An ardent Believer of Grassroots Women Power and Capacities
Esther fights for women human rights and poverty alleviation with enviable vigor and passion. She is a Social Planner, with University training in Sociology and Economics. Esther founded GROOTS Kenya after attending the 1995 UN Women Conference held in Beijing China. Her conviction is that sustainable progress only happens if people living in poverty and in the margins of development take centre stage to finding and sustaining solutions.
Esther served as the Founding Leader at GROOTS Kenya for 23 years (1995-2017) and successfully helped to establish one of the well known and respected grassroots’ women led and focused organizations in Kenya.
An expert in Gender, Governance, Public Policies and Development, Esther serves in boards and committees of various organizations and platforms, which she uses to advance women’s empowerment and human rights.
Esther is currently an independent consultant as well as serving in GROOTS Kenya as a Strategic Advisor. As a consultant, she is heading the Global Women Land Rights Portfolio at the International Land Coalition. She is also leading the establishment of the Leadership Centre for Transformative Development (Uongozi Center Africa), an institute aimed at scaling up bottom up approaches that empower local communities and development practitioners to end gender inequality and sustainably transform lives across the continent and beyond..
Jennifer Butler is the founding Executive Director of Faith in Public Life and the former chair of the White House Council on Faith and Neighborhood Partnerships. Before leading FPL Jennifer spent ten years working in the field of international human rights representing the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the United Nations and is an ordained minister. While mobilizing religious communities to address the AIDS pandemic and advocate for women’s rights she grew passionate about the need to counter religious extremism with a strong religious argument for human rights. Out of that experience she wrote Born Again: The Christian Right Globalized, which was published by University of Michigan Press. Her book calls for a progressive religious response to Religious Right efforts to take the culture wars global.
Jennifer served in the Peace Corps from 1989 to 1991 in a Mayan village in Belize, Central America where she discovered she was at heart a community organizer.
Jennifer and her husband Glenn together run Iona Conversations, a Christian spiritual community in downtown Washington DC. When not dreaming up ways to amplify a social justice faith voice, Jennifer loves camping, hiking and biking with her husband and son.
Indigenous Grandmother Arapata is of Maori (Ngati Porou/Ngati Kahangungu) and Samoan descent. The biological mother of six children, mother in heart to 7 additional children and the grandmother of 19 grandchildren. Grandmother Arapata holds these treasures as her greatest gifts and hope for humanity.
Holding many titles and positions within various for-profit and non-profit organizations over the years, her work currently focuses on releasing “generational blockages/pain” suffered within women’s womb.
Grandmother Arapata strives to walk calmly among the chaos of today’s uncertainty utilizing tools from both her rich Maori and Samoan heritages. Founding Sacred Womb – Sacred Women Movement to assist in sharing and teaching these tools internationally has opened a myriad of opportunities whereby healing circles, women’s circles and international gatherings have been initiated.
Her involvement in current and historic colonialized acts offers continued opportunities to create bridges of healing within indigenous cultures. As well as bridges of healthy communication in gathering the best of each worlds in creating a more positive future.
Currently residing in Aotearoa (New Zealand) Grandmother Arapata is re-establishing Te Puni Aroha Hauora (Health & Healing Clinic) based on traditional Maori healing arts. While concurrently serving as the General Administrator for Pouakani Marae, Mangakino.