When I was requested to reflect on what we have learned from the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program in regards to international advocacy, three pictures came to my mind: a post by Maria Luisa on Twitter sharing news about Gaza, a photo shared by Aghssan quoting a Sudanese writer describing the horror of the conflict in Darfur and South Kordofan, and a debate between me and some friends about the boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. I believe none of us would have had these posts and discussions without knowing each other.
Yes! Through this program I can say that I became very connected to the women’s issues in Mexico, Palestine and even Canada; I became more interested in following the news of those countries, which I was not before. Just by looking at this narrow picture, I think what we benefited from the program has greatly expanded.
As an activist, I believe that the solidarity between the people all over the globe is an essential part of our battle to achieve democracy, equity and justice in order to create pressure on our governments.This applies all over the globe no matter what the status of the governments, whether it’s democratically elected or as our Sudan’s: a dictatorship through military coup.
At the same time I was (and to some extent still) skeptical from this seeking of solidarity from the international community, as someone coming from Africa, a continent suffered from international abuse. My country has not survived well this abuse, including colonialism, fueling internal conflicts and non-genuine interference in the internal issues.
From the trainings and practical application, through our participation in the lobbying meetings with many governments during the United Nations’ General Assembly in September, I learned a lot!
I have learned from this experience the huge difference between the position of many human rights activists and groups and their governments positions, how those activists are pressing their governments and how the big positive decisions by many countries are fueled by a lot of work on the ground made by many human rights groups, and how people are the power of change everywhere.
I became more and more convinced that the change we work for is coming from the ground; the closer work with our people is paving the way for the change we seek, at the same time we should remember that as much as we connect with the other nations as much as get the solidarity we truly need.
Spreading the world by the news and issues in my country should remind the world that they should have responsibility to make the earth a better place.
The first participants of the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program have returned to home after a six-week training in Ottawa and are now working with the Nobel Women’s Initiative to implement short-term projects to support women’s rights in Mexico, Sudan, and Palestine.