Thursday, August 23, 2012

Failed States, Just Give Women A Chance!

Thanks to World Pulse - the largest network of women, I now have a colleague in each of the 187 countries. So anything happens anywhere in the world and I can actually have someone to connect it to! And that's what I am doing now, linking the Failed State Index to my colleagues in - the failed states!

Early this week, I started reading the Failed State Index 2012 – an annual, globally recognized and accepted report prepared by the Washington DC- based organization Fund for Peace that ranks countries of the world according to their stability and capacity.

Topping the list of the failed states, for the fifth straight time, is Somalia. According to J J Messner, editor of the report, if this was a championship, Somalia would be called a legend. But since it’s not, the rank only indicates how bad the state of affairs is in the country where chaos and conflicts rule. Things are almost equally bad in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which has gotten the dubious 2nd place. Also sharing the space in the top 10 bracket is Zimbabwe.

Now, I have read this report a couple of times in earlier and just took them as what they were: a compilation of facts. But this year as I was reading it, a series of faces flashed before my eyes; women who are young, energetic, forever challenging, forever questioning everything that is wrong and, what’s more, also working to set them right.

These women come from these failed states, but are anything but a representative of failure. And here’s the reason why I thought of them: they are women of our very own World Pulse change-makers’ fraternity.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Coming up in the US: a fall of rising voices

Last November I was selected, along with 30 other women, as a Voice of our Future correspndent by World Pulse - a women's media house based in Portland, Oregon. Eight months later, I am holding in my hand an itenerary for the Live speaking tour of the US - an annual series of public engagement events that is organized by the same World Pulse. So, come September second week,  and I will be there - in New York, Atlanta, Washington DC and Portland. Joining me will be two other Voice of our Future correspondents  from Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria. Together, we are going to tell our hyperlocal stories of the grassroot doers and changes to the American audience, this time in person.

How happy am I? 'Elated' probably would be the right word to describe the feelings. 
One year ago, after leaving Video Volunteers, a community media organization based in Goa, India, I had shifted to Hyderabad with nothing but a dream: to write stories that I actually cared for; stories that would highlight environment and how it affected women, especially those from the marginalized segments of the society. With no job and this seemingly impossible dream , I was starting a new leaf of life, one that was full of risks: rejection, frustration and even starvation.

And that's when I and World Pulse collided. Two things happened very quickly: