The title of this post is pretty much everything the intense five (for me 4) days spent in beautiful Marseille working with 12 talented and passionate women from all over the world stands for. Each of these women chimed into the conversation by bringing their diverse and rich experience, perspective, and advice. And that is what made the GvEx Marseille meet up so good!
As I am getting more time to digest and process the meeting, I can tell one thing for sure, that following intense (and at times challenging) discussions served as a reminder that all of our countries we represent, or work in are different and pose their own challenges which do overlap across borders every once in a while. But it is not cultural or language differences of course. It is the difference of political environments, the situation with freedom of expression and human rights and last but not least, difference in issues, which require attention, action and much work.
We talked about a number of things from strategy design to evaluation and values to experience sharing to finally producing a content that is both unique, helpful, and as it was mentioned more than just once- a resource which won’t reinvent the wheel but actually become a car perhaps.
On a more personal level, my frustration had to do with existing resources out there, which I often turned to when I had to prepare for training or train myself. And I hoped I would find some solutions. Not only did I find answers to these frustrations but also I found that others too shared my frustration.
So, when we looked at existing resources the conclusion we came to was that among so many available tools, manuals, guides, how to’s and material out there (on advocacy, campaign design, online journalism, journalism, writing skills and so on), there is not one single source that can be used as a reference and applicable in the Global South and used by the women of Global South. And perhaps it is a good thing and shows that there is room for improvement and also need to create something that is better. This is not to say that other existing sources are not good, it is just they often do not apply or take into account the very country/circumstance based differences I mentioned earlier.
This also means we have a gargantuan task ahead of us and quite an idealistic one too but nevertheless it gives me all this enthusiasm because I strongly feel that given the diverse experience we all are bringing to the table we can put together something that each user of our final resource will associate or at least find resemblance while using it.
There were of course many other things that made this meeting so good. I would put Abir on the spot here, for making Marseille experience so good. Because if it wasn’t for Abir, I am not sure we could eat so much amazing food, and get a bit of a historical tour of this beautiful city and leave a taste that is certainly making me want to return and explore this beautiful place more.
It was so good because we had Willow as our facilitator to guide us at times of confusion (of which I had a few) and to tell us it was “awesome” when we did not get lost (I will omit the most popular word of the workshop here consciously).
But above all it was so good because it was challenging, tiring, exhausting, and yet invigorating and passionate.
I am looking forward to sharing with you our final product and most importantly I hope this is the beginning of producing something unique that can be easily understood, shared, used and continue to improve.
Doesn’t it make you feel so good?!