that the Campaign is moving with strength into the next 10 years.

What better way to mark this time than with a message from Ilana Landsberg-Lewis about the revolutionary movement that grandmothers group members in Canada (and now the UK and Australia) have built over the last ten years. 

From Ilana’s talk to the 10 Year Anniversary Ottawa-Gatineau Gathering on April 28, 2017:

“Let’s take a moment to reflect on what you’ve built together. In Canada, as part of the Grandmothers Campaign, you have engaged with and developed a new development model. It is probably the only development model based on solidarity not charity. The Campaign raises funds and awareness and never dictates to the groups and to the grandmothers at the frontlines what they should be doing with the money. No matter how much you learn and I learn, we know we are not the experts. And although we’ve become used to that phrase, I want to say to you that internationally this idea is revolutionary — it’s almost lunacy.

Nobody can believe the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign: that there are 10,000 women in Canada who have raised more than $25 million and who don’t expect that their fundraising efforts confers on them the right to direct the projects in Africa. Even after a decade in the Campaign, you never assume that you or that the Stephen Lewis Foundation knows better than the people on the front lines of the pandemic. No matter how many stories you’ve read in these Bulletins, in Grassroots, and heard directly from African grandmothers, you have held onto a really revolutionary core principle – expertise lies with grandmothers and community-based organizations in Africa.

In the Campaign, we now take that principle for granted but, internationally, it’s a revolutionary idea. Imagine! People in the North are actually supporting grassroots organizations and grandmothers, whom nobody sees as a ‘good investment’, and not dictating the terms of engagement. Whether it’s PEPFAR or the Global Fund, everywhere international NGOs are dictating terms because it makes the donors feel good. They want wells built – and there are pictures of the wells. They want goats – and there are pictures of the goats. They want girls in school – and there are pictures of girls in school. It doesn’t matter if the girls don’t have counselling, it doesn’t matter if no one is walking them to school early in the morning to make sure they don’t get raped, it doesn’t matter if no one is teaching them about menstruation and sanitary napkins so they don’t have to stay home. All that ‘s seen as grandmothers’ work and community work and somehow that kind of work doesn’t need funding. Because as long as you can count the number of girls and take pictures of them, fine. And if that isn’t ‘tied aid’, I don’t know what is. And the community-based organizations keep saying so.

The only example I can give in the world is the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. It’s no accident that it is grandmothers who understand deeply, viscerally, that the African grandmothers don’t need anyone to tell them what to do to resurrect their communities. And so this is a moment to think very carefully about how you are the vanguards of a truly revolutionary new model of development that is based on solidarity. It actually takes the tired old word of solidarity and gives it meaning. And the African grandmothers are running with it. They’re doing everything they need to do without interference because of your solidarity.”

In solidarity,
The Grandmothers Campaign Team

1. The Resilience Effect and the Power of Community

“PLWHA [People Living with HIV and AIDS] are making incredible contributions in the areas of peer support, peer education, advocacy, public education, sensitization and community mobilization. Peers have a very strong influence on an individual’s behaviour. Peer educators have a level of trust and comfort with their peers that allows for open discussion about sensitive topics, and they have good access to ‘hidden’ populations that may have limited interaction with mainstream health programmes. Our peer education programme empowers both the educators and the target groups by creating a sense of solidarity and collective action. It’s also more cost-effective than interventions that rely on formally trained professional staff. Our peer educators are community members who have developed the capacity to provide health information to those around them, and they are now seen by others in the community as a focal point for information and assistance. We’ve build a cadre of PLWHA and community volunteers who can address positive prevention many years beyond the life cycle of this project.” — Busoga Integrated Development and Care Foundation

This story from Busoga Integrated Development and Care Foundation, one of the SLF’s partner’s in Uganda, is just one of the many examples of the power of community that is highlighted in the SLF’s just-released 2016 Year in Review (which shares its name with this section heading). The Year in Review offers page after page of people-based evidence that community-based organizations in Africa are transforming their communities. The Spring 2017 Spotlight on Grassroots  and the 2016 Year in Review  work hand-in-hand (along with the 2015 Year in Review) to begin to tell the story of the return of resilience to the communities in which our partner organizations work in sub-Saharan Africa.

