We have seen extraordinary leadership from community leaders around the world in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, The Movement for Community-led Development hosted an event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to highlight and celebrate this leadership, the role of women, and the importance of decentralization in crisis response.
“Experience has shown that when women lead, it transforms. It makes a crisis an opportunity,” said Bineta Diop, a member of THP’s Global Board of Directors, during the event.
Maribel Gallardo Escobedo, Oaxaca Regional Coordinator for The Hunger Project-Mexico, echoed Ms. Diop’s statement, “Women’s leadership [in the local response to COVID-19] was really important. They were the ones who started getting all the measures in place, taking care of the families, seeing what needed to be done.”
Around the world, the women we work with at The Hunger Project have stepped forward to lead their communities during the crisis. In many places, it has not been easy and many of the women have had to harness this crisis as an opportunity to show their ability to contribute to their village.
“To have women’s voices heard is a fight that has been happening all over the world,” said Ms. Gallardo Escobedo. “Particularly in the Mazateca region, indigenous women were not heard.” Now through the work they are doing to create self-reliant municipalities, “they have discovered what they are able to contribute for the betterment of the community. They have created these spaces where they are able to make their voices heard.”
We have also seen the importance of community leadership in response to COVID-19 in all of our Program Countries.
“Africa was ready, even though everyone made the prediction that Africa will be more infected [by COVID-19], but I think that the fact that we have experienced many other pandemics helped us at the community-level to address this issue,” said Ms. Diop. “For example, in the Ebola crisis, the communities were the ones to fight it. They were the ones taking back and making sure they partner with the government to defeat Ebola in West Africa.”
Ms. Diop reinforced the need for decentralization as she looked to the future, as we rebuild after the pandemic, “Building back better is shifting the power from where it is at the top and bringing it down to the community. It is the smart thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. You need to make sure the transformation is not just on top. You can think global, but you have to act local,” she said.
Watch the full event below!
The Hunger Project is a proud member and Secretariat of the Movement for Community-led Development. The Movement is a coalition of organizations committed to the success of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that calls for enhancing the power and capacity of communities to take charge of their own development.