This week on Change Making Women we talk to Majo (Marjorie Angella Athurra) of the Gejja Women’s Foundation in Mpigi in Central Uganda. We hear about her own story, her work with women in her own community and how she is working to end shame and secrecy around menstruation.

Majo’s story in her own words:

I was born to two school going teenagers on 16th August 1992. My father was 16 and my mother was 14. I was abandoned shortly after birth. That led me to grow without parents and that parental gap meant I lacked childhood love, guidance and care that every child enjoys as they are growing. That significantly affected my self-esteem and as a result, I hated myself since I was regarded a bastard, useless and a child without any future. At the age of 14, I started my mensuration periods and my guardian at that time suggested I get married since there were no finances to help take care of the basic safe, hygienic and healthy menstruation materials. That gave another picture that they actually wanted to send me early marriage not only to stop being a burden, but also with the hope that through me, they could get some income. However, I managed to continue with school but was staying with whoever offered to house me and finance my education until 2011, when I got a government sponsorship to join Kyambogo University and pursue a diploma in English and Literature. Later in 2014, I joined the Social Innovation Academy where I was mentored and developed Gejja women foundation, an organisation through which I am fulfilling my passion of helping the young girls and women who are in the rural areas and marginalised. This initiative also empowers the widows who have no ability to sustain their livelihoods or educate their children.

Connect with Majo and find out more about her work:

This week we talk with Jennifer Lentfer, Director of Communications from Thousand Currents and the woman behind how-matters.org about her work and in particular the recent book she co-edited with Tanya Cothran, Smart Risks (and which can be found at www.smartrisks.org).  The book is about how small grants are helping to solve some of the world’s biggest problems and came out earlier this year. It features the growing community of grant makers that find and fund visionary grassroots leaders around the world. Talking about the book leads us into a fascinating conversation about how aid and development are viewed, why we should refocus our efforts on challenging power and inequality and how we can lead and facilitate in new ways to create the positive change which the world needs right now.

Jennifer describes herself as a farm girl turned international aid worker and was named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s “100 women to follow on Twitter” at @intldogooder. She is constantly looking for ways to portray the realities of people’s lives, their struggles, their strengths – as well as outsiders’ roles and mistakes – in an impatient, “silver bullet solutions” world. With her students at Georgetown University, she also published “The Development Element: Guidelines for the future of communicating about the end of global poverty” in 2014.

Connect with and find out more about Jennifer and her work:

Jennifer’s blog, How Matters: http://www.how-matters.org/
Thousand Currents Website: http://thousandcurrents.org/

Find the book at: https://www.smartrisks.org/
Twitter: @Tintldogooder

This week Mary Ann talks to Pamela Brannon, Executive Director of Children of Uganda. They speak about the experiences that inspired her to make a difference, the work of her organisation and their belief looking after ourselves is an important part of how we make a difference.

Pamela has dedicated her life’s work to serving the AIDS community and advocating on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable children. After participating in Americas first ever AIDS radio-thon, she changed her career course and began working with prominent AIDS service organisations — most notably, AIDS Project Los Angeles and Project Angel Food.

While at Project Angel Food, she was introduced to the Children of Uganda dance troupe. Soon after, she traveled to Uganda and worked with children who had lost their parents to AIDS. She was inspired by the children’s genuine joy for life and returned to the US with a newfound passion to support Uganda’s orphans. She ultimately joined the Children of Uganda Board of Directors where she served until she transitioned to her current role of Executive Director.

Pamela’s vision for COU’s future includes the construction of an academic and healing arts academy where children would benefit from a holistic approach to their educational future and overall well-being.
http://childrenofuganda.org/

This week Mary Ann talks to Claire Mahon, a human rights lawyer based in Geneva who consults, coaches and mentors others to do human rights work as well as running her own not-for-profit human rights legal work. We talk about how she got in to human rights work, what motivates and inspires her, what she has learnt along the way and how she has learnt to look after herself as well as the crucial work she undertakes.

Claire Mahon is an international human rights lawyer based in Geneva, where she is the founder of the social enterprise the Global Human Rights Group. Claire is also a coach and mentor, committed to nurturing advocates and change-makers, and developing up-and-coming, as well we already well-established, global leaders. She has worked for 20 years in a variety of roles, including as a lawyer in the private sector, as a human rights practitioner with non-governmental organisations, undertaking consultancies for UN agencies, and teaching and researching on international law and organisations in some of the world’s leading academic institutions. Claire shares insights into her world of working with human rights defenders and creating the next generation of human rights advocates with her Patreon supporters at http://patreon.com/clairemahon

Find Claire at:  clairemahon.com & GlobalHumanRightsGroup.org

Follow Claire on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/CMCoachingMentoring
http://www.facebook.com/GlobalHumanRightsGroup
http.//www.facebook.com/GlobalHumanRightsClinic

Find here on Twitter: @claire_mahon &@glblhumanrights

The current course that Claire talks about on the show:
https://globalhumanrightsgroup.doki.io/how-to-stand-up-for-human-rights (it’s not too late to enrol!)

