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Calling Women Leaders in India – Inaugural India Ripple Academy Learning Lab Applications Are Open

Project: The Ripple Academy

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Applications for the India Ripple Academy Learning Lab are now open and we’re looking for women environmental leaders who are ready to strengthen and grow their work. If you are a leader in your community in India and working to transform environmental challenges into solutions, WEA invites you to apply to join our Ripple Academy Learning Lab! Environmental solutions could include safe drinking water, sustainable farming, clean cookstoves, seed saving, women’s land ownership and/or stewardship, ecotourism, food security, community disaster preparedness, and climate resilience among others. Applications are due July 31, 2018.

The India Learning Lab will be a 2-month program that includes a 3-day workshop in Rishikesh, September 14-16, and interactive online training. The Lab will support women leaders across India to strengthen their grassroots environmental initiatives and solutions, increasing the impact and sustainability of their vital work. In addition, Learning Lab participants will gain a greater sense of personal resilience and empowerment through connection with other women leaders working on similar initiatives in their region, building a powerful support system that will last long after the Learning Lab is complete. The 2-month journey will include:

  • Trainings on project design and management for impact, entrepreneurship, fundraising and marketing strategies, leadership, and special topics on environmental sectors
  • Discussion forums to share challenges, solutions, questions, and resources
  • Relationship-building with other women leaders, potential mentors, and specialists
  • Activities to celebrate participants’ unique cultural traditions (dances, songs, stories)
  • Exercises to promote self-care and resilience

As environmental issues intensify, women are often those most impacted by its effects, and are also those best positioned to address these impacts. Therefore, we recognize how crucial it is to invest in women and the solutions they know will work best for their communities. Fewer than 7% of global philanthropic dollars goes directly toward investing in women despite it being proven as the #1 most effective environmental and social welfare investment. WEA’s work centers women’s leadership, recognizing that the time is now to ensure that women environmental leaders on the frontlines are supported, resourced, and networked. The India Ripple Academy Learning Lab will equip these women leaders with resources and tools to forge high-impact environmental solutions that scale so they can do their work of protecting our earth and empowering communities.  

The Ripple Academy is a partnership of WEA and United Religions Initiative (URI).

Read more about the India Learning Lab and apply here.

Ripple Academy Project Update

Project: The Ripple Academy

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Exciting things are “rippling” away here at Ripple Academy HQ, and we can’t wait to share them with you!

1) Our design committee comprised of a global team of grassroots and organizational development leaders is building off of best practices from our combined 35 years of training programming. Over the last year, we carried out user surveys and listening sessions to build a light-framed and flexible curriculum framework. We are now piloting the Ripple Academy through a series of “Learning Labs” in India, in 2018 to generate direct input from participants, refine the curriculum, and strengthen the design for greatest impacts. Each Lab includes 3 days of in-person training followed by remote group video calls, mentorship, small group discussions, and exercises through our online platform. The Labs are laying the groundwork for the year-long program, while delivering valuable content to participants and building our trainer and partner community in the process. If you’re a woman leader in India, be sure to apply to join our India Ripple Academy Learning Lab today!

2) We’re designing the Ripple Academy Impact Dashboard, a data visualization tool based on a unique set of metrics that mix global and community-designed, qualitative and quantitative measures of success. Global indicators include Sustainable Development Goals, Project Drawdown metrics (like Gigatons Reduced of CO2), and the W+ Standard (measuring improvements in women’s social capital, like income, economic mobility, # businesses started, # women trained by participants etc.). Community-designed metrics encourage communities to define their own metrics of success, (like # of meals per day) and include qualitative stories of change.

3) We’re building a sustainability program to make the Ripple Academy self-funded in 5 years. When it’s ready to launch, you’ll be the first to know!

To learn more about the Ripple Academy, and for way to support this work, visit the Ripple Academy Project page.

An innovative partnership for peace, justice and environmental healing

Project: The Ripple Academy

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Have you heard about The Ripple Academy?

For the last 6 months, WEA and United Religions Initiative have worked together to develop a framework and launch this innovative new partnership, and we couldn’t be more excited to be working together to support more women around the world than ever before!

