#ShiftThePower and Us: Reconstruction Women’s Fund
19 Oct 2021
We at the Reconstruction Women’s Fund (RWF) look at the #ShiftThePower Manifesto for Change at least a few times a day. The Manifesto is written on a tea towel hanging in our little kitchen at the office. This little souvenir brings back memories of the Pathways to Power Symposium held in London in 2019 and our Fund’s first close encounter with the people and organizations gathered around the #ShiftThePower movement. Back then, two of us from the Fund (Marija and Galina), were live-blogging from the event for Alliance Magazine, sharing our thoughts on surviving by not competing for scarce resources but making our world more livable. We were blogging together in the spirit of sharing the power, and we continue this practice of co-writing – this time a little bit has changed between the writing team – Galina is still the Program and Community Coordinator and a fresh mind, Djurdja, is the Fund Coordinator.
Reconstruction Women’s Fund – feminist/peacebuilding/community foundation?
Since 2004, the birth year of RWF, we have taken a holistic approach to the roles named above, refusing to be boxed only in one. The previous team paved the way for this practice. As the generational change happened within the Fund, the new team continued along the same path to think, act, share and run. As Audre Lorde taught us, it is never just about a single issue. This simple truth shaped our politics into understanding that, for a community and the entire society to advance, we need diverse troublemaking processes that are intertwined. Struggles against war, militarism, nationalism, discrimination, social inequalities, violence against women, etc. may seem dispersed, yet they are interrelated, tightly feeding one another. Hence, we dare to be not only a feminist fund or only a peacebuilding fund – strong communities require strong articulation of diverse layers of what is bothering them and appropriate, equally layered support.
And what powerful initiatives have we had the honour to support! Roma women standing against early and forced marriages. Women supporting breast cancer survivors by providing them with care unavailable in public health institutions. Women with disabilities advocating and succeeding in pressuring the decision-makers to fix policies to meet their real needs. Young girls voicing out their needs in highly confined environments. Women celebrating feminism in religiously harsh areas. Women rebelling in the world of arts and academia. LGBTQIA people navigating through the highly hostile social atmosphere. Women fighting against labour rights violations in the neoliberal context depriving workers of basic dignity.
This is an excerpt of a blog written by Galina Maksimovic, Program and Community Coordinator and Djurdja Trajkovic, Fund Coordinator at the Reconstruction Women’s Fund. To read their full piece, head to the #ShiftThePower Treehouse.