Cecilia Millán

"The strategies of this sector are not the same as those of the feminist movement and/or social movements"

A Chilean/Canadian feminist, she knows NGOs inside out and has been working for more than 20 years with managerial responsibilities in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. In recent years, she has focused on leading processes of change and transformation in NGOs, specifically supporting social organisations, assisting in strategic planning, designing programs with a feminist approach and introducing actions and tools to improve their operation. She will lead the advisory work at The Sherwood Way.

What do you think are the current challenges in the cooperation sector?

The inadequate reading of the global situation, still from a colonialist, hetero-patriarchal capitalist perspective. Very closed within their own agendas (and those of their donors, governments, states) that are far removed from the agendas of the feminist movement and/or social movements that in general propose alternatives to the current model and offer a counter-hegemonic way of thinking, feeling and acting.

As a consequence, the strategies of this sector (i.e. training, education, capacity building, etc.) are not the same as those of the feminist movement and/or social movements (i.e. political advocacy, street advocacy, more strategic litigation, or education for political-cultural change, or for institutional processes). 

The discourse that supports and strengthens the women’s movement does not match the magnitude of financial support. Inadequate funding, very limited to unrealistic deadlines, and a series of conditions in the accountability systems that are causing the recipient organizations to collapse and that do not help transparency or the expected impact. Concentration of funding in consortiums that concentrate power and claim to represent the movements to the detriment, in many cases, of their autonomy.

How do you consider they should be faced?

First and foremost, the sector must make a critical analysis from its hetero-patriarchal, global capitalist point of view and above all from a dominant culture that values its own knowledge over that of » others».

At the same time, it must begin to understand the keys to the decolonization of international aid, which were pointed out years ago by the sociology, anthropology and philosophy of the South. The most prominent among them are: deconstruction of the «other», of identities and of the category of women, of epistemic violence and discursive colonialism, etc.

Accept also that at present the South is a massive area of resistance (i.e. the struggle of Latin American women for the decriminalization of abortion; for safe spaces without violence against women; for the defense of land, territory and the environment, etc.) in order to be able to position ourselves horizontally, on the same plane, as separate peers and start a realistic dialogue.

Concentrate and focus attention on women who have created and preserved cultures, who know about living well and enjoying life, about care and reproduction, about the environment, etc.

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