Why grandmothers?

Evidence suggests that grandmother-inclusive, intergenerational development programs produce the best outcomes. Grandmothers contribute to:

  • Positive Youth Development

  • Mental Health and Trauma Support

  • Integrated and Holistic Community Development

  • Family Support Services

  • Parental and Infant Support

  • Social Cohesion and Violence Prevention

  • Environmental Activism

  • Cultural Transmission and Restoration

How do we define “grandmother?”

The term “grandmother” includes a wide range of roles and relationships. Some grandmothers are related to us biologically, while others are “chosen” or “adopted.” Some are in their later years of life, while others can be as young as 30 years old in some countries. And they can play a variety of roles, from caregivers to activists to business owners and more. The term “grandmother” is meant to encompass any woman in the role of an elder in her community.

What are the key components for empowering grandmothers to create sustainable change?

  • Community first: The most effective social development programs put community ideas, values and issues before all other challenges. It is the community that must create, own and drive solutions.

  • Culture as a tool: We all operate within invisible cultural norms and values that surround us. Adapting cultural practices is the key to empowering change in a community.

  • Dialogue for all: Intergenerational teamwork in development programs gives everyone in families and communities the chance to connect and meet social challenges together.

What are the foundational principles of culturally-responsive, grandmother-led programming?

  • Communities have the answers to their own challenges

  • Culture is a tool for change

  • Grandmothers are inherently grounded in cultural identity and values and are key to discussions of societal evolution

  • Grandmothers are natural leaders and have a unique and irreplaceable part to play in the future of our world

  • Grandmothers are a valuable and underutilized resource with incredible wisdom and capacity to share

  • Grandmothers hold together families which are a core and universal human community

  • Grandmothers are a resource to solving social issues worldwide

  • Recognizing grandmothers’ value and engaging their leadership is crucial to community resilience and development

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