GROOTS International

Our vision: To develop, over time, a movement giving voice and power to grassroots women's local visions and initiatives attracting long-term partners, and creating new policies, to expand and strengthen their leadership.

Huairou Commission
GROOTS is a founding member of this global coalition of women focused on women in human settlements. Read more here:

Disaster Watch!

Read more about GROOTS' innovative, community-led disaster relief and resilience building work by visiting:

New Huairou Commission study reveals economic value of of unpaid female care in the context of HIV and AIDS

As billions of international dollars flow to AIDS-affected countries in Africa, a new study conducted in six countries shows that tens of thousands of unpaid female caregivers between the ages of 20 and 49 routinely donate on average 69 hours per month to care for the sick and vulnerable––a donation of time worth millions of dollars each month.

The study, Compensation for Contributions: Report on Interviews with Volunteer Care-Givers in Six Countries, was conducted by caregivers, care giving organizations and the Huairou Commission in six countries to quantify unpaid labor contributions and highlight the gaps that exist between AIDS policies and working conditions on the ground. The countries studied were: Cameroon, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. 4 of the participating groups were members of GROOTS International.

Calculating the number of hours worked into wages in each country the study found, for example, that in Kenya where volunteers work an average of 24.4 hours per week, professional wages would translate into KShs 13,704 (US$168.46) per caregiver while government wages would tally KShs 4,294 (US$52.79).

"If we estimate the unpaid care labor force in Kenya to be 16,000, the government wage scale per month to compensate these women would be US$844,640 and private wages would be US$2,695,360," said Debbie Budlender, the chief researcher for the project. "In Malawi, where volunteers work an average of 8.2 hours per week, monthly compensation would average MK1947.70 (US$1,282.23) while in South Africa, 22.2 hours per week would translate into R780.44 (US$10182.05) monthly."

"Caregivers understand that AIDS is not just a health concern but a complex development issue with local and global economic, human rights and gender implications," said Winnie Byanyima, director of the Gender Team, Bureau for Development Policy, UNDP. "The findings from this study are an important platform for galvanizing government and donor recognition of caregivers' relentless contributions to coping with the HIV epidemic, including their vital work as community development change agents locally and globally."

African leaders of the research initiative will be a part of the Huairou Commission's delegation at next week's International AIDS Conference, where they will share research results and dialogue with key stakeholders on immediate actions that can be taken to support home-based caregivers.

For more informaton, contact Shannon Hayes:

Download the full report here!
Download quantitative findings only here

GROOTS India- Africa Exchange | February 15-20 2009| Mumbai & Osmanabad, Maharashtra, India 

africa-india-exchangeOn the 14th of February 2009, nine grassroots women from four African nations arrived in Mumbai to begin a five day learning exchange in Maharashtra state, India. This exchange was facilitated and supported by Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) and GROOTS International in order to encourage knowledge sharing and transfer of effective practices in health, community led HIV/AIDS initiatives, savings and credit groups, and livelihoods. In addition to this, the exchange sought to transfer the Indian model of organizing grassroots women into federations.

Some of the empowering initiatives that the grassroots leaders on the exchange found most exciting were the Indians’ savings and credit federations and health mutuals, livelihoods mapping, and the Africans’ community-based AIDS initiatives including their breaking the silence and stigma, and providing home-based care and support for people living with AIDS and orphans.

The African participants came from four grassroots organizations - GROOTS Kenya, Uganda Community Based Organization for Child Welfare (UCOBAC), the International Women’s Communication Centre (IWCC) Nigeria and Ntankah Village Women Common Initiative Group, Cameroon – which together come under the umbrella of GROOTS Africa. These grassroots women and care givers have lead policy dialogues advocating for resources and support for community HIV/AIDS initiatives in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Cameroon and are also involved in work with children orphaned by AIDS and in programs on livelihoods.

Click here to read more!


Canada provides new Women’s Resource Centre for Matara|Matara, Sri Lanka| March 3, 2009


Adding to the beauty of the southern coastal landscape, a new Women’s Resource Centre was declared open on the 03rd of March 2009 in Kasiwattapura, Polhena Matara by Mr. Calvin R. Piggott, First Secretary (Development) of the Canadian High Commission. Centring Women in Reconstruction and Governance in Sri Lanka, is a three year project, providing CDN CAD$968,422 to rebuild and empower the lives of women in the Tsunami affected communities in Moratuwa and Matara. The project is implemented by the International Centre for Sustainable Cities (ICSC) Canada with funding from the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Read the full story here!

Changing their World: Czech Mothers Centers and GROOTS Kenya featured in AWID's Building Feminist Movements and Organizations initiative

AWID's Building Feminist Movements and Organizations initiative undertook a series of 10 case studies from different regions of the world that had mobilized women to make a difference. The initiative was launched by AWID as part of its 2006 strategic plan. One of the goals of the initiative is to advance our understanding of feminist movements in the current global context.
Read the Full story and case studies here!

Grassroots Women's Initiatives in Reconstruction and Governance: Community Visits and International Exchange Workshop | August 18-22

women in herb gardenGROOTS International facilitated a learning exchange between grassroots women leaders from poor communities in Sri Lanka and India. The exchange was designed and conducted by a Program Committee of the recently launched GROOTS-supported Grassroots Trainers for Disaster Risk Reduction and Development with Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP). This Sri Lankan project was supported by partner the International Centre for Sustainable Cities (ICSC) with funding from CIDA, Canada. The community visits and the peer exchange highlighted learning from practice by Sri Lankan and Indian communities in tsunami-hit villages and included Federation leaders with over ten years of experience in disaster resilience work.
Download the report here!

Driving the Demand for Good Governance Summit: GROOTS International at the World Bank
Washington DC, June 2-3, 2008 The Demand for Good Governance Learning Summit was an opportunity for GROOTS International to re-establish our relationship with the Social Development Unit as well as build new linkages to other units and departments within the Bank. . In addition to presenting a discussion paper, “Beneficiaries to Stakeholders: Grassroots women’s groups drive the demand for good governance through pro-poor development,” GROOTS was invited to present innovative practices in driving the demand for good governance from the community perspective, along with the Social Development Department’s stocktaking of demand-driven good governance practices within the Bank itself. Read the full story by clicking here

CENTER-STAGING WOMEN’S EFFORTS IN DISASTER RISK REDUCTION Groots International’s participation in ProVention Consortium’s Annual Forum
Panama City, April 8-10, 2008 Amidst academics, researchers, donors and development banks and NGOs at ProVention Consortium’s Annual Forum ‘From Grassroots to Global: People Centered Disaster Risk Reduction in Panama City’, GROOTS International’s team led by Latin American women made a strong case for the need for grassroots women and their communities to drive resilience-building programs. Affirming his support for the global efforts of the GROOTS’ network to empower women to shape DRR programs, Vinod Menon, member of the National Disaster Management Authority of the Government of India, publicly congratulated Groots and presented a plaque from the Government of India to the GROOTS network. Read the full story by clicking here

Swayam Shikshan Prayog Wins Ashoka Changemaker Award for Water and Sanitation Work

GROOTS member Swayam Shikshan Prayog has been named as a finalist in the Ashoka Changemakers competition: Tapping Local Knowledge - Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis. SSP's groundbreaking approaches toward making universal access to safe water and sanitation a reality can be seen by visiting the Ashoka website!


Our Developmental Work

Resilience Building


Caring Communities