Wednesday, April 25, 2012

GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays: GWWI Director, Gemma Bulos Raising the Voice of Women in Water on Huffington Post!

Gemma Bulos, GWWI Director
The Global Women’s Water Initiative is so excited to announce that Gemma Bulos, GWWI Director,  published a powerful article, “Transforming Women’s Water Burdens Into Economic Opportunities” in the Huffington Post!  Because of this recent piece, she has been invited to be a regular HuffPost blogger!  

As an award-winning social entrepreneur, water advocate, trainer and musician, she now has an international platform to raise the voices of women in water, environment, social entrepreneurship and climate change. This is an incredible opportunity to share the work of GWWI, Women’s Earth Alliance, our partners and peers to bring to the forefront the challenges and most importantly, the solutions that are being implemented all over the globe by one of our most untapped resources – women. 

WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT! To keep the drumbeat going and to ensure that we continue a public conversation about women’s leadership and the environment, we need to build our audience! The more we share this info, the greater the opportunity for us to connect, share and most important  - collaborate!  The Global Women’s Water Initiative has set an ambitious goal of building our FB and Twitter followers to 500 by Mother’s Day! Can you help us?

We invite you to do the following:
  • Read the HuffPost article! (link to in the Huffington Post article
  •  Share the article with your friends by clicking “Share”, “Like” and “Tweet” directly from the article
  •  Add a comment to the blog – this will really help to continue the awareness and spark conversation
  • Become a “Fan” of Gemma’s Blogs  (Link to
  • Like Global Women’s Water Initiative on Facebook to get news, updates, articles and musings from GWWI  Link to
  •  Follow us on Twitter @womenwater and @gemmabelle to join a lively conversation about ongoing social entrepreneurship and water work around the globe from our partners and allies
  • Share this with 5 of your friends and invite them to support!
Thank you so much for being part of the conversation! The more we talk about the issues we care about and invite people to take action in whatever way they are feeling most powerful -  the greater chances we have of creating the change we want to see in the world! Join the WAVE!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays: Angella and Martha Win an Award and Buy a Brick Machine!


Angella and Martha have two big reasons to celebrate and are one step closer to reaching their goal of providing their community with access to water!  First, they were able to raise funds from their local supporters and community members to buy an ISSB brick-making machine to build strong water tanks and rainwater harvesting systems! At the cost of approximately $1500 which is quite an accomplishment!  And second, they won the Best Booth at the Moyo District Women’s Day Celebration!

Angella and Martha are from Marindi in Northern Uganda, a region that has been plagued with conflict for decades. Both are retired nurses and have been working tirelessly as facilitators and volunteers to improve community health for the most vulnerable people in their communities – women, orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).  Angella and Martha came to the Global Women’s Water Intiative through Patricia Eiyo-Elotu of the UN-World Food Programme. Patricia not only nominated the team, she also led the Climate Change workshop at the GWWI Women and Water Training held in Kamapala last July 2011.

Angella and Martha learned how to build a variety of different rainwater harvesting systems including capturing water from thatched roofs, ferro cement tank construction and how to repair and clean gutters.  On a field trip to Connect Africa, they saw the ISSB tank and new that this technology was the best option for their community situation. The ISSB (interlocking stabilized soil block) machine makes a special kind of brick that is composed simply of marram (earthen clay), sand, a little cement and water.  Because the blocks interlock, the structure is much more stable and requires less cement to bond them together. They went straight home, mobilized their community and built a rainwater harvesting tank for a local school!

At Moyo District’s Woman’s Day Celebration they offered a workshop that was attended by the Chairman of the District Council. They made bricks with the ISSB machine, promoted the bricks and offered a demo of the Biosand Filter! Angella and Martha are no stranger to recognition as they have won the Home and Environment Competition for three consecutive years! They have strong relationships with the community and its leaders and because of their transparency, they have developed a deep trust that will ensure that this program will succeed.

Bravo ladies! We are behind you all the way!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays:  UCOBAC Receives the Gift of Hygiene from CNN Hero, Derek Kayonga!  

The Global Women’s Water Initiative is thrilled to share this video featuring CNN Hero Derek Kayonga of the Global Soap Project (GSP) providing UCOBAC with recycled soap thanks to GWWI Fellow, Lily Dimling!

A primary goal of GWWI is to create an international network of women leaders in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector providing a platform for learning and sharing.  When Lily, a leader at Global Soap Project, was selected to participate in the GWWI flagship Fellowship program, one of her main objectives was to learn more about WASH implementation on the ground so GSP could expand their services through WASH education initiatives to supplement their mission to distribute soap. In summer of 2011, the GWWI Fellowship Program mobilized a global team of women graduate students and development professionals to gain a holistic and hands-on training in international development, WASH-related education and appropriate technology.

UCOBAC is one of the two returning organizations that participated in our 2008 and 2010 Women and Water trainings. Led by Solome Mukisa, UCOBAC provides services to improve the welfare of vulnerable children in Uganda through trainings of relevant actors, advocacy and networking using community-based initiatives. GWWI has since sponsored four UCOBAC members to attend GWWI trainings who have learned how to build technologies addressing all three major water challenges – water access (rainwater harvesting techniques), water quality (various water treatments like the Biosand Filter, Solar Cookit ) and sanitation (Ventilated Improved Pit Latrines).  With these skills and technologies, UCOBAC is on their way to becoming a full service Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) service center.

GWWI knew this would be a perfect opportunity for the Grassroots Teams to be able to partner with an organization like GSP and for Lily to learn nuanced community strategies and witness first hand the challenges grassroots women and communities face. And as it turns out, it was beyond perfect! What an amazing gift for UCOBAC not only to receive soap for their health clinic and other HIV/AIDS orphan programs, but also to have been featured in Derek’s Introduction video for CNN Heroes! Look out for, 2008 graduate and UCOBAC Executive Director, Solome Mukisa at about the 1 minute mark!  Much of the footage is taken in the slum where UCOBAC offers free health services and the site of the UCOBACs first toilet that the community, Lily and others helped build.

Let’s hear it for Water Heros and Sheros bringing hope where it is needed.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

GWWI Women and Water on Wednesdays: Eye on iCON

When the Global Women’s Water Initiative organizes a training in a region, we identify a strong partner who will be our local host. They are GWWIs most important lens into the intricacies of the regional issues that women face. They also offer their expertise into the appropriate design of the program and ensure that we follow all cultural protocols with respect and reverence. In 2011, GWWI invited iCON Women and Young People’s Leadership Academy ( , a Ugandan civil society organization offers transformational leadership trainings to unleash the entrepreneurial leadership potential of women and young people (male and female) who have been socially marginalized to fully take the lead in developing innovative approaches to address poverty, violence, gender inequality and gender inequity in all areas of society.

Debbie Kaddu Serwadda, Executive Director, iCON
GWWI believes that technology implementation is only a piece of the puzzle. Technology solutions will not replicate themselves! Programs work because of people, not because of technology. Developing leadership is a key initiative in GWWIs program design. Debbie Kaddu-Serwadda, iCON Executive Director, spearheaded the leadership sessions at our training, greeting us every morning as “Water Champions”!  Our first course of action was to claim our leadership names!  You can do this too! Take the first letter of your name and find a word that starts with that letter that most exemplifies one of your best leadership qualities! For the rest of the workshop, we called each other by our leadership names to give vibration and voice to each of our sisters to acknowledge that we see them as powerful leaders. We had names like “Daring Dade” and “Inspirational Irene”!  Can you imagine how confident and relevant you feel when other people are seeing and acknowledging you as one of your most powerful qualities?
Ruth records her SWOTs for display
This set the tone for the entire week. Women had arrived feeling a bit intimidated – some feeling a little scared because they had never built anything before, others fearful about speaking in public. Debbie created an incredible safe and powerful space for the women to identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) as leaders, a process that brought a profound sense of vulnerability and motivation. Each woman recorded and displayed their own SWOTS on poster paper and hung them all around our conference space.One of the most powerful moments during the training was the “gallery walk” where the women learned each others SWOTs. The women identified other women who had strengths where they themselves felt weak and connected to them for inspiration and support. By the middle of the week women were laying bricks, singing, collaborating, dreaming and standing up in front of their groups boldly declaring their vision for their community!

Elizabeth declaring that one of her strengths is having big ears to listen

As you’ve seen from the blogs, the women are stepping into their leadership with grace and power! Thanks to Debbie and iCON for unleashing our power!

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