Who represents the real Voice from South Asia?
Whenever I see voices of the delegates in planned events on conferences, most of them represent on behalf of those whom they are working with in poorer communities around the world. If you check out the number of people from the western countries who represent the voices from South Asia, I get nervous.
I remember when I was invited by Action Aid International in 2007 to give a presentation to European Union. The hall was filled with representatives from NGOs and leaders. Unfortunately, none of them represented the South Asia. I was concerned as the meeting was organized by European Union to change the aid policies with regards to international development. So the conference had a lot to do with poor and developing countries and not enough representation to talk about our rights.
I also remember when I attended the World Social Forum in Africa in 2007; I was shocked to see the number of western delegates outnumbering the people representing the poorer countries. I raise about this issue at the various international forums.
We have highly educated and capable women to represent the voice of the South. I am not against the support and good will of the western people who works with the most vulnerable groups and sometimes they talk and feel like them. However, my argument has always been, calling on those who work with vulnerable groups to give opportunities to women from the South. If you hire local South women consultants whatever their capacity, you are building on them. Look at the small number of local people working in UN offices or other INGOs. If you give a chance for women from the South poorer/developing world to speak out in forums, you are empowering them to raise their voices. So please help us. Let us speak for ourselves!