Social mobilization

MobilizationTHP perspective: The inherent nature of every person is creative, resourceful, self-reliant, responsible and productive. People’s self-reliance is suppressed by conditions such as corruption, armed conflict, racism and the subjugation of women. Ending hunger requires a new kind of leadership: not top-down, authority-based leadership, but leadership that awakens people to their own power — leadership “with” people rather than leadership “over” people.

Key interventions:

  • Vision, Commitment and Action workshop: awakens people to a new spirit of self-reliance, and their ability to take charge of their own development.
  • Animators: their training and ongoing empowerment.
  • Community-led projects, including infrastructure such as the epicenter buildings.
  • Mass Action and Mass Awareness Campaigns, such as 100% safe sanitation campaigns.

Key messages:

  • “People whose spirit is unleashed will never be poor” (THP Bangladesh)
  • Hungry people are not the problem – they are the solution. The world does not have “one-billion mouths to feed” – it has one billion hard-working individuals whose creativity and productivity must be unleashed.
  • Never use the “B-word” – (“beneficiary”) – we are all partners in creating a better world, and we all benefit from this.

Global campaigns and initiatives:

  • THP is the only global NGO I’m aware of (I would love to be wrong about this!) with global strategies for the mobilization of those living in poverty as the primary resource for ending hunger, however there are many “people-power” based local NGOs going back to the Gandhian era, some of which are listed below.
  • The Sarvodaya Shramadana movement of Sri Lanka is perhaps the largest and best known of these – many of their methodologies are similar to THP.

Key agencies:

  • UNAIDS and its partners have utilized mass mobilization to good effect in slowing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • Unicef was a pioneer in social mobilization in the 1980s to promote growth charts, oral rehydration, breast feeding and immunization. Today this work is housed within its Communications for Development division.
  • At the World Bank, this is categorized as Community-Driven Development.

Must read books:

  • M.K. Gandhi, Hind Swaraj
  • Paolo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
  • Pearl S. Buck, “Tell the People: Talks with James Yen About the Mass Education Movement”

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