At the beginning of the year I gave myself a new challenge – to read at least 20 books through the year. I know Sam Potollichio advised us to read three books a week, or did he say three a day… well, maybe in the next challenge after I get the hang of always reading. With no particular types or genre of books in mind, I resolved to read, any book, as long as at any given opportunity I’d be glued to a text of some sort.
Twelve months ago when I was getting ready to move to DC I started doing some research about think tanks and other organizations based in the city. I was very interested in Foreign Policy discussions and also to get more involved in the progressive agenda of the city – which I was sure wasn’t going to be very active since it was the capital of “yankeeland”, home of hard core capitalists and supporters or war. What a mistake! DC still surprises me for hosting amazing progressive events, movements, marches and discussions, with amazing organizers, activists and grassroots organizations. I will share what I wished I knew when I first arrived here: where to go to find people and events committed to social justice, peace, democracy and REAL social change.
In Africa, a good proportion of women contribute largely to the welfare of the household through both remunerated and unremunerated work, household and community engagements. Some of the rural women in Uganda and probably in other developing countries contribute the greatest labor force in agricultural production while the husband determines how much is to be left for home consumption as he takes the biggest portion of produce to the market and decides how the money is to be spent. We need to change the mindsets of our communities through empowerment of women while improving their access to basic literacy and business education as well as economic resources.
New technology benefits LGBT community, but also brings challenges and difficulties to it, especially to LGBT activism.
The panel, The Risks to LGBT Activism in a Digitally Connected World, held by The ISC Project and Freedom House, is trying to provide some background and insights on this topic.
In the later part of the panel, interestingly, attendees and panelists talked a lot about the morality of gay dating app developers and companies.
The main reason behind this might be what happened in Egypt last September. Egyptian police used Grindr, a popular networking app for gay men to hook up and seek casual sexual encounters, to target and arrest gay men in Cairo,
The days of the single social entrepreneur are over. The lone wolf standing on the edge of the cliff, surveying the world below, strategizing in their lonesome mind how to solve its myriad problems- is dead.
More and more, we find collaborative teams, cofounders with complimentary skill sets starting social enterprises. The Trust Fund kid and the Gandhian activist on a hunger strike stereotype is being replaced by a gang of college friends who went on a mission trip together, colleagues who quit their corporate desk jobs together to solve a social problem they are obsessed to find a solution to.
One of the richest experiences I have had in DC was to join the New Economy Movement. I’ve been part and a huge supporter of the Solidarity Economy Movement in Brazil and even worked for a few years implementing a community banks in some neighborhoods of São Paulo as an alternative for local economic development.
Solidarity Economy and New Economy Movements are part of a bigger global movement that seeks to empower citizens and communities and increase quality of life, names may be different but the essence is the same: transformation. We live in a world with more money, resources and technology than ever but we still have the majority of the global population struggling to survive the day, so definitely something is wrong with our systems.
“That is one of the reasons why I like to hang out with you: through you I get to live many firsts again.”
Alex told me this as we were lying on our backs after doing my first snow angel. I was listening to him as I had my eyes fixed on the grey sky, mesmerized by the snowflakes falling gently on my face. I could hear a soundtrack running in the back on my head. That is one of the moments where I can earnestly say I experienced an overwhelming sense of awe. The world was new again, if only for a couple of minutes.
It has been 7 months! Almost on the way of finishing the Fellowship program. Recently, few things are juggling in my mind. What I am doing, where I am and what I will do? Sometimes I reach out to the end of this thinking, sometimes not. Sometimes I give pause to my thinking, have a glass of wine and again start thinking. Yesterday night, my thoughts found their destiny. And realizing, why I am so passionate about my professional life? why not I look in to my personal life and try to think, what I am learning from this Fellowship program.
One year is a long time to transform how we think, act and react. It surely is a good learning experience of how mindful should one be and at what levels this technique should be applied. I attended various talks givenby international leaders, engaged in discussion with many others and started mapping how mindful each one of them were while they were talking to me in person, people in larger groups or giving a piece of their mind to a much larger audience beyond you could see. It was all about ‘mindfulness’. Many of us leaders come from various walks of life and we bring in new ideas, renew the old ones and tread on a path that is truly transformational.
In November 2013, a team of health officials were in South Sudan to perform reparative surgery on scores of women with obstetric fistula, a condition that causes incontinence and is linked to obstructed labor, a leading cause of maternal mortality.
This is one of many similar campaigns conducted in the country every so often.
Health officials estimate more than 60,000 South Sudanese women suffer from obstetric fistula—which leaves a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum, leaving a woman incapable of controlling her bodily functions.