Southern Arica - Building Women's Collective Power

JASS SNA combines feminist popular education including reactivating feminist consciousness-raising to bring women together in safe spaces to share experiences, build analysis and solidarity, harnessing  ‘power within’ and ‘power with’ to take action to bring about social change.

In a context where fragile but coercive states make women increasingly vulnerable, and where women’s rights gains made over the last two decades are under threat, the need for women to come together to catalyze and strengthen organizing agendas is urgent. JASS SNA uses feminist popular education including reactivating feminist consciousness-raising to bring women together in safe spaces to share experiences, build analysis and solidarity, harnessing  ‘power within’ and ‘power with’ to take action to bring about social change.

Feminist Popular Education

JASS SNA’s regional feminist popular education and training builds the leadership and organizing capacity of women, equipping them with analytical tools and strategies to strengthen and support their work within their communities.

Feminist popular education has at its core the creation of a “safe space” for women to share experiences and unpack the forces of power at play in their lives. This is critical in a context where the space for women to share their experiences, challenge the layers of inequality and have their voices heard is shrinking.

JASS’ power analysis resonates deeply with women across the region as a way to understand and analyze how power manifests in their personal lives and communities, and how they can bring about positive change. Taking ownership of the language of ‘power with’ and ‘power within’, women in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe have transformed their lives in small and big ways.

The power framework got me thinking; there are a lot of pressures we face, decisions we make without thinking about what influences us – it was an eye opener – I could identify forces at play. ~ Tsekai Makwelele Chityaba, Zambia

Our education work is enriched and strengthened by drawing on the experience of feminist popular educators in the region. 

Training Political Facilitators

To deepen analytical skills, JASS SNA trains partners, allies and community-based facilitators. Women situated in formal and informal networks and NGOs form a broad base for JASS work within each country and regionally. The regional training processes build skills and create supportive relationships to enhance the work they do in-country, thereby creating a ripple effect. 

JASS SNA intends to build the capacity of facilitators within partner and other strategic organisations to enhance their ability to pursue a gender justice agenda. By working with women already active in organisations, JASS is able to support and sustain women’s movements.

Strategic Action

JASS engages a broad spectrum of women and organisations with networks spanning thousands to organise and mobilize for change through campaigns and strategic engagement with those in power.  JASS uses a long-term strategy of working closely with women activists to support and sustain them within communities through political education and training as well as strategic planning for local to regional action. In some cases, this strategy has led to women activists forming new organisations to take forward movement building work within their countries. One example is a dynamic group of young feminists called Generation Alive who grew out of the movement building initiative in Zambia.

Alliance building is not only a strategy for building women’s movements capable of taking on the critical challenges but also to address the fragmentation of women’s agendas and the forging of solidarities.

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