Granny Bulletin: June 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. An exciting opportunity to hear directly from Idah Nambeya Mukuka and Justine Ojambo!
  2. Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign featured on Ilana’s podcast, Grandmothers on the Move
  3. The Changing Face of Leadership: Youth in Action
  4. Geneva Forum for Health Awards – Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign is One of the Four Winners
  5. Imagine Canada – SLF a Leader in the Charitable Sector
  6. Beds WithOut Breakfast

Dear Grandmothers and Grandothers,
As with all seasons, the rhythm of the Campaign and grandmothers groups ebbs and flows. Many groups are in the midst of Stride to Turn the Tide, others are gearing up for cycle tours, sales and a variety of events in the coming months. Recently, new groups have joined the Campaign in four different communities – Stephenville, Newfoundland; Moncton, New Brunswick; Selkirk, Manitoba; and the greater Vancouver area in British Columbia. There are seeds germinating in the US, UK and Australia, too.  

To new groups, Welcome! We are thrilled to have you with us! This Granny Bulletin is brimming with information to keep you ‘in the know’ about all sorts of wonderful initiatives and opportunities!  Please share it with all of your members. 

With appreciation for your solidarity and support, 
The Grandmothers Campaign team

1. An exciting opportunity to hear directly from Idah Nambeya Mukuka and Justine Ojambo!

We’ve been thinking about how to share the updates and work of our partners in new and different ways and how to amplify their voices directly. 

We hope you’ll join us as we try something new. 

Find us on Facebook this coming Wednesday, June 20 for a conversation with Idah Nambeya Mukuka, Senior Advisor to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign and Justine Ojambo, National Director of Phoebe Education Fund for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (PEFO). Idah and Justine will talk about what they’re seeing within communities and how the lives of grandmothers are changing. We’ll broadcast the conversation live to the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Facebook page at 2pm EST. If you aren’t able to tune live at that time, you can still watch the full, live recording at any time on the Grandmothers Campaign Facebook page

2. Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign featured on Ilana’s podcast, Grandmothers on the Move

Don’t miss this podcast episode, Rocking Solidarity Not Charity, released on June 17th in which Ilana interviews three grandmothers from the Campaign to introduce the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign to a broader international audience.

Visit Grandmothers on the Move to listen to past and current episodes. New episodes are posted every Sunday. Consider sharing it with grandmothers who might want to start a group!
Grandmothers on the Move is the podcast that kicks old stereotypes to the curb, and introduces creative, activist, irreverent and powerful grandmothers making vital contributions to their families and communities around the world.

3. The Changing Face of Leadership: Youth in Action

Ask Her: Young leaders speak about their experiences as youth ambassadors in their communities. Left to right: Josephine (MU-JHU, Uganda); Chileshe (Blue Roof Wellness Centre, South Africa); Elizabeth (St. Francis Healthcare Services, Uganda); Vivian (Reach Out Mbuya, Uganda) Photo Credit: Alexis MacDonald/SLF

In May, the SLF hosted a roundtable bringing together youth leaders and project staff from four community-based organizations that are implementing innovative youth-for-youth programming in Uganda and South Africa. These young women who joined us in Toronto were participants in the youth programmes, and in some cases involved in their creation. Now they are leaders in these organizations, working with their peers to provide psychosocial support and peer-to-peer education and training within their communities. They are using film, drama, poetry and art to fight stigma and discrimination. They are coming together creating businesses and enterprises to generate income and create savings groups. These initiatives are youth-driven responses to challenges faced by young people living with and affected by HIV. 
We’re excited to share a little of what they had to say regarding their role as youth ambassadors in their communities. In the coming months you may read more about the work of the SLF’s community-based partners’ support of and work with children and youth in various SLF publications. Of course, this has a direct correlation with the grandmothers, since they are, overwhelmingly, the caregivers who are nurturing and raising these young people to be aware of HIV, how to stay on medication and eat nutritiously so that the medication works, and how to prevent infection. 
“At MU-JHU [in Uganda], we have a group that meets once a month. The youth in the group plan, design and implement all of our programmes; we train youth in the group to be leaders through internships. We’re engaged in community and school outreach to fight stigma. We raise funds to support youth who have had to drop out of school because they couldn’t pay the fees, return to school. Our group provides psychosocial support. It is fun. We say, accept your status, learn about your status, learn how you’re going to manage your status, take your medication and just live your life to the fullest.” — Josephine 

“Many young positive youth are leaders in their families. They are taking care of the younger children [in their households]. Through St. Francis [in Uganda], our youth club started recycling paper to make beads and collecting bottle caps to make earrings. We created a business as a way to address problems. With the earnings from that business, we created a savings group. These are funds that youth can access to help take care of the younger children.” — Elizabeth 

