Research and Learning

In our research and learning work, we explore the “role of grandmothers” in helping to manage a variety of global challenges, redefining how to measure the impact of older women and developing tools and resources that can help greater numbers of grandmothers to develop pathways to changemaking.


Catalyzing the Grandmother Effect 2024 GMC White Paper.pdf

Dive into our paper, "How can we catalyze the grandmother effect for resilient and thriving communities?" as we explore the profound impact of grandmothers across evolutionary biology, family dynamics, culture, community well-being, and environmental stewardship. Discover how our theory of change empowers grandmothers to play vital roles as custodians of culture and catalysts for interconnectedness. Uncover key questions: How can grandmothers contribute to community initiatives? What unique insights and intergenerational wisdom do they offer? Learn about the evidence of their impact on nurturing the next generation, fostering community connections, and caring for the Earth. 

Join us in recognizing older women as drivers of social change, addressing issues like health, education, family dynamics, community pride, social cohesion, and sustainability. Our paper invites you to explore the grandmother effect and its potential to create a resilient and thriving world.

Read our paper on Catalyzing the Grandmother Effect

We know two things to be true – communities only exist when people participate and the more purpose and connection someone feels, the deeper their sense of wellbeing. 

With Ashoka we have developed Thrive Together: a Changemaking Guide to Intergenerational collaboration to equip grandmothers - and other older changemakers - with practical ideas for engaging with changemaking or starting a program or initiative in their area. 

How can societies transition from being age-segregated to becoming places where diverse age groups are deeply connected and collaborate? This is the foundation of our guide, offering a roadmap inspired by the wisdom of visionary leaders who are helping transform how we interact across generations.

Through insightful anecdotes, research-driven principles, and practical tools, this guide invites individuals, groups, and organizations to reimagine community dynamics, educational systems, workplaces, and public spaces.

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Grandmothers and Social Change - GMC White Paper.pdf

In a world of complexity and rapid change, the love of a grandmother is a powerful tool. More organizations around the world are seeing the changemaking potential of older women. These organizations recognize that the 800 million grandmothers around the world exhibit natural leadership capabilities drawn from their ample life experience and strong social influence. In Senegal, grandmothers are combating early marriage and female genital cutting. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they protest against nuclear proliferation and war. In some of the most off-grid locations in the world, they are becoming solar technicians and energizing their communities.

Intergenerational programming is replacing outdated models in Europe and North America that have served people in different generations separately. An abundant and overlooked resource in social change, grandmothers have the potential to address a diversity of social challenges. Learn more in this white paper on grandmothers and social change.

Read our paper on Grandmothers and Social Change