30 Days of Advocacy with #Equality360

Through partnership with Jamaica AIDS Support for Life and J-FLAG in 2015, WE-Change implemented a training programme for lesbians, bisexual women and transgender persons. The programme was very successful and a number of our constituents have indicated an interest in participating in a similar programme in 2016. The programme focused on the intersectionality of health and gender-based violence, and how beneficiaries could effectively advocate for change within their networks, communities, online, and at the policy level. It is out of this programme that TransWave was formed, which focuses on transgender health and related issues. It was also following this programme that a Respect Jamaica Ambassador and President of UWI Model United Nations hosted a very successful #KickOutGBV forum, which received an award from Respect Jamaica for most impactful project for 2015. WE-Change has since committed to undertaking a similar activity in 2016.

Further to this and following our very successful and insightful #OxfamChat via Twitter, we recognised that there was also a need for more advocacy around economic justice as part of efforts to achieve social justice for vulnerabilised women and transgender persons. We therefore decided to include a module on economic justice as part of our 2016 intensive advocacy training series.

From September 16-18, 2016, participants attended a rigorous, multifaceted 3-day social and economic justice advocacy residential training in St. Ann called #Equality360. They learned about the importance of evidence-based approaches to advocacy, women and economic justice, legislative frameworks, civic responsibility, intersectionality and feminism, and how to develop advocacy plans, among other skills. Following this training, participants were tasked with getting into groups to develop 30-day advocacy plans devoted to causes they cared about and wanted to champion.

Here is a snapshot of the activities undertaken by participants to date in the WE-Change #Equality360 Advocacy Training Programme for women.

Conversation Series

Our participants have been hosting a series of conversations with students based at UWI, Mona. To date they have reached just over 60 students and have explored ideas around body love and feminism.

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Mental Health JA Chat

During Mental Health Week, our participants hosted a Twitter Chat to raise awareness about Mental Health issues. During and following the chat, #MentalHealthJA tweets were delivered over 400,000 times to Twitter streams!

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JA WE Can Chat

This chat focused on challenging many societal standards of beauty for men and women, & promoting the practice of self love and body love. Over 12,000 Twitter users saw at least one #jaWEcan tweet!

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Mental Health Support Group

A Mental Wellness support group has been established by our participants. They have since hosted a poetry reading event featuring music, poetry and short stories. A total of 40 persons attended & live tweeted from the event.

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Period Is Natural Chat

A #PeriodIsNatural chat was hosted by participants aimed at removing the societal shame associated with the menstrual cycle #PeriodIsNatural tweets were delivered over 750,000 times to Twitter streams!

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Period Awareness Day

Participants established a Period Awareness Day on October 24th aimed at de-stigmatizing how Jamaicans treat with the menstrual cycle. They hosted a number of activities on the day, which were widely promoted on television, radio, and social media.

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Check out our participants’ work on Twitter:

@SafeSpaceJA

@EmbraceHerFlow

@we_UBUNTU

@Empower_MENTJA

Written by WE-Change

WE-Change is a community-based organisation committed to increasing the participation of women in social justice advocacy in Jamaica and the Caribbean. WE-Change was launched on May 15, 2015 out of a need to address and respond to the 'invisibilisation' of lesbians, bisexual and transgender (LBT) women in the LGBT rights movement in Jamaica. The organisation is women-led, women-focused and intersectional in its approach to advocacy, and guided by the outcomes of the Beijing 1995 Platform for Action.

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