By Emily Esworthy/IMA World Health and WeWeWillSpeakOut.US
On November 24th, I had the pleasure of joining together in London with several members of the international We Will Speak Out coalition. It’s rare for this global group to be able to meet in person, and though some had to join via Skype, it was still wonderful to connect with many truly caring and upbeat individuals who are unified under the same goal: ending sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in our communities and our world.
The goals for our meeting were to review the international strategic plan and to discuss principles for coalition membership, participation, and other governance-related topics.
While WeWillSpeakOut.US, as an outcropping of the global coalition, has its own set of goals unique to the US context, we are also dedicated to the 5 key outcomes of the international We Will Speak Out group:
1. CHURCH LEADERS SPEAK OUT
2. COMMUNITIES AND CHURCHES PROVIDE SAFE SPACES
3. CENTRAL ROLE OF SURVIVORS AND EMPOWERING WOMEN
4. TRANSFORMING MASCULINITY
5. THE COALITION AS A LEARNING SPACE
Though it may not sound enthralling to talk about the nitty gritty points of managing a coalition, centering our thinking around how we our collective efforts can best uplift one another’s efforts, empower our communities and learn along the way was a breath of fresh air for me.
I returned home from London the day before Thanksgiving, and I definitely felt thankful to be a representative for this important work, inspired by those I was able to collaborate and plan with for the coming year, and encouraged by how these 5 key outcomes are being pursued.
We have some exciting plans both internationally and in the US for the coming year, and we hope you will lend your voice and support to this important movement. We will speak out!
Emily Esworthy is the marketing and communications manager for IMA World Health and the Secretariat for the WeWillSpeakOut.US coalition, a faith-based initiative to end sexual and gender based violence.