Photo: Rucha Chitnis

Partner: URI
Goals: 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. Projects could range from women’s clean cookstove microenterprises in Kenya, community seed banks in Egypt, sanitation efforts in India, to water rights in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine.

Projected Impact: Within 5 years, graduates will transform the lives of tens of thousands of people around the globe. Within 10 years, hundreds of thousands of people will benefit from Ripple Academy leaders’ projects in healthy food, clean water, land protection, peacebuilding, and much more.

Launch date: Q1, 2017

Download our brochure, which contains more information on this innovative new partnership.



Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, they send forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.





The Need:

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.

The Project:

The Ripple Academy is a joint partnership of WEA and URI aimed at unleashing a global cadre of women leaders allied to forge and amplify solutions for peace, justice, and environmental healing in communities around the world. It offers 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.

The Ripple Academy brings together the best of URI’s and WEA’s training models. It is…

  • Designed collaboratively by a global team dedicated to healing societal challenges, centering the leadership of women, and catalyzing environmental protection.
  • Focused on action and solutions designed by trusted grassroots leaders who have track records of success and are poised to create broader impacts.
  • A participatory curriculum of practical skills for creating far-reaching solutions that integrate environmental protection, peacebuilding, and justice.
  • An in-person and online learning platform to strengthen alliances among leaders across borders and share replicable solutions.

The projected plans for The Ripple Academy include:

Year 1

  • Convene a global design team to build curriculum and a learning platform
  • Select pilot cohort of 20 leaders
  • Launch training with an in-person gathering and a year of coordinated skill building, action planning, peer learning, seed funding, and project implementation
  • Provide ongoing mentorship to strengthen projects’ sustained and far-reaching impact

Year 2

  • Scale Ripple Academy, launching a second cohort of 50 leaders
  • Broaden regional scope and coordinate sub-regional groups
  • Refine program based on learning and feedback from year one
  • Integrate alumni into mentorship program

Year 3 and Beyond

  • Mobilize annual cohorts of 75+ leaders
  • Further broaden regional scope and define sub-groups based on regions and topics
  • Design and launch impact evaluation with mechanisms to integrate ongoing learning
  • Collaborate with universities and additional global partners to grow Ripple Academy


Our Partnership:

WEA and URI have nurtured networks of committed grassroots leaders in a combined 100 countries over 28 years. Our organizations 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.


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