Bekele is a Community Organiser with years of experience. His job is to build the power of civil society so that it holds the state and the market to account. As a human rights campaigner and advocate, Bekele believes we should do a lot to make the world a better place to live in; a place of tolerance and respect to the right to life. Bekele also writes about different issues on different platforms. This blog reflects Bekele’s personal views.
አለፎ አልፎ ይህችን ብሎግ ጎብኘት ያድርጓት።
10 years ago, I was at Citizens UK's National Training as one of the trainees.
10 years after I was back to observe how the training was delivered and share
my thoughts to colleagues and the trainees.
years ago, I was keen to learn organising and leadership. But didn’t know where
to go to have this training. I wanted to campaign, but didn’t know where to
start. I was only a lone wolf writing articles and commentaries about human
rights, current African affairs and refugee rights on many blogs and news
outlets. I would sit at different corners of coffee shops, libraries and other
places and voice my concerns. Cry loud about issues I was passionate about. At times,
I was also a mobiliser who organised many one-off actions. Even though I was very
loud online and tried my best to get noticed, there were many occasions I
didn't get noticed. That was action without a reaction. Reflecting on those days,
I now question why I had to act without getting somebody to react to my actions. It
was during those days that I attended The Independent Asylum Commission’s
public hearing at Lambeth Town Hall. That was the turning point in my life. Yes,
I saw organising in action and asked the then coordinator of the commission,
now Citizen UK’s deputy director, Jonathan Cox, that I wanted to go for the training.
I was given the chance and my journey into organising started subsequently.
Citizens UK National Training Participants July 2017
years after I was along with colleagues as one of the trainers tasked to
observe the training. This time the training was at Nottingham University. Yes,
the university where I was a Human Rights Defender Fellow in 2009 and studied
International Human Rights Law. When I returned to the University after 8 years
the first person I wanted to see was professor David Harris, a gentle giant who
helped me a lot in those days. I hence took time to meet my professor
and share with him the journey I have gone through ever since. True to say that
we all have distinct stories to share and these stories show how unique human beings are.
back to the 2017 Citizens UK National Training, we arrived at the university on
Sunday July 9 afternoon. Some came driving, others commuting; some traveling
solo and others in groups. Finding where we would rest and hide for a week was
the first task followed by introduction to the training, getting to know one-another
through rounds. This was followed by setting the ground rules and expectations. Lots of exciting moments. The training is as intensive as in the good old
days, but there was a lot to do in between sessions and hence sometimes
difficult to remember how far we have gone through the process.
Trainees leading Social action
happened in between including an action organised by the Nottingham Citizens,
the local chapter of Citizens UK and we were done by Friday July 14th.
the highlights are the trainees themselves. They were fully focused, highly engaged
and creative. Their social action was exceptional and by all standard the best.
on the training, each trainer tried her/his best to make sure their session
revolved around the argument. Do you want change? If your answer is YES, then
build your relational POWER, act and develop leaders through the process. Power, Power and
Power. Yes, power before action! In the words of Neil Jameson, “Power gives you
recognition. That is why you must organise permanently.” Neil’s advice to the
trainees was “Never give up, never give up, never give”. Yes, he is right to say that. We
can’t afford to give up. We either watch it happen or become part of it and
help it happen.