Founded in 2003, JASS (Just Associates) was originally an informal community of practice of activists, scholars and popular educators from twenty countries who were loosely connected by political experiences with democratic movements, popular struggles for liberation and global women’s rights organizing. We shared a commitment to solidarity that crossed international borders and a passion for building people-centered democracy.
Co-creating against the grain 1
JASS reconfigures from a loose community of practice of popular educators, activists, and scholars across 20 countries funded minimally through fee-for-service, while working with social movements.
Back to Basics
A shared sense of alarm at the scale of fundamentalist backlash against women across the Global South leads us to go “back to basics,” investing in grassroots organizing and movement building.
Big Move, Big Bet
JASS launches “Imagining and Building Women’s Movements of the Future.” This series of regional political gatherings called Movement Building Institutes gathered diverse gender justice and grassroots women leaders for a deep contextual analysis and a strategic rethinking process.
“Building the Helicopter While Flying at 20.000 Feet”
With a firm commitment to build from the ground up and a belief that organizational form must follow function, these gatherings catalyzed roadmaps and energies that steered other pathways. This zigzagging road was our route toward shaping JASS, a process we characterized as “building the helicopter while flying at 20,000 feet”, when we first began to invest more intentionally in the organization.
Taking Off, Growing Roots
JASS expands to a full and part-time staff of 23 women working virtually in over 18 countries and from 4 different offices in Washington, DC; Phnom Penh; Mexico City; and Cape Town. The regional hubs are growing roots and gaining autonomy while the cross regional team continues to support and facilitate the linking between regions for learning, media, fundraising, publications, and joint global advocacy.
Greater than the sum of our parts
It became clear we needed greater strategic alignment across JASS to maximize learning, reach and impact across all regions. With this commitment, we invested in organizational strengthening and stability to ensure JASS’ resilience going forward.
Stepping into our Power
JASS has grown and gained momentum. Today, we have 42 full and part-time staff who are activists, scholars, and popular educators from the contexts where we organize, supported by an international multidisciplinary network of advisors and associates around the world. We are deeply involved in 9 countries whilst our regional work brings together women activists from over 26 countries.
As we have built JASS around a unique model of shared leadership, structures and operations, there are several fundamentals that remain true and keep us on course as we build a hybrid structure grounded at the community level and interconnected globally for bigger impact and influence. These fundamentals include a commitment to our historic roots in liberation movements of the Global South, our shared approach to power and consciousness and our belief that the lived experiences of women on the frontlines are the starting point of our organizing work and everything we do. These tenets have ensured that the organization has stayed true to its mission and been able to adjust without losing its center.
For full JASS history, learn here: