This is the last blog I write for Nobel Women’s Initiative as part of my participation in the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program, but I’m willing to write again if they requested. This is the least I can do in return for the enormous effort involved in mobilizing three women from Honduras, Burma and South Sudan for six weeks of training and fellowship. They gave us the tools, contacts and experience to not only strengthen us as individuals, as activists, and as young people, but also to strengthen the global women’s movement.
It took me only one day to understand that the Sister-to-Sister program is ambitious. Imagine the complexity of designing six weeks of training on advocacy, communications, and fundraising. And, while doing so, taking into account the diverse socio-cultural backgrounds, personalities, political views, and personal expectations that Riya, Htet Htet and I brought to Ottawa. Now do you see?
Nobel Women’s Initiative managed to successfully organize the program for the fourth consecutive year–even with all of the obstacles that planning such a project involves, and in the context of increasingly restricted funding for organizations that defend women’s human rights. Well done, Nobel Women’s Initiative. Congratulations on achieving this every year.
In the course of six weeks I listened, learned, and came up with 3,278 ideas–some of them impossible, others even more impossible. I understood, asked, got lost in translation (and recovered on the way), and answered questions. I succumbed to a migraine once or twice, tried to get into unknown situations, talked, talked and talked; sometimes steady, sometimes stammering. A lot happened in six weeks, and that is just mentioning what happened in the program, because outside of the program had the same amount of new experiences.
Now, I’m back in Honduras, back at the Center for Women’s Rights (CDM). I’m getting ready for a full year that promises even more full agendas, avalanches of information, unpredictable political scenarios, longed for, but few, free days and always making sure to celebrate the small pleasures that come along.
In 2016 you’ll find me moving from my role in the Observatory for Women’s Rights to a new role in Communications at CDM. To this change I owe the sudden new drive to come to the office every day. A drive that, I admit, had decreased after working non-stop on violence against women for over six years. This is another way the Sister-to-Sister program had an immediate impact on me: by giving me the time and tools I needed to think over the possibility of stepping in to Communications, and finally feeling confident to make the decision.
Taking over Communications for CDM could not come at a better time. CDM is turning 25 years old in 2017, and this is a anniversary I will not let pass unnoticed. We need more people to know about the work that this organization does, and encourage them to join us in fighting for a society that recognizes and respects the idea that all women deserve all rights.
Neesa joined us in Ottawa for the 2015 Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program. She completed six weeks of communications and advocacy training alongside two young women activists from Burma and South Sudan. Neesa is now continuing her work to promote women’s rights in Honduras.