Grassroots Women in Community Development & Climate Justice

The leadership of grassroots women in community development has often been taken for granted or ignored. This is especially true in the United States where patriarchy, individualism, and modernism are the norm. In contrast, international development literature and practices in the so-called “global south” have emphasized the important role of grassroots women in sustainable development and community resilience. Transnational dialogue and collaboration among leaders of frontline communities can close the gap on this dualistic paradigm. 

The “Grassroots Women’s Contributions to Community Development and Climate Justice'' project is designed to establish a new teaching tool for community development education through a collaborative process with Pratt faculty and students, local community partner Good Old Lower East Side, and international community facilitator Huairou Commission. By uniting women organizers across borders and creating a shared space for dialogue, participants will reflect on their common local challenges and new global opportunities for collaboration. They will also have the opportunity to claim their contributions to the field at a time where global disruption (from climate change to natural disasters and pandemics) threatens the fabric of their communities and the socio-environmental and political nature of their work.

This initiative builds on existing case study research for the Community Development Education Collaborative by including six additional women’s groups from the US and abroad to the existing study of ten New York City based organizations. The resulting online publication and archive will produce fresh bottom-up insights to inform and inspire participants, their peers, and future practitioners.

Transnational dialogue and collaboration among leaders of frontline communities is especially critical during times of global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, when normal interaction with constituents and allies may be severely restricted. These six national and international case studies will establish dialogue between grassroots organizations in NYC and national and international groups with similar values.