SPEAK! 2019 enabler reflection from Tanzania
By Kinara for Youth Evolution
SPEAK! 2019 focused on bridging divisions in communities. Kinara for Youth Evolution was a SPEAK! Enabler and supported 10 partner organisations in Morogoro, Tanzania to hold SPEAK! events.
Photo 1: SENVIT staff helps participants with the adapted workshop format at SENVIT’s SPEAK! event at Kihonda Secondary School. We combined a participatory design from FabRiders with questions on tolerance from Living Room Conversations.
LOCAL BECOMES GLOBAL
In just one month, we built a strong network with ten other diverse organizations focused on preparing for each of our SPEAK! events. We began by meeting in person for two days of training. The interactive process of event idea brainstorming, presentation, and feedback created a cohesive action-oriented spirit as equal partners. We then created a WhatsApp group which kept the excitement going and became our main channel for sharing information and encouragement leading up to the events. Among the benefits of such a focused network are learning from each other’s approaches to development issues, measuring your organization’s abilities compared to other partners, and identifying common areas for capacity building.
Photo 2: Two days SPEAK! training event with partners at Kinara.
Our network extended to the global SPEAK! campaign via social media and the #TogetherWeSpeak hashtag. It quickly became our team slogan: “Tanzania, Together We Speak!”, and many of our partners used it to promote their events online. The WhatsApp group made it easy to share event photos and #OneNextStep commitments giving us much timely inspiring content to post especially during the 24 hours of action. Seeing CIVICUS re-post many of our partners’ events, from locally empowering grassroots organizations, truly speaks to the power of SPEAK!
Photo 3: CIVICUS re-tweet of our partner SAKOSA’s event, Reproductive Health Awareness to Women with Disabilities, during SPEAK!’s 24 hours of action.
SHOWING – NOT JUST TALKING CHANGES PEOPLE’S MINDSET
Through SPEAK! campaign people had a chance to not only speak together with those who are separated from us for various reasons but also to share new dimensions of their lives. For example, many people in the community felt that people with disabilities did not have the right to do various activities or getting services. The campaign put together people with disabilities and non-disabled people to discuss and eliminate their differences. People with disabilities had the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to perform various activities. For example, a blind person was able to prepare a delicious salad, thus leading many people to change their negative attitudes towards the potential of disabled people. The ability to watch the preparations and taste the result made a lasting impression on the participants and new appreciation for what has been a marginalized group in Tanzania.
Photo 4: Ally Ngozi (blind person) making a very delicious salad during the SPEAK! follow up event at SAKOSA group.
BUILDING TRUST THROUGH FOLLOW-UP
Thirty days after the events, we conducted a follow-up. We learned that through the follow-up, trust was built between the organizations and the participants. In following-up, we learned both of their successes and their continued struggles. During one of the follow-ups, one of the participants said, “Most of the people after coming, they never come back. But we hope you have good intentions for us and that’s why you were able to come back again”. Following up helped us better support the communities by learning what they were able to accomplish, and where they still needed help in finding support. Watch our four-minute video on some of what we found!
SPEAK! CAMPAIGN LEAVES BEHIND STRONGER COMMUNITIES, ORGANISATIONS AND NETWORKS
The 2019 SPEAK! campaign brought excitement to communities because of its potential for reducing conflicts. All partners have appreciated the campaign and they have already shown a desire to continue with it next year. For Kinara for Youth Evolution, we have gained leadership experience and a stronger local and global network that will continue even as SPEAK! 2019 formally ends.