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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.