On this episode of Change Making Women we interview Grace Mdemu, a Mentor in the Global Give Back Circle who is also an Auditor, Mother, Entrepreneur and Poet.

TOPICS WE DISCUSS IN THIS EPISODE

    • Grace Mdemu tells us how mentoring a girl who was at risk through the Global Giving Circle has enriched her life as well as that of her mentee
    • She explains how the programme works, why she’s so committed to it and the change that it creates and how she would love to see the programme grow and reach more girls.
    • We also talk about how she fits being a Mentor in to her busy life as a Auditor, Mother, Entrepreneur and Poet and how she finds time to take a break for herself.

Some Quotes from the show:

 ‘Seven years down the line, my mentee, to me, is like the little sister I never had, we are still going strong’

‘The only difference between us and the girls is opportunity, so I know these are the leaders of tomorrow’

‘You have to believe in yourself to be a mentor, you are there to guide and you talk about relationships, religion everything, they come to trust you.’

Connect with Grace and the Global Give Back Circle:
Find our more about the Global Give Back Circle: https://www.globalgivebackcircle.org/

You can listen to this episode below or find it on ITunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud.

TOPICS WE DISCUSS IN THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to Maria Magembe and Hellen Lawuo-Meena about the business they have recently launched Daughters of the Soil. We talk about

  • How Maria’s Grandmother Oyangi inspired their 100% natural range of premium beauty products
  • Why they have chosen to create a global brand that celebrates African heritage
  • What they have learnt from working together and how they manage doing business with a friend
  • How Daughters of the Soil wants to develop a platform that supports rural women in Africa to empower themselves

Some quotes from the show:
We want to be a brand that celebrates the goodness that comes from the soil across Africa’

‘Where we come from the soil is regarded as something important, we believe that we are from the soil and so it’s a fitting name for a natural beauty business’

‘We are still learning everyday, we are just stretching ourselves’

‘It’s really been a journey in terms of solving problems, it’s really exciting’

‘Even when we don’t agree, it’s a really good learning point’

‘It’s about developing a platform that supports rural women in Africa who don’t have some of the support that we have been really privileged to have’

‘It’s about women backing women in business’

Connect with and find out more about Daughters of the Soil:

www.daughterofthesoil.co.uk
Twitter:@daughterof_soil

Instagram: @daughetrof_soil

Facebook: Daughterofthesoil

On this weeks show Ziada and Mary Ann reflect on the recent US election and the fear and sadness many are feeling about the result and ask how we might turn use our fear and anger to galvanise effect action for change? They talk about co-ordinating movements for change and inspiring ourselves to focused action towards the change that we believe in.

Some quotes from the show:

“Demonstrations are like sticking up a big sign. Whether they lead to change or not… that’s a much more complicated story.”

“It’s easy to say what you’re against. To say what you’re for can get uite tricky.” 

“To make a difference in your community, try to take the positives. Then get together and work around that.” 

“Making change is a long process, and you can’t always see the end of it. It’s not for the fainthearted, trying to make big things change.”

“It takes a lot of dedication. You have to dedicate your life to do that.” 

“There’s also an argument for taking small actions, and being willing to put your hand up and say ‘this is wrong’ in smaller ways as well.”

On this weeks show we interview Noelah Msuya, Founder and Director of Child Support Tanzania, an not-for-profit organisation based in Mbeya which promotes educational inclusion through their early childhood development centre and a range of activities with local schools and communities. Noelah tells us why real inclusion matters and how she has coped with leading a growing change making project alongside being a Mum.

TOPICS WE DISCUSS IN THIS EPISODE

  • How to get started fundraising for your Change Making project
  • What you need to have in place in order to persuade someone to give you money
  • How to go about proving what you have done with money you have been given
  • Starting small and using your network to test and prove your idea.
  • How cultures of giving vary

Some quotes from the show:

‘You need to be able to describe exactly what you want to do before you go anywhere asking for money.’

‘My biggest concern is how people are accountable, that the money is used according to the business plan’

You need to have a detailed plan – to really know what you are going to do and be able to explain it to anyone you meet’

‘Do your research about funders properly. Send them what they ask for tailored for them. Make it clear that you know who they are’

‘to stand out you need a compelling story about the difference you want to make.’
‘get your first money from people you know who have faith in you.’

‘My number one recommendation if you are starting a charitable project would be to raise the first money you need from people you know who have faith in you’