Grassroots Leadership: Carrying communities forward from the bottom up

Women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples around the world are nurturing new ways of being for us all, rooted in equity, justice, and accountability. Their vision, imagination, and resolve is even more important in our challenging global political landscape.

Thousand Currents collaborates with partners in Africa, Asia, and Latin America build an ecosystem of community-led solutions that center feminist, youth, and Indigenous leadership – partners such as:

The Surplus People Project (SPP) support land and agrarian struggles of people who are poor in the Western and Northern Cape provinces [of South Africa].

Unemployment prompted three young women to apply for a piece of land for agroecological production, in Wupperthal, a Moravian Mission village 200km from Cape Town.

Most of the youth in the area leave for work opportunities, but we would rather struggle to make a living in the community,” says Micaela Perrang, one of the young women who started the group.

“[We] draw on the rich indigenous knowledge of the community, whose main source of income is farming.

A farmer in their community gave them permission to use two hectares of his unused land. He unfortunately died a few weeks later, and the young people now honor him by producing vegetables and herbs, and keeping poultry. They sold their first harvest in the local community and are motivating other youth to start similar initiatives, with the support of SPP.

Thousand Currents partners around the world are implementing transformative grassroots leadership models based on:

  • Self-defined solutions and self-defined goals by community members for improving their own well-being;
  • Making space for community members to take on new roles and responsibilities in participatory decision-making processes;
  • Advocating for leadership approaches in which new leaders emerge;
  • Building greater capacity to manage natural resources sustainably and with accountability; and
  • Collaborating with other actors also fostering a local and global ecosystem of change-makers working on food sovereignty, alternative economies, and climate justice.

Thousand Currents, as a learning organization doing philanthropy differently, has the privilege of partnering with grassroots organizations and movements in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Thousand Currents is proud to amplify the community-centered solutions that our partners are championing to contribute towards social transformation on a local and global scale.

These grassroots solutions are free from agendas imposed by governments, corporations, or funding agencies. Thousand Currents is committed to supporting partners in carrying out their own innovative and high-impact initiatives that truly meet the needs of their communities.

Taking the lead from visionary and innovative frameworks through which our partners organize, Thousand Currents works to be in solidarity with grassroots leadership through grantmaking that is multi-year, unrestricted, and flexible and by working to shift philanthropic trends so that the sector can more effectively partner with grassroots organizations and movements in the Global South to address our shared global challenges.

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