Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
– Arundhati Roy
Are you ready to walk through the gateway, leaving behind those things that stand in the way of equity and equality? Are you ready to imagine and fight for another world together?
The challenges we face in 2020 have been daunting. But as a global community, we have an opportunity to choose resilience, support one another through rough terrain, to forge connections and unleash our creativity as we shift course from the path that brought us here.
Are we ready?
Creative Action Institute responded quickly to the pandemic by developing innovative programs to support and connect environmental and gender equality leaders in Latin America and Africa and ensure they have new tools and strategies as they work to reimagine a future where natural resources, biodiversity, and human rights are protected.
To engage environmental leaders in remote locations, we developed flexible but dynamic online courses. Denis, a Cameroonian environmental leader promoting sustainable agricultural approaches, participated in our online advocacy training this year and shared, “[The course] changed the way I have been looking at issues in the community.” He used strategies he learned from the course to help community members shift their long-held belief that fertile soil is only in the forest. Setting up a demonstration farm, he showed how composting can create the rich soil most believed could only be found by cutting down trees.
To engage and support girls in remote East African communities, we developed Sauti ya Dada, which works through 10 mentor fellows to nurture and support 150 girls in Safety Circles – guiding them through our workbooks to educate about sexual and reproductive health; preventing gender-based-violence and early marriage; and the importance of girls’ education. Through our radio program, girls address challenges they face and methods to navigate them safely. And we introduced Aunty Nala – a beloved character who texts the girls with affirmations, sexual and reproductive health information, and reminders to stay on track with their education!
For girls like Ernestine in Rwanda, Aunty Nala’s texts have encouraged her to commit to building her confidence: “I have learned and gained new skills which I have shared with my friends. I wish all my friends could have [this] same opportunity as me.”
The world needs resilient and transformative leaders that can show up in a crisis and facilitate the growth of others. Leaders who can inspire people to step in and imagine new ways forward; who build inclusive and affirming environments where teams can thrive. Leaders who understand the importance of working across differences; who build strong trust-based networks for collaboration.
We need leaders like you who will stand up and champion the world we know we can achieve.
The time to act is now. What is the world you want to create?
PS – Your invaluable generosity helps individuals on the frontlines fight for the world we believe in – a more equal, sustainable planet.