Granny Bulletin: February 2019

Granny Bulletin: February 2019

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. Double Your Impact! Aeroplan Mile Matching Week starts Today.
  2. Bringing New Members into the Grandmothers Campaign Community
  3. Raising Online Funds: Grandmothers Pledge Pages
  4. Fundraising Corner: February Festivities

Dear Grandmothers and Grandothers,

Many of you have told us that a question you are commonly asked – whether at events, or in conversation about your work with the Grandmothers Campaign – is if the AIDS pandemic is over.

As members of the grandmothers movement, and subscribers to the Granny Bulletin, you know that while the tide is turning, the pandemic continues to cast a large, dark shadow over communities across the African continent, and around the world. Just last month, new and devastating statistics were released and it feels critical that we share those here, along with an exploration of why a grassroots response is and always will be the key to reducing the magnitude of these numbers.

Over the past few months, the SLF has been shining a spotlight on community-based organizations’ initiatives created for and by youth. You’ve heard us talk about the crisis and rising HIV infection rates amongst youth. Two thirds of young people who are newly HIV infected are young girls and women in Africa. According to UNAIDS, there are 6,900 new infections amongst young women aged 15-24 every week. Access to anti-retroviral medications remains a challenge for many regardless of age.

In January, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), shared dire news of increasing rates of HIV among children and adolescents in western and central African countries. And with it, a welcome call to action we hope the international community will heed, to “pick up the pace” in responding to the crisis.

We have been sounding the alarm about the decreases in international funding for HIV & AIDS for some time. From the very outset of the SLF and Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, we have known that community-based organizations and local expertise and knowledge are the most effective ways of addressing the myriad of challenges of the pandemic. We’re hopeful that the increased international attention to community-based interventions will also lead to increased funding. 

Community-based organizations implement initiatives like early childhood education programmes, peer-to-peer counselling and clubs for youth. They also facilitate capacity building for community members and support innovative income generating opportunities for grandmothers and mothers. While CBOs bring ingenuity and responsiveness to new programmes to support and engage young people, they are at the same time, working directly with grandmothers to develop programmes in response to the existing and emerging needs – including support for grandmothers and caregivers who continue to confront new challenges as a generation of young people grow into adulthood. 

The interconnected responses of community-based organizations which address not only individualized needs but the needs of communities as a whole remain vital and are increasingly being recognized as the most effective ways to turn the tide of AIDS in Africa. These organizations are determinedly rebuilding resilience and reclaiming hope. And, the common thread that is woven through the fabric of every grassroots response and intervention is this: it remains the grandmothers who are at the heart of this response, holding families and communities together. 

Through our commitment and resolve within the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign we continue to deepen our solidarity and amplify the voices of African grandmothers. The awareness and funds raised sustain an enormous scope of work that has deep and lasting impacts across generations.

Winnie, Megan, Asmita and Sarah

1. Double Your Impact! Aeroplan Mile Matching Week starts today.


Double your Impact! From February 11th to 17th, Aeroplan will match the Miles donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation (up to 500,000 Miles)! Aeroplan Miles are critical to the work we do at the Stephen Lewis Foundation. These miles enable us to bring African grandmothers and grassroots experts and leaders to speak directly to us and allow the SLF Field Reps to visit communities to meet with our community-based partner organizations. Aeroplan Miles have generated opportunities for our partners to come together to learn from one another and exchange ideas, strategies and best practices. Aeroplan Miles help us keep our administrative costs low.

All miles contributed make a powerful difference in supporting grassroots organizations in Africa to turn the tide of AIDS, and this week they have double the impact when each mile donated is matched. 

If you have friends or family who would like to donate miles between February 11th and 17th, please direct them to visit to donate miles and have Aeroplan match them.

2. Bringing New Members into the Grandmothers Campaign Community

Through conversations with members of the Grandmothers Campaign, including our monthly Grandmothers Campaign information calls*, we’ve been hearing about the many ways groups have found to invite and welcome new members into their groups and the wider Grandmothers Campaign community.

Here are a few specific ways that groups have shared about how they’ve connected with new members, and how they cultivate a strong sense of community around the Grandmothers Campaign:

  • Getting social – members of grandmothers groups consistently share that while group business and event planning is absolutely important, it’s equally important and productive for groups to incorporate time for group members to spend time together as friends.
  • Channeling new energy – long-time members of the Grandmothers Campaign have shared that welcoming new members into their group has been energizing for them, and giving new members leeway to share new ideas for fundraisers and run with them (with support from other group members) has led to some great events.
  • Taking stock – a couple groups have shared that they created a simple survey to take stock of members’ skills and interests to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to do what they love, and equally, surveys are a great way to find out if members are interested in jumping into existing group activities and initiatives that they may not know about.
  • Ask, “Why?” – Carving out time to have a group-wide discussion about why each member (new and long-time members) joined the Grandmothers Campaign, and what brought them to the Grandmothers Campaign.
  • Bring a friend – Encouraging members to bring a friend to a meeting, an event or a casual get-together with your group members is a great way to expose more people to the culture and community of your group.

This list is by no means complete, in fact, we’re calling on you to share your own ideas for reaching out to new members – how has your group found new members in the past? What’s an idea you’ve been mulling over for outreach, but you haven’t yet tried? Share your ideas and we’ll share them back out across the Campaign!

3. Raising Online Funds: Grandmothers Pledge Pages

Did you know the Grandmothers Campaign online fundraising pages are live?

The 10th annual Stride to Turn the Tide online fundraising pages are live, as well as the general Grandmothers Campaign online fundraising pages that can be used for all other events. These pages let you raise awareness and funds amongst friends and family near and far. If you’d like more information or want help in setting up a fundraising page, our team is here to help you every step of the way.

Contact the Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign Team at or check out the Grandmothers Pledge Pages. Visit to join a Stride walk.

4. Fundraising Corner: February Festivities

February may be a short month, but grandmothers groups across the Campaign have collectively filled the calendar with enticing events! This month, the BramGrans will be holding a “Share Your Heart Breakfast,” Oomama has organized a “Sounds of Love & Hope Concert” and the Mariposa Grandmothers are getting ready to turn the page on their beloved Annual Book Exchange. The Burlington Ubuntu Grandwomen are inviting their community in to a “Circle of Harmony” concert. While Canadian grandmothers groups keep their events indoors during our Northern winter, The Bayside Grandmothers are holding their Garden Afternoon Tea down under in Australia. Hearing of their tea and the plants for sale has us dreaming of summer!Rounding out the month and leading us into March, many groups across the Campaign are gearing up for their annual Power of Words, Good Words for Africa or Scrabble events. To the Golden Ears Gogos, the Lanark County Grannies, Grandmothers and Friends for Africa, Capilano Grandmothers to Grandmothers, Lions Gate Gogos, West Van Gogos, The GANG and the Salt Spring Island Grandmothers to Grandmothers we wish you many triple word scores and triple that amount of fun!

Check out the Events Calendar or find more details on Grandmothers Groups Facebook pages.

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