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Together We Can: Online Communities as the Catalyst for Change

In the Caribbean creating change can be a slow and difficult process and many get discouraged. We have restricted human and financial resources, ‘collaboration’ - in many cases - is a buzzword and it is no secret that we have a chronic problem when it comes to implementation.

We often attribute the sluggish movement towards change to the lack of ‘political will’. We blame those in power for not doing enough to put policies and programmes in place for positive social and economic development. Yet we proudly claim we are democratic nations. Civil Society Organisations are well placed in Caribbean societies to advocate for change, mobilise resources and reach people at the community level. Unfortunately their capacity is not as strong as it should be and there are issues of sustainability.

Whether it is domestic violence, trade or disaster management, many issues are interlinked. Major challenges can be overcome with easier access to information, networking and fostering closer relationships, and pooling resources together for better social programmes and wider outreach. By working together with local, regional and international stakeholders and pulling on their strengths and creative talents, implementation becomes less difficult because everyone is sharing the load.

The truth is that change starts within each and every one of us. We are all leaders in our own right. When like-minded individuals come together and advocate around a particular issue, gather the right information and take action there is greater impact.

PulseWire and other online communities are excellent platforms for:

1. Finding likeminded people, particularly women. World Pulse is a fantastic platform for advancing women’s rights in the 21st century and discussing common issues that affect us all. I see these platforms as particularly useful in overcoming challenges associated with global governance.

2. Mobilising resources and advertising programmes catered to women across the world - Through the Action Center I can search and share opportunities with others to create business partnerships, take advantage of training or even look for jobs! I have already learned through an article on Pulsewire of a woman who was able to raise funds for a project through this platform.

3. Sharing and gaining knowledge and best practices by learning from others and exchanging tips for more effective implementation. I look forward to learning more from leaders in the NGO sector on addressing challenges of sustainability.

4. Finally gaining confidence - It was a humbling experience for my article to be featured last week and for persons to have taken the time to comment, share their stories and offer support. Sometimes the simplest things give you that little extra boost to continue your work against all odds.

I thank you my sisters!

Comments

Stella Paul's picture

You Just Nailed It!

Dear Juliette

What a great way to articulate it all! I loved it! You know, as a small nation, your resources maybe limited. But when it comes to spiritual properties - courage, determination, vision and dedication, you are more resourceful than others. And these are what going to take you far, far ahead. My love will go with you!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Juliette Maughan's picture

It is for us to know

Stella,

In a sense you are right. We have it all in a sense but then pride, egos, jealousies all come in and cloud everything.

To me there is no reason why we should not work together, even as one Caribbean. But you know how these things go.

Too often people operate from a place of scarcity, a narrow mindset that does not allow for people to clearly see the overall vision. Persons such as yourself can see it but sometimes it is only when you step out of the box that you fully understand.

Thank you for you continuous comments Stella knowing your journey it means even more. My prayers are with you to protect you and give you courage. You have a big life purpose, always remember that.

Best,

Juliette

YAOtieno's picture

We are leaders

Hi Juliette,]

When I rad about the Caribbean, it soiunds more like Kenya, Only in Kenya yo have to add Corruption in the mix. We have an active civil society however they face the same limitations like those in the Caribbean, Some members of the Civil society have joined Politics in a bid to change the system room within, Instead the system changed them...:-)

And So i have come to believe that one does not need a political title to influence change. I totally I agree with you that change starts within each and every one of us. We are all leaders in our own right. And indeed when like-minded individuals come together we can influence change,

It brings to mind this words from a song by Neo - I an force all by myself but A movement when together

Keep writing.

Cheers,

Y

A candle looses nothing my lighting another

Juliette Maughan's picture

WE can learn from each other

Hi Y,

I realised that I did not respond to your comment and I wanted to.

I believe we in the Caribbean can learn a lot from the NGOs that exist in countries in Africa. Though you face challenges on a grander scale, one thing I have noted is that you all always do some amazing things - very innovative.

I am a student of regional integration and so I learned a lot about the challenges face in African countries and there are quite similar, so true.

I look forward to hearing from you how you manage to remain sustainable and how you overcome the regular difficulties of favouritism, victimization in some cases, transparency and accountability. I believe that there is so much we can learn from each other.

Furthermore, as we have learnt from the negotiations of the Economic Partnership Agreement, our regions not been as collaborative and supportive of each other around certain areas as they were previously.

I look forward to the day when this is corrected.

I share the journey with you and thank you for your comment.

J

Adepeju's picture

'When like-minded individuals

'When like-minded individuals come together and advocate around a particular issue, gather the right information and take action there is greater impact." Brilliant and encouraging words.

Juliette Maughan's picture

:)

Thank you.

amiesissoho's picture

Keep it up!

Having the space to be heard, is a motivating factor on Pulsewire. We should all continue to forge the genuine partnership and respect for each other. keep it up!

Amie

Juliette Maughan's picture

That we should!

Hi Amie,

We can learn so much from each other and I hope through forums like these we can build the types of relationships that do not only facilitate the sharing of information but we can work together to truly create change across the regions and of course the world.

J

marieb76's picture

Beautifully written!

That is by far the most spot on response to an assignment that I have read in 3 weeks! You are an amazing writer and eloquently described the change that you want to see in your country and provided an excellent framework for people to follow. Your future is amazingly bright :)

Bryne Atkinson

Juliette Maughan's picture

Smiles

Bryne,

You just concluded a tiring day very nicely. I thank you.

Well what I wrote it the plan and the dream but as we all know it is not only about dreaming big but putting it into motion. I hope I will be able to make it all a reality.

I appreciate your words of encouragement!

Juliette

Dear Juliette,

Thank you for calling us all out on the need to step up and be the leaders in our lives - leadership lies within, not in a title or position. Your wisdom to bring people together to tap into their unique talents, skills and find solutions together builds strong community.

You are a natural leader with vision, heart and wisdom to mobilize people in a respectful and productive way to create the change you envision. Stay strong and keep FAITH in your vision and YOURSELF - I BELIEVE in YOU!

Take good care and I look forward to reading more of your work!

With Gratitude,

Linda M. Ando

Juliette Maughan's picture

Leadership

Thank you for your motivational words Linda.

I have struggled with the definition of leadership or what it means to be a leader. I remember sitting in a meeting where we were called youth leaders and for a long time I struggled with that concept.

When I started to think about it at first I rejected the notion, thinking I was not an expert or had a large following, I had never lead an organisation etc. how could I possibly consider myself a leader? What I struggled with more was that hierarchal structure that I myself hated. I did not want to be "above" anyone else. I value the insight and contributions of everyone I come into contact with.

I decided at that point that I considered everyone a leader. The individual in a small cubicle with "assistant" on the end of her job title who is the gate keeper and influences the major decision maker of a company is a leader. The school child that decides to stand up to a bully is a leader. The young woman that is raped and has the courage to stand up to her attacker is a leader. The mother who teaches and nurtures her children to be compassionate and hard working individuals is a leader.

It was only then that I could see that, like them, I too have leadership qualities and could be a leader where I am. Even if it is just to inspire another young woman or write a post that makes someone else feel like somehow they are not alone.

Best,

Juliette

stephaniecubbon's picture

Nice post!

Hi Juliette,
I just wanted to thank you for such an inspiring post! Keep up the great work.
Stephanie

Juliette Maughan's picture

Thank you

Stephanie,

Thank you for your kind words.

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