“We started hearing that children were missing their appointments at the clinic, so we asked them why. The children and youth didn’t want the adults to see them. They weren’t comfortable talking to older people. They wouldn’t come, and they wouldn’t talk. So, at Reach Out Mbuya [in Uganda], we started an adolescent clinic. Youth peer support workers meet the youth who come for their appointments, before they meet with the doctor. We talk to them about their status and give support. The peer-to-peer counselling has really helped. If you’re talking to someone your own age, it’s easier to disclose your problems. It’s like a chat. We’ve worked to get other youth involved, training them to be peer supporters as well.” — Vivian 

“At Blue Roof [in South Africa], we run a peer-to-peer [HIV] disclosure and support group for youth. We use art and poetry as a medium to share our stories and train youth to make documentaries, so they can share their own stories and experiences or do interviews with one another. Youth don’t always feel comfortable showing their faces or sharing their identities, so they film in ways that protect privacy while still sharing what they want to say.” — Chileshe 

To hear more from these leaders, check out the video of a town hall hosted by the SLF during their visit to Canada. You can watch the event on the SLF Facebook page.

4. Geneva Forum for Health Awards – Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign is One of the Four Winners

As we shared with you in the May Granny Bulletin, the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign was one of four recipients of the Geneva Forum for Health Awards. The award shines an international spotlight on the Campaign with African grandmothers at the heart of the response to HIV&AIDS. Ilana Landsberg-Lewis accepted the award on behalf of the SLF’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. Here is an excerpt of what she said.
“The Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign is a social movement in Canada, with new groups in Australia, the UK and now the United States. They have raised over 25 million dollars – which our Foundation sends directly to our community-based partners in the 15 sub-Saharan African countries with the highest prevalence rate of HIV&AIDS. In Africa, due to a decade of this sustained support, the transformation in the lives of the grandmothers and the children in their care has been remarkable. The HIV positive children they are raising have thrived, they have accessed and adhered to treatment and better nutrition, they have stayed in school, and young women and men are living positively, raising their own young families, and have become community ambassadors in the fight against AIDS. But this is not all. The grandmothers, in their own right, have emerged as leaders in their communities, and as advocates for improved healthcare for grandmothers, mobilizing around elder violence, child abuse, an end to sexual exploitation of young girls and women, and insisting that health data be collected on women over 60 – particularly for HIV&AIDS. They are sitting on land rights councils, child protection councils, local AIDS councils, running for office, and now they are mobilizing around a host of human rights issues connected to older women and HIV&AIDS. 
Together with our community partners, we have hosted national level Grandmothers Gatherings, where hundreds of grandmothers have convened in each country – Swaziland, Uganda, South Africa and Tanzania – to share best practices, and hammer out an Agenda for Change to be used in lobbying with their governments. In every Gathering the grandmothers identify pressing issues, chief amongst them improved access to healthcare. They have insisted that HIV&AIDS is not a health crisis in the narrow sense, but in the broadest possible sense. As such, the end point of the global HIV&AIDS response can’t simply be zero new infections. The goal must be the restored health and well-being of the people who live in countries hit hardest by HIV&AIDS, and the promise of decent, healthy, and productive lives and futures they can work together to build.   
Our Foundation is tremendously grateful to be receiving this important award, because of the powerful recognition it confers on the work of the grandmothers in sub-Saharan Africa and the global campaign that has supported them with respect and solidarity. It is our hope that this recognition will help to accelerate a radical shift in the appreciation and attention paid to the critical role that African grandmothers play in the response to the AIDS crisis, and that grandmothers globally contribute to the health and well-being of their families and communities. 
It is time, in fact it’s past time, for those of us committed to health and well-being-for-all to ensure that the herculean efforts and contributions of African grandmothers and their community-based organizations take their rightful place at the centre of all deliberations about HIV&AIDS policies, programmes and funding.”

5. Imagine Canada – SLF a leader in the Charitable Sector

On June 1st, Imagine Canada released a philanthropy supplement in the Globe and Mail, listing the Stephen Lewis Foundation among the 237 Canadian charities and nonprofits that have achieved Imagine Canada accreditation. The Imagine Canada Standards Trustmark is a symbol of excellence and leadership in the charitable sector. Accreditation is earned by charities and non-profits that have taken action through the Standards Program to bolster trust with the public by identifying and reducing organizational risk, improving board governance practises, being transparent and accountable with finances and fundraising, and fostering a strong workforce.

Earning accreditation is an important and rigorous process – an accomplishment that the SLF originally celebrated in 2015. Find out more about this accreditation and why it matters:

6. Beds WithOut Breakfast

Do you have upcoming travel plans, or an itch to explore a new place? The Beds WithOut Breakfast programme is an initiative whereby hosts provide accommodation for 1-3 nights in return for a donation to the SLF. Despite the name, many hosts include a light breakfast and all include a warm welcome.

The BWOB listings are updated on the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign website. While BWOB is a programme run for registered members of the grandmothers groups, some hosts also accept guests recommended by grandmothers group members. This unique way of visiting a new community, presents the opportunity to meet other members, while supporting the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign.

While most listings are based in Canada, there are also UK listings. For more information about the programme or to find out how to become a host, please contact Linda Taberner.

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