Developing a state-wide capacity building network
Grassroots advocacy is a needed avenue for change.
While many are using tech and social media, they may not have a person who is knowledgeable about how these tools work, how to make sure a particular tools is the right one for their community or how to responsibly share information and best practices with their community.
The foundation of work to support these communities has to be affinity building and trust in order to assure that any program or resource is centered in the actual recognized needs of a given community.
Aspirations work in this arena was started years ago and has been ongoing with the exception of a brief gap between November and April when Evelyn joined the team.
With help from Josh, Evelyn has been focusing on spending time, building relationships, and listening to the people in the communities that they work with.
While this practice takes an extended period of time it assures that the results are what the community has expressed that they need, rather than what an outside group has to offer, or has decided that community needs.
Part of that capacity building effort includes identifying local organizers who while they may not have a particular skill have interest and motivation to acquire that skill and provide it to their community.
Indigenous organizers are very much in need of many of these skills and resources as well as funding to be able to build their own capacity. There are very few people in the participants community with these skills. People often do not understand that people in the speakers community are not permitted to request a fee for the practices, but within their culture gifting is common. As many people do not understand that their efforts are often offered with no compensation. In order for their work to expand and to be able to train more people within their community they need to be able to acquire funding. The knowledge of how to even go about seeking grants and other types of funding are often not present within their community. Connecting with organizers that could help them overcome these hurdles would be useful.
Long term programming may be a helpful way of creating an opportunity and reason for the continuous connection and space building that can lead to building the type of affinity with community members that results in the relationships that open the door to a better understanding of a the needs of a community.
Creating programming that is within the organizations understanding of a communities need may also be complicated as it may be seen as arriving with a prescription rather than doing the base building needed to respond to the needs a community has identified for themselves.
Effective base building can be difficulty because it requires hundreds of hours of non quantitative work that many organizations may find difficult to justify or fund.
Doing work in this intentional way is necessary to build programs of community empowerment and capacity building.