Thursday, October 29, 2020
A conversation with Ekta Parishad National Coordinator Ramesh Sharma and Adivasi Lives Matter co-founder Ankush Vengurlekar, followed by a panel discussion with activists Valerie Traore (Burkina Faso) and Somboon Chungprampree “Moo” (Thailand).
Introduction of Speakers: 0:00 – 3:41
Presentations: 3:42 – 48: 27
Questions and Answers: 48:28 – 1:02:04
For 30 years, Ekta Parishad (“Unity Forum”) has engaged in a combination of community organizing, empowerment programs, and nonviolent civil resistance to improve the lives of rural poor people in India. As a movement, it comprises of 300,000 families in 15 provinces throughout the country. As an organization, it is an umbrella that includes over 2,000 trade unions, cooperatives, and social organizations.
Ramesh Sharma is Ekta Parishad’s National Coordinator. He and his team have continued in the Gandhian tradition of constructive resistance by building alternative institutions to increase self-reliance, while also engaging in rallies, marches, and other mobilization to achieve reforms, protect rights, and demand access to needed resources for villagers across India.
With grant support from ICNC, Ekta Parishad developed and recently released A Guide to Nonviolent Activism, which details their method of organizing. In this webinar, we engaged in dialogue with Ramesh Sharma, and his co-author Ankush Vengurlekar about Ekta Parishad and their new guide, and heard from a panel of activists from Thailand and Burkina Faso to share their reflections on their work and lessons from Ekta Parishad’s example.
Valerie Traore is the Founder and Executive Director of Niyel. Valerie has over fifteen years of professional experience in campaigning and advocacy on a wide range of issues including human rights and rights based programming, development, human security and conflict, politics and international relations. In that capacity Valerie has led the development and implementation of advocacy and mobilization strategy for over 20 international organizations.
Convinced that Africa’s development will go through the change created by African people themselves, she has trained over 500 campaigners and over 1500 volunteers and activists across the continent on advocacy and mobilization. Valerie has also been key to mobilization efforts on elections around the continent. She managed the development, structuring and launch of a political party in Tanzania, managed a presidential campaign in Guinea Bissau, participated in a presidential campaign in Burkina Faso, and trained a movement for participation in a municipal election in Senegal. She combines strategy development and implementation for grassroots mobilization, policy and political influencing on and offline, has worked in over 35 countries on four continents.
Valerie is from Burkina Faso, and is fluent in English, French and Portuguese.
Somboon “Moo” Chungprampree, Executive Secretary of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB), is a Thai social activist working for Peace and Justice in Asia. Moo’s activism began as a university student involved in movements which focused on Environmental Justice. He is a civic leader and serves on the Board of a number of international and national foundations.
Since 1997, Moo has held different positions with key Thai, regional, and international civil society organizations. Under the Thai-based Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), his focus has been with grassroots efforts to empower civil society in Burma, Laos PDR, Cambodia and Thailand.
Hardy Merriman is President and CEO of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). He has worked in the field of civil resistance for over 18 years, presenting at workshops for activists and organizers around the world; speaking widely about civil resistance movements with academics, journalists, and members of international organizations; and developing resources for practitioners and scholars. His writings have been translated into numerous languages. Most recently, Mr. Merriman co-authored the ICNC Special Report Preventing Mass Atrocities: From a Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) to a Right to Assist (RtoA) Campaigns of Civil Resistance (released May 2019).