This holistic training program merges the very best of our organizational models, integrating leadership, conflict resolution, and peace-building with action-oriented skills and tools for on-the-ground impact. By combining WEA’s capacity-building training model with URI’s vast network of women’s circles around the world, thousands more will be reached and provided with the skills and tools necessary to spark lasting change.

For WEA and URI, this partnership has been like finding a long-lost sibling. As URI Executive Director Rev. Victor Kazanjian explains, our organizations share a “deep-rooted connection to the empowerment of grassroots people.” WEA and URI are both organizations deeply invested in listening rather than telling. We share the core understanding that the wisdom necessary for communities to create change already exists within those communities.

URI Director Rev. Victor Kazanjian (right) with special guests at the launch of “The Ripple Academy” in early March. Photo: Eli Zaturanski Photography

After years of arriving at the same conclusions – that environmental protection and women’s empowerment are essential precursors to developing stable and thriving communities worldwide – our organizations have chosen to link efforts to develop a unified strategy that will create a greater impact than either organization could achieve on its own.

For URI, this comes from years of understanding the nature of patriarchal religions, shares Victor. URI has worked in over 97 countries worldwide, and has seen that women are often the most effective grassroots leaders in their communities, despite the structural and societal limitations they face. This experience has strengthened URI’s commitment to working with and supporting women’s leadership networks. Women are getting the work done!

“What we know is this,” Victor says. “Where women thrive, communities thrive.” WEA obviously could not agree more!

The Ripple Academy is not about outside experts telling communities what is needed. This innovative partnership will provide training to women grassroots change-makers so they have the skills they need to affirm their own visions for their communities.

“We are both light framed organizations,” Victor explains, “we are not organizations looking to build a big center that dictates what should be done. We’re not a development agency. We push resources out into communities to women so they can create change in their own communities.

URI and WEA come together at a critical time – when efforts to build bridges across nations, learn from each other, and activate people power are needed more than ever. Our partnership enables both organizations to reach deeper and wider, catalyzing a global ripple effect that begins in our communities. The time is now.

WEA and URI launch The Ripple Academy! 

Project: The Ripple Academy

Women’s Earth Alliance and United Religions Initiative have joined forces to launch The Ripple Academy, a coordinated training experience to equip leading change-makers with the skills, tools, and alliances they need to build bridges of cooperation and environmental solutions for generations to come.

Designed collaboratively by a global team, The Ripple Academy will bring together the best of URI and WEA’s training models. In its first year, 15-20 grassroots women leaders will complete coordinated trainings, building their skills in leadership, action planning and environmental stewardship. Ripple Academy participants will transform grassroots initiatives into high-impact and scalable projects with long-term ripple effects. Technical and entrepreneurship training, a networking platform, leadership skills, and mentorship will empower participants to organize communities, mobilize resources, and launch environmental projects and campaigns.

This is the ripple effect that WEA and URI have seen again and again in our work — that agency, skills, and empowerment build upon themselves exponentially.

WEA and URI have nurtured networks of committed grassroots leaders in a combined 100 countries over 28 years. Our organizations share a core commitment to following the lead of the grassroots leaders who are on the ground, sparking change in their own communities. As URI Director Rev. Victor Kazanjian said, “We are both light-framed organizations. We are not organizations looking to build a big center that dictates what should be done. We’re not a development agency. We push resources out into communities to women so they can create change in their own communities.”

WHY WOMEN AND THE ENVIRONMENT?

Because when women thrive, the natural world, peace, and justice thrive. As underscored by countless governments, development agencies, and the United Nations alike, women are often both the most impacted by conflict and environmental crises, as well as best positioned to design and spread solutions. This work fosters women’s environmental leadership because without a healthy natural world and access to water, food and clean energy, peace cannot flourish.

WEA and this partnership with URI — this is not small. This is at the very core and very heart of what it is we have to understand, enable, support, protect, honor, and allow to come forth…We can reverse global warming but we can’t unless we empower the majority of the world. And that would be women and girls.”
— Paul Hawken, Author, Entrepreneur, WEA Advisory Board Member

Download our brochure for more information on The Ripple Academy.