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Summer Grantmaking at Grassroots International

July 2015

Grassroots International stands with people on the frontlines of defending the human rights to water, land, and food.  Recently, we awarded more than 15 grants to movements in Haiti, Latin America, Palestine, West Africa and India – bolstering the efforts of those leading the global struggle for climate justice and creating sustainable solutions that we can all learn from. Here are some highlights: In the Women and Mother Earth vegetable gardens project of Guatemala’s National Coordinator of the Indigenous and Campesinos (CONIC), rural peasant and indigenous women are developing vegetable gardens using low-cost techniques of sustainable agriculture and through this becoming leaders in their communities. In recent years these communities have experienced increasing impacts of climate change including droughts, floods and other extreme weather events that have depleted their soil. This has made the connection between women and Mother Earth clearer than ever – women are on the frontlines of experiencing the severe impacts of climate change and ecological destruction, and at the same time, they are the ones implementing agroecological practices that make it possible to feed their families while healing the earth at the same time. We Are the Solution: Celebrating African Family Agriculture is a project made up of rural women-led family farmers associations in Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Ghana. This bourgeoning campaign promotes sustainable, community-centered farming; and creates alternatives to market-driven agricultural policies in West Africa. Through this project the women farmers associations are leading trainings to build and exchange knowledge on agroecology, they are hosting radio programs to reach out to larger audiences about their campaign, and organizing to demand more government support of organic and agroecological farming. La Via Campesina-Central America’s Training and Leadership Development project brings together leaders and organizers from Central American peasant, indigenous peoples and Afro-descendent movements. These trainings create a space to build skills, strengthen leadership and learn from each other about the contexts in different parts of the region. The project prepares leaders on gender and youth equity, culture, and land and territory struggles. Organized by the Association of Rural Workers (ATC), the Training and Leadership Development program has trained hundreds of leaders under the framework of food sovereignty, agroecology and an indigenous worldview. The Urban Agriculture project of the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committees (PARC) is helping to build resilience in poor and vulnerable households who suffered the impact of the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. Since last summer, it has become increasingly difficult for the government to respond to the rising numbers of people falling under the poverty line due to unemployment. Lack of income can easily translate into lack of food (more so than in rural settings, where more people grow their own food, since money is needed to buy food). Therefore, promoting urban agriculture is a way to improve the health and economic opportunities for families. For women heads of households (where the father is unemployed, disabled, elderly or was killed), this project provides family starter kits that includes pigeons and rabbits and a small greenhouse with seedlings.  With this starter kit, these small “commercial backyards” become a source of food and income for the families. The Platform of haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH) is a coalition of nine of Haiti’s foremost human rights groups. Together they train people all over Haiti on human rights issues, educating people about their rights and how to document human rights offenses. This grant promotes Legal Education in Human Rights in the Central Plateau. This project organizes community trainings, including some trainings specifically for women and children; prepares reports on human rights violations; publishes and disseminates reports to the media; publishes a monthly newsletter; produces a weekly radio broadcast; advocates before state authorities for individuals facing human rights violations; and observes elections at the national, departmental (state), and local levels. We also made grants to the advance the following projects:


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