Feminist popular education

Across Mexico and Central America, indigenous women are leading their communities in efforts to defend their territories and natural resources against unregulated extraction projects and land grabs in the name of “development.” From Panama to El Salvador, women are exposing the injustices of multinational companies and their governments’ lax policies.
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Surrounded by the tropical warmth and lush vegetation of Nicaragua, the breezes from Lake Managua and the gardens of Cantera refresh us. This historic popular education center created by women is our beautiful home during this week of reflection and learning. A gathering marked by laughter and tears and thoughtful discussion, 31 women from throughout the region come together to broaden and deepen their leadership, organizing efforts, and collective action.
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What a gathering! I just got back from the JASS leadership course in Nicaragua with some 34 women activists from Mesoamerica—that part of the Americas that reaches from Panama all the way up to Mexico and everywhere in between.
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In a context where conservative culture, social disparities and economic struggles exacerbate violence against women, fracture communities and serve to entrench the inequalities that oppress women daily, a group of community-based activists are coming together to compose a different narrative.
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Barely five months into its formation, FAMM-Indonesia is already making waves. From text messaging blast campaigns against the discriminatory regulation of women's bodies to mobilizing dialogues and protests to amplify women's voices, FAMM is building young women's movements in Indonesia.
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With Action Aid International, JASS facilitated a structured participatory process for women's rights activists to document stories that reflect innovative insights and lessions for navigating, resisting and engaging power.
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“When a woman goes to a police station to report domestic violence in Malaysia, the police ask questions such as ‘how many children do you have?’ or ‘do you love your husband?’ Then she is told to go back home,” says Manohara Subramaniam of JASS Southeast Asia. This situation is so familiar. It happens in Malaysia, in all countries of Southeast Asia and in many places across the globe.
Excerpt from A New Weave of Power, People, & Politics featured in a 2006 edition of the Nonprofit Online News Journal (pp.38-55).
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Plenary speech by Lisa VeneKlasen to the 2005 Annual Conference of the Women's Funding Network.
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