The Demagogue 
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 09:39 PM - Poetry and Writing
like those before him, less blood
or a different kind, different
ceremony but similar use of timing
and Other as when Europe swelled
from pogroms and picket lines.
I donít mean to equate brutalities
but history is bound by desire
spit and gut.
You can slay an order
when we're grinding our teeth.
The right mix of wind and kindle
a clear enough path
to unleash the legs of flame.
They knew, they know
fear is bloody heady-
we donít care for details.
Weíre tired and
when youíre tired
the smell of body
on altar delivers.
Hot front, full speed
seemed to come from nowhere.


Haiku 
Saturday, November 26, 2016, 08:20 PM - Poetry and Writing
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 
Wednesday, November 2, 2016, 09:36 AM - The Solidarity Economy & Microfinance
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 womenís ability to compete equally in existing markets, or than the beneficial outputs of their contribution to growth; it should include womenís 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 womenís 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 
Monday, October 3, 2016, 10:56 AM - The Solidarity Economy & Microfinance
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 -"Womenís empowerment has three dimensions that are interrelated: political, economic, and control over oneís 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.

*Ship Festival, Finland 
Thursday, August 4, 2016, 03:56 PM - The Solidarity Economy & Microfinance
Just back from a Social Innovation/Entrepreneurship festival in Finland. So exciting! It was a bit of a Dragon's den format where I was both a judge and a mentor. Invited by Momal Mustaq, an inspiring friend and social entrepreneur. She started a platform for women around the world to share new freedoms in mobility. It's called Freedom Traveller. See below.

Some of the start-ups at the festival included:

- a mobile phone app that turns it into a hearing aid
- a platform to connect Syrians to volunteers and agencies in Germany
- a platform that connects foodies to informal kitchens
- building materials made from plant cellulose
- a gaming type of app that allows people with bi-polar to detect their own early warning signs for depression

Important to ask what types of social problems businesses can really address. The limits of this frame and approach. There is a "New Public" where citizens and social businesses have stepped in to fill gaps where private sector or government have failed. At best, we find creative paths and new roles. At worst, it is offloading what should be a public function. Business will never be the best tool for ensuring justice and accountability. We still need activism for that.


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