International Learning Exchange Brings Anti-Violence Advocates Together

International Learning Exchange Brings Anti-Violence Advocates Together

It’s an exciting time for Move to End Violence, a program of the NoVo Foundation. 2016 marks the halfway point on our ten-year journey to support and sustain a strong, healthy anti-violence movement in the US. There is work yet to be done in the US and globally to end violence against women and girls, but NoVo believes that girls and women everywhere have the right to live free from violence and we are committed to contributing to the movement that will create this reality in the world.

That’s why Move to End Violence’s current group of inspirational Movement Makers are preparing to fly to South Africa for a ten-day learning exchange, ready to learn and engage in dialogue with activists in South Africa, and continue to build and support a global anti-violence movement. Move to End Violence recognizes the power of transnational movement building to address the root causes of violence against girls and women.

The trip runs from January 31 – February 12. It’s our third International Learning Exchange, our first to South Africa, and we couldn’t be more excited.

It is hard to imagine a more powerful place than South Africa to learn firsthand about the power of movements to confront racism, sexism and other overlapping forms of oppression. South Africa has inspired the world with a truly vibrant movement to address violence and injustice—a movement that is deeply grounded in the connections between race and gender. And as this work continues, Movement Makers have a tremendous opportunity to listen and learn, and to make transnational connections that can offer new pathways to advance a common, global movement together.

We are extremely lucky to be working in partnership with IDEX on this trip. IDEX, a long-term partner of NoVo Foundation, supports grassroots, community-led projects in the Global South and invests in local leaders to shape solutions to urgent, global problems including violence against girls and women. They are an ideal partner for the NoVo Foundation in our effort to end violence against girls and women globally because they understand the importance of working alongside those who are most impacted by these pressing problems to create long-term, lasting solutions. IDEX will be coordinating the trip on the ground in South Africa, and have been working closely with partners like the Whole World Women’s Association and ISLA, organizations with which the Movement Makers will meet.

Violence against girls and women takes many forms throughout the world but affects all communities. Creating conditions for massive social change to happen on a global scale requires hard work from dedicated advocates around the world. If we are to address the widespread epidemic of violence in our own country, on our streets, in our schools, and in our homes we need to work in solidarity with the global anti-violence community.

Move to End Violence is invested in creating transnational opportunities to build this solidarity in person.  It is in the collaboration where we find the space to learn from each other, to combat the isolation too easy to fall into within the US movement, and to leverage our collective power. This learning exchange will give advocates a chance to not just hear about the critical work being done in South Africa, but to be in beloved community with the activists on the ground creating change. I am hopeful that the learning exchange will also allow advocates to re-energize, to ignite hope in one another, and to motivate movement leaders with ideas to realize social change they may never have thought possible.

The underlying causes of violence against girls and women are the same everywhere: inequality, discrimination and systemic oppression. But there are, of course, differences in what this work looks like, around the world. Advocates will have the chance, for example, to discuss critical intersectional approaches to ending violence, and how multiple oppressions are similar and different for women and girls in other parts of the world.

This International Learning Exchange to South Africa offers the chance to ensure there is synchronicity in our efforts to realize social change, in our knowledge of how to get there, and in the inspiration it requires to keep going. When we work together to realize our responsibility and power to end violence against girls and women, we are infinitely more powerful.

The Move to End Violence team will be blogging regularly from the ground to offer you the chance to be as close to the conversations and on-the-ground experiences as possible. We hope you’ll join us on this trip by following along on the blog.

Jesenia A. Santana
Jesenia A. Santana
Program Officer
NoVo Foundation

Jesenia Santana serves as program officer for the NoVo Foundation’s Initiative to End Violence Against Girls and Women. Prior to joining NoVo, Jesenia spent a decade at STEPS to End Family Violence, where she worked with survivors of domestic violence and trauma. Learn More

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