Lacking basic services and living under the constant threat of eviction, the people of Bhola wanted to change their situation but needed support to formulate a plan of action. Enter the Local-to-Local Dialogue, a strategic process developed by the Huairou Commission through decades of grassroots women’s organizing efforts. Through the L2L process, women document their realities, build consensus, form alliances, and build a power base to access resources and create solutions to community issues. They engage in decision-making in partnership with local authorities. Earlier this year, the Huairou Commission published the Local-to-Local Dialogue manual with the support of Cordaid and the Dutch Foreign Ministry, making this effective methodology more accessible to grassroots groups around the globe.
Using guidelines from this manual, and with the field expertise of Ms. Fides Bagasao (GROOTS Philippines) and technical support of Ms. Sabrina Salahuddin-Shown (Huairou Commission Secretariat), PDAP has been undertaking a series of activities to prepare the grassroots women of Bhola to hold a dialogue with local stakeholders. Slum-dwelling women have been organizing since June regarding their eviction threats and basic needs. In July and August, field workers Jolly Rahman, Maksuda and Jahanara Begum organized and mobilized the community, forming groups and leading trust-building exercises. For instance, through the River of Life and Tree of Life exercises outlined in the manual, women illustrate and share stories about significant events and challenges in their lives. The field workers also trained the Bhola community in women’s leadership over various workshops, and facilitated the collective identification of group leaders to initiate the Local-to-Local Dialogue on behalf of the entire community.
Read more at the Huairou Commission, published 26 September 2012.