Recap of session facilitated by Julieta:
In the first POP session I provided an overview about the current situation regarding goal 1 of agenda 2030 and its connection as a fundamental base to peacebuilding. I also shared some guidelines that measure poverty, concepts and the realities that activists deal with on a global scale.
We already learned the standard indexes that measure poverty worldwide and its general impact, but today, we want to focus our attention on what we have termed “spontaneous leaders” in the fight against poverty that also are peace builders.
What are spontaneous leaders?
We refer to spontaneous leaders as people that within a given context, decide to take action without having the resources of an NGO, authority, or group. These leaders can be described by a popular phrase in Spanish that says “ take the bull by the horns”.
Spontaneous leaders are individuals that regardless of their condition or experience, make positive contributions to their group or community. Spontaneous leaders sometimes gain concrete actions from their work or can even end up becoming icons of the struggle and activism for rights that they represent. Today, we want to introduce you to some spontaneous leaders that we believe are significant in the struggle of poverty reduction and who also create awareness on building a culture of peace.
Spontaneous leaders: People of Peace
Myriam Figueroa, Argentina/United States: Empowering Women
Myriam Figueroa is the Founder of Red de Mujeres al fuego , a space for women to empower each other and raise awareness about the inherent dignity of life and value of women.
Myriam was born in Argentina and moved to Washington DC, where she began raising awareness about the challenges women within the Latin community face while living in foreign countries. Myriam believes that empowering women is an essential step, not only for their dignity, but also to help them change realities such as lack of education, with tools to fight against poverty and make room for peace building.
Myriam encourages women to shape their own experiences by advocating until their need for proper conditions are established, while building their self-confidence and shared solidarity with other women. Myriam believes women have the power to positively impact communities when they get involved with social ,economic, political and cultural causes.
Myriam agreed to a written interview with us to share a bit of her experience as a spontaneous leader. Below is a transcript of our interview:
Q1 . Myriam, you have told me that a big part of your work has been and is empowering women. Can you share with us your experience?
A1. It is a very enriching experience at all levels to have the chance to be in contact with the lives and experiences of Latin immigrant women. Actually, theirs are stories of personal leadership, and I learn each day from them about the inner power of women and their decisions to move forward toward better conditions in life, their generosity of getting involved in social causes with strong commitment, and the energy that flows from one to another- it is the power that ignites purpose.
Q2. Do you consider empowering women as important for peacebuilding?
A2. For me, the integral empowerment of women is essential for the evolution of humanity and the construction of a culture of peace. When you motivate women to develop their capabilities and talents (gifts), personal development and confidence, and validate their power, it promotes unity and solidarity that becomes the road to certain peace. It is a spiral effect: it builds a movement that reaches families and generates positive impact on social structures and communities.
Q3. Which are the main challenges that you faced?
A3.The main challenge is that I still feel there is some violence between women; a culture of competition and jealousy; there a lot to do about this, culturally speaking. It is difficult for us to partner and build with other woman because there is still a feeling that if I honor the path of another woman, I will lose something from mine. Perhaps its the individualism within societies that makes this an issue. This is why I keep promoting unity, solidarity, respect and effective communication; I consider it essential to peacebuilding and poverty reduction.
Q4. Being a spontaneous leader and a role model to other women, what would you say to women that are feeling the “call” to do something regarding poverty reduction, empowerment and peacebuilding?
A4. I would say that they do not have to feel afraid to have the experience to build upon, any woman has a lot to share with others. Currently, there is a worldwide movement, that I do not believe will stop. I also suggest to connect with like minded women, we are looking for each other; network – keep knocking on doors of opportunity until the proper one opens. Use new technologies as much as you can to shorten distances and do not give up.
Q5. something else that you want to share ?
A5. Thank you for the chance to share my experience and feelings on this path
If you’re interested in connecting with Myriam, you can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fabian Vazquez GBA -Argentina-
Fabian, lives and works in the southern area of greater Buenos Aires, Argentina, an area of the province where most of population lives in very complicated social and economic conditions. Most people live under conditions that lack essential resources. Acknowledging the situation of the people, Fabian decided to take action by building rocket stoves, under a project called Proyecto Fueguitos. The project provides a solution for the people who need access to reliable cooking tools.
Rocket stoves are built worldwide, but Fabian, decided to put his ecological values as a priority and built the stoves with recycled and upcycled materials. Fabian started by using materials that were easy to obtain and to use and hand-made each stove that he gave as donations to families. After a while, Fabian realized it was better to share the knowledge he had and he began workshops to teach people how to build their own rocket stoves. Since the start of Proyecto Fuegitos, more than 100 rocket stoves have been donated around Buenos Aires and other provinces within Argentina. The project has also conducted more than 15 community workshops.
When asked about the importance of this initiative to contribute to poverty reduction and peacebuilding, Fabian revealed that he believes that it is very important to empower people by sharing with them personal experience and resources, but also to allow them to build their own experience. Fabian thinks it is more important to continue replicating the workshops so that people can continue learning and replicate the expertise in their own communities, more than it is to continue to provide donations of rocket stoves. .
If you would like to connect with Fabian and Proyecto Fueguitos, you can find them on facebook .