A project never changed the world. Self-reliance is self-sufficiency economically....And taking your own decisions...managing your own affairs. ....just having more income does not make you more concerned about other people. You have to organize around certain values… - Ela Bhatt
Creativity is about telling the truth -- Sketch arts program, Toronto
Communities can often be compared to a football game where 30,000 people who need the exercise, turn up to watch 36 players who don’t.- Peter Kenyon
The fingers of people are not all the same length - A. Ol'oiloisolo Massek and J.O. Sidai, Maasai proverb
Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. - Edward Abbey
Civic politics, like poetry, is concerned with questions of meaning, purpose, justice, and even beauty—all full of ambiguity and laden with conflicts of value, all constitutive of efforts to build a good society.-- Harry Boyte
You're only given a spark of madness. You musn't lose it. -Robin Williams
Only what is really oneself has the power to heal. - Carl Jung
Always be passionately aware that you could be completely wrong. -Dian Marino
I am a self-employed poet, adult educator and analyst (not necessarily in that order) from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Originally from Port Colborne, Ontario.
I am passionate about fairness and community ownership, especially around money. From a working-class family, and the only one of five children to attend university (my elder sister is wonderfully now completing her degree), I am motivated by the fact that if I graduated today from high-school I wouldn’t be able to afford to go to University.
I work to support the capabilities of groups and people, especially women and girls (cis-gendered), to better understand and negotiate their options around savings, assets in their name, property, inheritance rights, financial education. Why? Because while women are savvy and often hold the purse, in many countries they don't have control over money, assets, even their own bodies. I've also spent a lot of time on community finance, informal types of savings groups, building local economies and network-building. Lately I'm fascinated with online learning. It seems to level power dynamics for some and reduces the lag between learning and applying. Puts the facilitator and peers where they should be - coaching others in their work and communities, real-time in real messiness.
I'm a recovering technocrat. What I've found in my limited experience is this:
- Groups matter. It's a place to get support, build awareness, skills and challenge things that aren't fair
- Some people need support in healing, confidence and ability to be at these tables, these groups, let alone lead
- Money and assets aren't enough. They help people and families but money, business, even member-owned and community-driven models where I've invested so much energy, don't unlock systemic issues. Ensure justice.
- Small is beautiful but it isn't enough. We need advocacy and networks, movements to ensure accountability or these gains are short-lived and benefit very few. We've all seen it.
- Nothing will change unless people (and groups and networks) have the capacity to negotiate and make sense of what they want
I created a loose-knit peer mentoring network and consulting network called Sisters Inc. made of women from around the world working on similar issues. Struck me in my capacity building work that what many women need are opportunities to take the ball, not another workshop. The aim is to partly address the imbalances that exist in consulting and research that have too-often favoured Northern or established candidates. Building a mix within our teams allows us to bring a rich mix of skills and backgrounds while providing our team members with opportunities to further develop their experience, research capacities and skills. Some are working on their first degrees. We build in reflection and moral support, two things I've found really lacking in many work places.
About half of my time, I play, get outside, paddle, write poetry. I volunteer which usually qualifies as play. I sit down and try to make sense out of all of this, write. And sometimes I just play.