Category Archives: INFORMATION


Stephen Lewis Foundation News
The biggest news from the Foundation is the recent announcement of the new executive director Meg French who assumed her position early this month. Reading her credentials and experience, Meg seems to be an ideal choice and the staff and board both stated they are excited to begin working with her.

Her full bio can be found on the SLF website here but I will share some brief excerpts. For the last two years she has been based in Geneva as the global lead for UNICEF’s Every Child ALIVE campaign. For 15 years before that, Meg played a variety of leadership roles with UNICEF Canada, focussed on international development issues. Welcome Meg.

The Foundation is proud to present their latest documentary titled “Youth Championing Youth”. This 20-minute film gives voice to young leaders in Africa who all have important stories to share. The Foundation encourages groups to arrange showings at meetings or special events. If any Ujamaa member has ideas on the best way to use this resource, please let me know.

To all you Facebook users, the staff want you to know that they have been working to increase the Grandmothers’ Campaign presence there by posting more frequently and consistently. Each week, they post an event listing the details of all upcoming events that groups across the Campaign are holding. Facebook has proved to be an excellent tool to share the good work with a wider audience and we are encouraged to contribute our own postings. The link to our facebook page is here. 

Lastly, please make a note in your diary that the regional gathering for all the Alberta groups will be hosted in Medicine Hat on the 8th and 9th of May. More information about this will follow.

Thank you for your interest in these happenings at the national level.

Alison Longson
(co-regional liaison for Southern Alberta)


Ujamaa Grandmas Calgary had another very successful year, thanks to the hard work put in by our members, volunteers, committees and the Board! We’ll get to how successful in a bit, but first let’s talk about some improvements we’ve made to finance-related items.

  1. The Annual budget was completed prior to the end of 2019, despite a tight timeline for our committees. Kudos to them for fitting this into their schedules; we now have a solid place to start in reviewing our operational expenses.
  2. The Sales Finance Committee was re-structured and welcomed new members. They accomplished their mandate by improving controls around payment collection at our major sales, working with the other committees to ensure no loss of funds this year!
  3. A robust review of our insurance coverage was completed. That review identified a need tO increase coverage to match our annual revenue, and also confirmed that we continue to carry liability insurance that covers all of us (members, volunteers and the general public) at all of our events and gatherings.
  4. We have streamlined the expense reimbursement process through e-Transfer payments, making it more efficient while still ensuring UG funds are safe. Approximately 95% of expense payments are now via e-Transfer.

Annual Gross Revenue from fundraising activities $116,820:

    1. Fabric & Yarn Sale……….$48,870
    2. Handcrafts………………….$46,880
    3. DeSonus……………………….$5,700
    4. SAIT Convocations…………$3,665
    5. Bagettes………………………..$3,230
    6. Bake Sale………………………$1,680
    7. BluesFest…………………………$490
    8. Ten Thousand Villages…….$415
    9. All others…………………………$870
    10. Donations (all sources)….$5,020

Annual Gross Expenses………………..$15,330
2019 Donations to SLF………………….105,000



Many of you may have read about the appointment of Meg French as the new Executive
Director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF), in the Special issue of the Stephen Lewis
Foundation Granny Bulletin just received. Meg has an impressive background on the
international scene. Ujamaa Grandmas congratulates and welcomes Meg. To read more, click on

How do you usually describe the work of the SLF? I’ve come to realize that I have not been
giving the full explanation, but rather usually talk about how African grandmothers are supported by the SLF to look after their orphaned grandchildren. On reading the SLF Year in Review “Powered by Leadership”, I have learned so much more! In the Financial Overview 2003 -2018, it’s reported that SLF has spent $118.5 million for programmes (direct support to over 1,800 initiatives) with 325 Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in 15 African countries. I’ve known for some time that only 10% of total revenue was spent on Administration, only 8% of total revenue was spent on Fundraising, and a huge 82% spent of Programmes. As a measure of an organization, this is truly commendable!

There’s no complacency in the SLF. They continue partnering with Community Based
Organizations who work with “millions of children and youth” to help them understand and
contend with HIV and AIDS. A staggering statistic highlighted that “every week, approximately 6,200 young women, aged 15 – 24, contract HIV”. I can’t help but think of all the young women we know collectively, and are thankful they do not face much of this. I read of gender-based violence against women and girls that continues to be rampant in sub-Saharan Africa. The SLF partners with organizations that treat survivors of this violence in three ways: medically; through psychosocial services; and by providing legal advice. You may be aware that LGBTQ communities in many areas of sub-Saharan Africa are persecuted and targeted with laws that criminalize consensual same sex relations among men and women. The SLF partners with 16 LGBTQ organizations in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which “offer access to HIV testing and counselling, as well as solidarity, legal services, healthcare, support and hope”.

Ujamaa Grandmas also continues its part in supporting the SLF. “Fashion with Purpose” on
April 4th will be a stunning event highlighting thousands of hours of designing and sewing
garments that are beautiful and impressive. Tickets are now available at Eventbrite – invite your family, friends, and work colleagues to enjoy this event. You or they may want to take a one-of-a-kind garment home! Also, planning for the annual Fabric and Yarn Sale on April 24th and 25th is in full swing and is sure to once again be a success. Watch for the registration to volunteer – we need hundreds of members to help. It’s very evident that Ujamaa Grandmas is not at all complacent! Thank you all.



As I write this on December 26th, the tinsel and the cookie crumbs are starting to settle as the newly opened gifts are waiting to be read, eaten, or placed in a special place to be admired. All of those gifts we so lovingly gave or received are much more than the item themselves. Hidden within the gift wrap and bows was something we could not see – only feel. It was the gift of love. And that is a lot like volunteering.

Volunteering comes in so many different forms, even just within our Ujamaa Grandmas. Some of our volunteers lend their muscle or their artful eye, or maybe their spare room for storage or their administrative skills. Others give freely of their creative abilities or their leadership skills or their business savvy, and others simply their enthusiasm! But the connecting thread that runs through each and every act of volunteerism is the gift that is given – the gift of love.

And we can turn that around as well! The gift of volunteering that Ujamaa Grandmas allows us is one of the best gifts we could receive, along with the friendships that are made in the process. We are all extraordinarily fortunate to have found Ujamaa Grandmas, the Stephen Lewis Foundation and each other!

Wishing you all a wonderful year, one filled with continued exciting and personally fulfilling opportunities to give and receive through volunteering. Many thanks for all that you do to keep Ujamaa Grandmas thriving and able to continue the support of our African sisters through the work of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

Yvonne Way
Board Member/Connections Team


Our Board of Directors extends an invitation to members to attend our Board meetings. We are grateful to the Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW  for the spacious room which they have provided.  Public parking is free within a block; note the times of parking on the street.  Please let us know if you’d like to attend, through We look forward to hearing from you.

WHAT: Ujamaa Grandmas Board Meeting
Thursday, January 30, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Saturday, February 29, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, April 2, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
Thursday, April 30, 2020 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM
WHERE: Marda Loop ATB at 2140 34th Avenue SW