ReAct and ACORN International organizers from the USA, Canada, Liberia, Cameroon, France, Ivory Coast and Morocco, worked for a week together on the future of organizing in Africa.
Which gave rise to:
MEETINGS WITH LOCAL ACTIVISTS AND ORGANIZATIONS
Information sharing and exchange with victims of forced evictions to make way for public works in Bipanda, a neighborhood in Douala. They have organized a community organization to fight for their rights.
Field trip to the Sandaga market and meeting of the organization ASCOMSAD which brings together shopkeepers and sellers from the market to fight for their interests against the market’s managers abuses and advocate for their rights at the municipal level.
Meeting with one of the leaders of the teachers’ union of Douala’s catholic schools, fighting to raise wages and for union rights, against the refusal given by the archbishop.
Exchange with the leaders of ADEC, student union in Cameroon, mostly present in Douala and Yaoundé. Student activists are facing a lot of repression and threats from the state. Many Cameroonian activists have been trained at and learned their skills through participating in ADEC.
Meeting with one of the main leaders of the opposition: Elimbi Lobé, member of the political party SDF. He shares his experience of their struggle to improve the Cameroonian democracy over the last 30 years. He also shared some of his perspectives for the presidential elections in 2018.
MEETING WITH MEMBERS OF THE TRANSNATIONAL ALLIANCE OF SOCFIN/BOLLORE NEIGHBORING COMMUNITIES
Field visit to meet members of the SYNAPARCAM in the Koungué et Mbambou villages
Presentation of the organization by the leaders of each village. They highlighted the history of actions, demands, blockades and marches they organized to fight for their rights.
Case-study of the situations of local organizations in Cameroon, Liberia and Ivory coast.
Skype conference calls with the Cambodian representative.
Drafting of the international strategy for the months to come.
HOW TO DEVELOP ORGANIZING METHODS IN AFRICA
Country report of the local organizations. The Skype organizers were present through Skype. Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each organization.
Review of the ACORN organizing model, the role and task of an organizer, and head organizer as well as how and where to move forward .
Workshop on fundraising by the leaders and/or members of the organization.
MANY MOMENTS TO SHARE MORE THAN ORGANIZING AND MEET ONE ANOTHER
Interviews for ACORN radio show of the differents leaders and organizers
Debrief of the week by Wade Rathke, and sharing of each person’s impressions, what they had learned and what they hoped for. This was an emotional moment showing how much each person had learned from the others.
Special thanks to Marius and Joseph, for organizing, programming, taking care of logistical matters and just general support throughout the week !