I believe grassroots movement building is where you bring people together who are fighting for the same casue so that they are able to front the issues that are affecting their communities. As much as we want to help communities the problems and solutions lie within these communities. We cannot get for them solutions which are not tailored for them.
I have always believed that we can only help our grass root communities identify their problems and let them discuss amongst themselves so that they come up with sustainable solutions that work within their communities. This is very important because it brings the community members together and fosters long lasting relationships amongst the community members because they have so much in common.
When we look at the different movements like the Martin Luther King movement that was fighting for the injustices of the black community in the United States, we learn alot of it. We can see that a movement does not take place over night but over a period of time for it to be successful. If we look at an example closer to home, there was the women’s movement in Liberia that fought for Peace and eventually won. This movement was started by the women of Liberia who were tired of being raped, killed and their husbands being killed. They were fed up of regime that was not protecting their rights and the rights of their families. These women started by bringing on women who had suffered from the same injustices, then the movement went to churches, mosques and other religious sects. They started lobbying politicians and holding rallies at government functions. They even started travelling to neighboring countries to lobby politicians who were meeting to hold peace negotiations with the Liberian Government. These women wore white as a symbol for peace and never gave up hope.
This movement is very inspiring because it teaches us a lot about perseverance, patience , commitment and patriotism.
As a human rights activist, I am working with women in Buikwe district whom I am trying to train and nurture into farming as away of economic empowerment and sustainability. These women farm but on a small scale and I want them to be able to provide for their families because most of the me have more than one family and the women are left to fend for themselves and their children. The men in these communities wake up in the morning to drink and expect to find food at home, if there is no food the men become violent against the women.
I am struggling with this initiative because most of these women are resigned to their fate and for a movement to be successful the women have to appreciate that the situation they are in is not normal and they should be willing to change the situation. We cannot do the change for them but we can support in the change. The biggest resource that we would need is funding and a lot of volunteering support. This is not something that can happen over night and we appreciate that we have to work with these women on a daily basis together with their leaders and have trainings where we educate them on the different ways of sustainable farming and how they can farm together as a group and benefit more.
This community is very remote and many of these women have never reached the city of left their villages. Most of them are wives of fisher men and there is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in this community because the men move a lot and are on many islands where they sleep with prostitutes. We want these women to understand that they ca protect themselves and work towards the betterment of their future and children’s future.
I have been able to met very many women on Word pulse and I am learning how they are handling women issues in their countries. I know I will get a lot of support from the friends I have made on this platform and I will learn a lot. Through my online interaction I have gotten online volunteers who have advised online on various strategies from the United Nations Volunteers Online website.
We are working towards creating a grassroots movement for these women so that they are able to lobby government for support and funding because there are many programs for communities at the district and national level.
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