I was able to learn to put myself in the place of others, to know what is happening with that person” – Ubumbano Training Course in Mozambique
The Christian Council of Mozambique partnered with ACT Ubumbano to conduct training for activists in Maputo. Run over four sessions in August, the training sought to deepen the ability of participants to get to the root cause of problems that are being faced by their communities. Skills of research, analysis and critical writing up of issues were shared, and the challenge of supporting solidarity action and the struggles being waged by communities was a focus. The process showed the need for more consistent community organising that goes beyond work being done by individuals.
The activists were asked to identify an issue in their community, and then to deepen their understanding of the causes together with community members. Among the issues raised were:
- Sexual harassment at Matola High School,
- Drug consumption in George Dimitrov “Benfica” neighborhood,
- Hygiene and sanitation in the Maxaquene C Community,
- Abandonment of elderly people on the streets of Maputo City,
- Consumption of cannabis sativa in Patrice Lumumba neighborhood,
- The rise of robberies in the neighborhood of Matola “F”,
- The removal of informal street vendors from Matola Municipality, and
- Domestic violence against women in Maputo.
Feedback from the activists indicates that the methodology of learning from action and experience can lead to greater insight about our social justice practice.
- Ofélia liked the fact that she enabled people to tell their story.
- Hilario raised a worry about how money often is what spoils social organising, and challenged everyone to have follow-up actions to avoid starting from scratch at the next workshop.
- For Paulo, this “unforgettable experience” learning research methods convinced him that he still has a lot to learn. “I made a self-discovery of myself, when I had the opportunity to talk to the elderly, it made me realize that we have to do something. The old lady asked me what is the purpose of the interview? Will it be followed up with action?”
- Dorina was “…able to learn to put myself in the place of others, to know what is happening with that person, to know what is going on to reach that situation.”
These activists will continue to work with CCM and ACT Ubumbano in amplifying the voice of communities struggling for justice.