We know that grandmothers groups are always eager to get more concrete examples of the work our partners in Africa are doing and we believe that the Spotlight (which focuses on psychological and emotional support) and the Year in Review (which covers healthcare, income-generation, food security, access to education, protection from violence, psychological and emotion support, and community mobilization) will be hugely helpful and inspirational in this regard –whether you read an entire section out loud at a meeting or choose a few quotes to share at a fundraiser. 

Getting Copies of the Spotlight and the Year in Review
Both the 2017 Spotlight on Grassroots and the 2016 Year in Review are available online as PDFs. In addition, we have hard copies of the Spotlight, which you can distribute at meetings and events. We also have a limited number of print copies of the Year in Review and we are happy to send them to grandmothers groups who will use them. Please contact your Grandmothers Campaign Officer or write to if you’d like us to mail you copies of either or both of these resources.

2. The SLF’s New LGBTQ Initiative

As members of the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, you raise funds specifically to support African grandmothers and the children in their care. But we know you care deeply about all of the work that the Stephen Lewis Foundation supports and are committed to making sure that holistic responses to HIV & AIDS meet the needs of all vulnerable communities. As a result. we thought that you would want to be among the first to know about a critically important new initiative.

In May 2017, the Stephen Lewis Foundation launched an initiative to support LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) communities in sub-Saharan Africa, because LGBTQ communities are under attack. In country after country, they are persecuted, discriminated against, harassed, beaten, jailed, subjected to ‘corrective rape’, and their very lives are criminalized and threatened. 34 out of 54 countries in Africa maintain laws that criminalize consensual sex between men, and 24 maintain laws that apply to women.

It is against this backdrop of hostility and violence that the LGBTQ communities struggle to survive, to claim and secure their Human Rights, to live with dignity and without fear, and to address the scourge of HIV&AIDS.

Many LGBTQ organizations are, by necessity, forced into the position of using the majority of their budget on the struggle for Human Rights and on security. This leaves critical HIV&AIDS services for their vulnerable populations severely under-resourced.

The SLF’s LGBTQ Initiative will ensure that determined and courageous LGBTQ organizations are able to provide their communities with desperately needed programmes and services by providing funding for life-saving and life-enhancing HIV&AIDS related programmes run by these grassroots organizations.

As with every new initiative the SLF undertakes, the funds raised to support this initiative will be in addition to the funds raised to support the Foundation’s five core areas of work: grandmothers, children affected by AIDS, home-based care, sexual violence and HIV & AIDS, and positive living. 

3. Fundraising Corner: Art from the Attic

Submitted by Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers Regina

This September we will host our 6th Art from the Attic, and we are gearing up for another stellar event! 

 Kudos to the British Columbia Valley Arts Council and the Invermere Health Care Auxiliary for the idea and the name, and the G4G member who first raised the idea to our group and promoted what has become a very profitable fundraiser.  Our 2016 AFTA has raised $31,000, a figure we are quite proud of. This was generated by the one-day art sale and a subsequent on-line auction hosted by the Saskatchewan Network for Art Collecting.

The beauty of an AFTA sale is that it involves the community in two ways – as donor supporters and as happy customers. As AFTA’s reputation has gathered steam, the number of two-dimensional, gently used art pieces that have been donated by community members hovers between 1800-2500 per sale. Excitingly, there is usually a steady stream of customers patiently lined up from before opening through the final hour’s half-price sale on this one-day art sale.

The art is priced from $10-$1000, most pieces fall within the $20-70 range, and reserves are placed on higher-end product.

Although this fundraiser requires hard work and elbow grease, with members’ involvement in the various stages (cleaning and pricing art, doing pick-up of the art, and other jobs on the day), ultimately this fundraiser that “takes a village” is a successful fundraiser for several reasons: minimal overhead, substantial funds raised, considerable community support, good group visibility, membership involvement, and it’s fun!

If you would like to learn more about G4G Regina’s Art from the Attic, please contact and we will put you in touch with a member of the group.  If you would like to submit a fundraiser for the Fundraising Corner, please send your description, a photo, and the email address of someone from your group who is willing to field questions from other groups to

4. SLF’s Fiscal Year Ends June 30

As many of you know, the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s fiscal year ends June 30. We ask that groups submit funds before that date wherever possible. Also, if you have been sent any SLF items on consignment (for example: 10 year anniversary pins, Stride scarves, copies of Grandmothers Africa’s Unsung Heroes books), please submit funds from those items by June 30, as well. Thank you!


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