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Back from Africa

Dear fellow World Pulse Africa delegates –

I have been collecting my molecules over the last week, and finally I feel that I have at last arrived! Yet, the colors, the smells, the taste of dust & chocolate on the bus, the sweaty dances, and the jubilation are all still clinging to me. I don’t know about you, but I feel that I was away for a very long time. Although it was a world so unlike my current one, it is like returning home from a space warp, little has changed here, as if I was only gone for 5 minutes. But it is hard to go back to the same routines. My imagination is a stocked pantry and I am feeling at creative heights with late night brainstorms for the future of World Pulse and linking this network of emergent vocalized leaders into a powerful force.

How are you? I have been eager to write you all! I am looking forward to our reunion in Portland, tentatively scheduled for our Voices of Our Future tour October 5-7 on the Portland leg.

Here are a few updates:
-Survey: Please do fill out the posted survey if you haven’t already. We are already in the planning stages for making future trips even more impactful.
-Photos: We are expecting photos in the coming weeks from Andrea as she sorts them. Stay tuned! Here are a few to wet your appetite: http://www.flickr.com/photos/worldpulse/sets/72157625985327029/
-Heart of Africa PulseWire Group: Please use PulseWire to post news, updates, or information for the group so we keep it in one central location! http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/groups/29750

OUTCOMES
Here are a few outcomes from the trip that I have captured. If you have others – even if they are percolating - please post them on PulseWire and let us all know!

Extra donation pot outcome: Our delegation decided to divide our remaining $400 for donations between Kenya and Rwanda to support training and outreach to build the World Pulse community in both nations. Including:
• Support for Leah Okeyo to help establish her World Pulse office and cyber café to train and connect women leaders in Kenya in advance of the 2012 elections.
• Support for a woman in Rwanda to conduct a World Pulse training session to connect women leaders in Rwanda. AC and I met and trained Shamsie, head of the large SWAA association who has volunteered to be that woman. She is our first PulseWire member in Rwanda and attended the Speak Out.

Here is an inspiring word from Leah Okeyo, who has written since our return:

Titled: “NEWSREEL FROM KENYA”

Hi love-

My new office is streaming with phone calls; To say how exciting it was.
To say they want more.
To say they want us to work together.
To say it was exciting.

My inbox is streaming with emails-
Asking for more.
Wanting more-

Love,i have been thinking of how to make it better. Yes i need to move -organize big outreach days in the major cities and beyond! We talked with LIndy and also Consolata. I can see the passion that your trip created. We are all fire and burning-

For now,I was only checking in - but now I find myself speaking - for no one does it for me. I do it for myself! With all confidence. If it kills somebody i will go for the burial (I am sure it will not kill but give birth). Well if it kills impunity, discrimination against women, the better...I will surely bury...

Darling bye for now.

Love,
Leah

Other outcomes:
•Speak Out Kenya resulted in the formation of a steering committee with CREAW to develop a 2012 women’s platform, Kenya style Emily’s list, and support network for women running for office. World Pulse will be reporting on the build up to the elections and Leah will be helping to run the Kenya Speak Out 2012 online support group in advance of the elections to help build the women’s platform, engage grassroots women’s voices and connect women who want to run for office or support them.
•No less than 4 women announced their plans to run for office in 2012 during our speak out!
•Parlimentarians in Kenya and Rwanda requested trainings from World Pulse!
•Wanjira Maathai and World Pulse are planning discussions for collaborations with the green belt movement.
•The Rwanda Women’s University Association is thrilled to help and is offering up their 40 person computer lab as a training site.
•AC got a commitment from Cisco to receive 50 brand new computers, and WP will be working with her has only to prepare a proposal to receive 25 of the 50.
• Our delegation has been challenged by AC to start a writing support group since everyone is working on books.
• Seana Steffen is including some World Pulse women in her book on Sustainable leadership, and she and Marisa did a training session for women in Rwanda – woowoo!
• Seana is also hosting a gathering to share her learnings from the journey. You go Seana!!
• Renee Mitchell has pledged to work with budding World Pulse poets, including Leah, to create a World Pulse poetry volume. Renee is also looking into funding for a performance piece in partnership with women survivors in Rwanda.

If you have anything else, please post it on PulseWire group. There we will also post any other news and information of outcomes from the donations from all of our group visits!!

Also, look out Portland peeps as I will soon be approaching you to feel your interest to do a World Pulse salon and slideshow to share with our communities our learnings from the trip!

FURTHER ENGAGEMENT
If you are inspired to continue to galvanize your friends and family to partner with the individuals and groups we visited here are a few needs I have captured:

LINDY WAFULA: http://www.worldpulse.com/user/1511
Her proposal attached. This dynamic social entrepreneur is maximizing every dollar and has big impact educating and training over 1,000 women. She can also use business mentorship. (Tax-deductible funds can be directed through World Pulse for Lindy)

LEAH OKEYO: http://www.worldpulse.com/user/105
Proposal available upon request for $5,000 to help this unstoppable leader establish and furnish and equip her training center, start her internet café business model to bring voice and connection to women across Kenya and Africa. She would love NGO leadership and social enterprise mentorship.
(Tax-deductible funds can be directed through World Pulse for Leah).

KARAMBU/IPI: http://www.worldpulse.com/user/1012
Lots of needs and opportunities to support her initiatives listed on her journal.

AVEGA/Widows network of Rwandan Genocide http://www.avega.org.rw/English.html
They are looking for technical support to help develop their website, connections with partners knowledgeable in innovative housing and home health care for elders, and English training.

SOLIDARITE:
They are looking for English training, a computer, and business development training for their earned income projects.

If you collected other needs or ideas, feel free to post them on PulseWire!

LASTLY:
I have posted below a small blurb draft I wrote up about our trip – feel free to use it and edit it as you like to describe the trip if you feel at a loss for words.

BACK FROM AFRICA

In February a World Pulse delegation of women leaders voyaged across the dusty Kenya plains to the lush hills of Rwanda and met face to face with hundreds of PulseWire community members, danced and connected with grassroots women in dirt-floor churches and fields, and hosted Speak Out Forums with leading figures in parliament, human rights, law and media. We came away irrevocably convinced of the readiness of women leaders to push their voices to higher levels and to use communications technology and new media to accelerate women’s empowerment in their communities.

We had intimate conversations with women entrepreneurs from Africa’s fastest growing microfinance program in Kibera slums, lunched with Wanjira Mathai (Nobel Peace Winner Wangari Mathaai’s daughter) of the Green Belt Movement, dialogued under Aciacia trees with Masaai women, consulted with the 300,000 strong network of Rwanda’s women genocide survivors, and toured model HIV antiretroviral distribution, income generating, and legal justice programs.

In Kenya women told us that the rapidly approaching 2012 elections are top of mind and that the last thing they want is a repeat of the bloody 2007/2008 post-election violence. With only 10% of women in parliament “we are an embarrassment” they shouted, calling for organizing of a women’s platform, funding for candidates similar to a Kenyan Emily’s list, support networks for women opting to run, bodyguard protection for candidates, and savvy media campaigns.

In Rwanda, the situation was very different. Already at 56% female representation in Parliament, and with one of the world’s most progressive constitutions, not to mention model education, health care, and AIDS treatment roll-outs – women felt that strong progress had been made at the highest levels. Gains - that they were quick to point out - surpass the even the United States. Yet, they reported that these gains were not reaching into the rural areas which comprise 83% of the country’s population, and women are not yet claiming their rights en mass. For Rwanda the mantra was training and education. They want more ITC training, business training, empowerment training, and English training.

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