“Members of the Malindi Rights Forum (in the Malindi community, north of Mombasa, Kenya ) shared their experiences of resistance in defending their territory and we talked about similar experiences in Colombia, Guatemala, and Thailand. We observed that aggression patterns, victims, and non-state perpetrators (such as private companies) are similar across continents.
An old man, surprised at our stories, wondered ‘” So, if we are fighting against the same patterns, how can we find an answer together? ”
Statement of a Member of PI mission in the Malindi community in Kenya prior to the November 2013 Global Meeting.
As in previous years, PI held a Global meeting with its teams from the field and from its Brussels headquarters. This year, Kenyan colleagues were the hosts and were responsible for making sure the stay in Mombasa was a success.
The meeting took place from 18th to 22nd November 2013 and was an opportunity for teams from Colombia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Thailand to exchange and compare their experiences, strategies, and knowledge, acquired working in the field, on security management and the protection of defenders.
Prior to the meeting, some of the PI team had the opportunity to visit one of the communities the Kenyan team works with. This provided a direct example of a community threatened by the construction of large-scale projects and allowed the team to make comparisons with other contexts in which PI operates and to elaborate a joint analysis of protection strategies.
During the mission, different topics were addressed, such as the conceptual framework for research on community protection networks and the methods to be used. The psychosocial care of human rights defenders, including PI members, was also discussed, as well as the use of outcome mapping to strengthen the monitoring of the work done with communities and civil society organizations.
Furthermore, we discussed the contents of a “Facilitators Guide on Protection for Human Rights Defenders” which will be published in early 2014 and will gather PI teams’ field experiences and knowledge on training.
The Global Meeting is following the Latin American Regional Meeting held in August in Guatemala. The objective of this meeting was to advance research on the functioning of community protection networks in rural or isolated areas.
Protection Desk Guatemala presented its experience working on these topics with the La Puya community, to whom the first research results had already been delivered. But above all, PD-Guatemala encouraged the rest of the field offices to engage in and enrich their research, after sharing the comments and impressions of the members of this community who became aware of the benefits of further strengthening their protection networks.
It is planned that the overall conclusion of the research will be shared at the end of 2014, in order to enable a better understanding of and support for community protection efforts undertaken by defenders.
Our goal is that the research findings on community protection networks serve the Malindi community in Kenya and many others across all continents to answer the question … how can we find an answer together?