North End Land Trust 
Working together with a group of people to ask the question: what is the role of a community-led organization in setting aside land and property for public good, particularly affordable housing but not only. Possibly community gardens, affordable rental space for community agencies.

We're in a neighbourhood, the North end of Halifax where gentrification is a serious issue. We're interested in ensuring development without displacement and linking it to neighbourhood employment and community building.

Tenants are in dire living situations and are being displaced. Those on assistance can't afford to live on the $535 stipend they're given so it cuts into grocery money, other things. There are community agencies that are looking for places to rent. Non profits that are losing or unable to upkeep their properties. How to safeguard and watchdog and develop opportunities for and by the community? Then there are those in the community who might be able to donate some of their property or equity. Who can pay market rates and give back to the community to ensure affordability. Maybe even a connection with rural land trusts where swaps are possible.

One thing I've learned from my work in economic organizing. The strongest alternative economic models are built on community networks. Wide networks. The community land trust models seems to have had the most success in providing affordable housing and community building and accountability. We'll have to see what works in our neighbourhood, political context, housing situation.

It's the beginning of discussions and connections that just take time. These aren't technical problems. It's about finding common ground to move forward in the same direction.

100,000 Poets for Change 
Proud to be part of this chorus of voices speaking out on the American election. Click on the link below to read the poems.
  |  related link
Haiku 
It's hard to hold mist.
Rather, burn off like fog. Sit,
Grin. Let the sky cleave.

Written during the Wisdom of EveryDay Life sessions at the Shambhala Centre, Halifax with Bob and Linda.


Research on Women's Economic Empowerment 
Leading a team through Universalia Management Group (Montreal) to assess GrOW research on women's economic empowerment funded by IDRC, DFID (UKAid) and Hewlett Foundation. Over 30 research institutions in 50 countries.

The definition of WEE is "far more than women’s ability to compete equally in existing markets, or than the beneficial outputs of their contribution to growth; it should include women’s access to and control over economic resources, access to decent work, control over their own time and meaningful participation in economic decision-making at all levels from the household to international institutions. In turn, WEE will only be achieved in cooperation with progress in other areas of gender equality like women’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, meaningful participation in political decision-making and freedom from violence " (AWID, FEMNet, Gender and Development Network).

Most of the research entails a partnership between North-based and South-based universities or research institutions. There is a wide range from randomized control trials to mixed methods, participatory and feminist research. Three broad aims: quality research; policy uptake and capacity building of in-country researchers. Still very much in process but important questions are being raised about what quality evidence is and how it can best be used to influence thinking, policy and practice.

Sisters Ink work on Financial and Reproductive Health Education for Youth and Children 
Building on what often works best informally- trust, learning, mentoring and play- we have created a social enterprise that challenges the tired divides between North-South as well as face-to-face and e-mentoring, between rigor and access. We play with solutions across boundaries and disciplines.

We have diverse experience in terms of context, language, nature of expertise and focus on academe, practice, policy work. This is a social business that brings independent consultants from around the world to work on contracts related to capacity building, gender justice and economic empowerment in the broadest sense.

We are currently working on a contract for FHI360 reviewing financial education programs and studies for HIV/AIDs vulnerable youth, orphans and vulnerable children. Our team is comprised of Meryem F, a Moroccan gender specialist, Sabrina S, a Swiss economics professor, Ida M, a Zambian HIV-Aids organizer and specialist, Patricia R, a Bolivian economist and me. One financial education program in Uganda working through youth clubs captures the situation well -"Women’s empowerment has three dimensions that are interrelated: political, economic, and control over one’s body." These financial education programs are combining financial literacy with awareness around body, sexuality, marriage. Early (often forced) marriage, teen pregnancy, forced sex are some of the biggest risks for girls in the Global South.


Next