ARUSHA, TANZANIA – A group of African human rights activists from across the continent today begin a groundbreaking new programme intended to re-energize them and their struggles.
The Activist-In-Residence (AiR) programme, currently in its pilot phase, is a month-long opportunity for the activists to catch their breath, step back and take stock of their work in order to emerge re-energized to tackle the challenges in their day-to-day efforts in new ways.
The AiR programme will also provide an opportunity for activists to engage their peers from other countries across the African continent to deepen their understanding of their local struggles through other activists’ lenses. Interaction taking place during the programme will aim to enhance the skills of activists, to more effectively participate in ongoing structural and systemic change efforts.
The first cohort, who will be spending a month together at the Training Centre for Development Cooperation (TCDC) near Arusha, Tanzania, comprises a dozen activists from a variety of backgrounds and countries. Activists-in-Residence include human rights defenders from Benin, Burundi, the DRC, Kenya, Liberia, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia and Uganda advocating among others, for the rights of women, children, LGBTQI persons, refugees, people with albinism, and against corruption. The Activists are all working under increasingly shrinking political and civic space.
The programme is an initiative of emerging pan-African movement, Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity and the Training Centre for Development Cooperation (TCDC), with support from the Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR). The initiative grew out of a need to counter the fatigue and frustration felt by many rights defenders and civil society leaders as they struggle with multilevel challenges and barriers that often lead on a path to burnout. These challenges are occasioned by the State and extra-government actors who are the key perpetrators of the crackdown on the activists
Said Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, Africans Rising Coordinator: “African activists are having to work under increasingly difficult conditions – from trying to achieve goals with ever-shrinking resources to dealing with ever-increasing attempts to obstruct and silence them.”
“Being able to step out of that frustrating environment for a month to regroup and do some deep thinking about the challenges is something that many of us activists crave.” said Saidykhan.
Activists-in-Residence will leave the programme with a number of assets including a consolidated publication covering the main subject area of the residency; interviews and conversations based products/stories to be featured in the special issue of Sur International Journal of Human Rights (Sur 26) – http://sur.conectas.org/en/call-for-papers/ , enhanced networks and connections and a residency report to help inform similar future events.
For more information, contact:
Moses Isooba / Ezra Mbogori
+254 716 738 148 / +255 789 474 920
Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity (www.africans-rising.org) is a nascent, rapidly growing, self-identifying collective of social movements, NGOs, peoples and popular social justice efforts, intellectuals, artists, sports people, cultural activists and others, across the continent and Diaspora.
MS-Training Centre for Development and Cooperation (www.mstcdc.or.tz) is a training facility operating under ActionAid Denmark. The Centre has many years of experience in training interventions with a focus on leadership and governance. TCDC has been involved in providing reflection and learning spaces in the areas of governance work and in building capacity of CSO Leaders.
The Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR) – http://globalhumanrights.org/ provides resources and tools to local activists who can generate positive human rights change. The Fund also supports human rights groups to defend or promote the operating space for civil society in the face of a global crackdown, including by supporting activists to produce and share analysis, experience and ideas within and across regions.