Misunderstood or not? Charity vs Justice

Through-out my time as a community organizer I realized that very few people know much of anything about community organizing. Whenever I introduce myself and my work, over 90% of the time, I expect the questions “What does that mean? What is that?”. Very few people understand the term. A while back, I shared about my work with an american friend, Craig. The minute I mentioned community organizing, he immediately referred to me as an Obama. That got me thinking, he is familiar with the term and goes an extra step of giving an example, maybe more people know about what I do than I thought. However, he still asked me the question, what really is community organizing? Well, I answer that question almost everyday.”Community organizing is all about creating sustainable justice based institutions and building local leadership that creates an opportunity for fractured communities to have a unified voice  and the collective power necessary to get the change they want to see.”After trying to help him understand about this term, I realized that despite his minimal exposure, he thought community organizing was just about political mobilization of voters for I don’t know how long. “We have a lot of work to do”, I thought.

misunderstood

All of us at some point have been misunderstood thanks to ignorance or lack of know how. All we can do is educate and hope that our efforts bear fruit. It goes a step further than other people, ourselves. We at times misunderstand the impact our actions have on others and the world. For the next one month we will look over Charity vs Justice as regards to  Aid and Mission . What do we understand about these terms. What do you think charity is? or Justice? Are they the same thing or are they totally different? What does this mean for the efforts put in before and in the future to end hunger, homelessness, oppression e.t.c

Liz Njeri- Community Manager Tatua Kenya.

 

Shifting the Way Aid is Done

We just celebrated having had a successful Global Gathering where we learnt, taught and shared a magnificent experience with other agents of change and participants from Uganda, Amagoro, Meru, Kajiado, Nairobi and Somerset. We also strategized about how we can work together to shift the way aid is done. How do we end the dependency cycle?

GG
Tatua Kenya 2014 Global Gathering participants at a training session in Kajiado.

What is certain is that communities not only  thrive when they have ownership over assets, but also when they are able to “own” their problems and issues. When communities accept that it is “their” problem, then they are more likely to work together to develop a solution that is better than one provided solely by an external “expert”.  We have however, at most times,  resigned to the belief that we can’t, and we have to go around with an empty bowl branded HELP. All we  need is the ability to identify the resources around us {resource mapping} and put them together to create power.  When a community is able to do this together, then they can achieve true independence.

How have you seen dependency in your community? Who do you think is the “expert” and why?