We fought long and hard to have our voices heard
Through the years, we struggled and learned
We made alliances with those in power
We found the feminists in government camps,
And some of us worked hard from within
We searched our souls and our lives
To make sure we walked the talk
Human rights, a family and a world without violence
We marched side by side and spoke our truth
We believed the rhetoric of partnership
We danced the logframe tango, we did the M&E
And we remember those feminists, women and men
Who created a space for us
We took that space, we defined it, we were credible
We believed in ourselves, we believed in them!
We changed the space, we changed our world,
Resources for gender equality!
Money to address men’s violence against women
Policies, money, theories of change, money, research, money
Value for money, outcomes – demonstrate or die.
But you need them all, and in proper order, with diagrams!
Short-term, medium-term, long-term, what-next-term?
Spoon-feed them – social change is NOT linear!
Change is MESSY – that is the point of the theory of change.
What you count now, may not really count.
Are the feminists within crowded out by gender experts?
Experts, more experts – but whose knowledge counts?
We fought against controlling behaviour by men,
To be controlled? Never believe anyone who calls themselves an expert.
There is a new game to learn, new boxes to tick,
The goal posts move – and they move with each new guru
If it looks like colonialism, smells like it, tastes like it, FEELS like it
It IS colonialism!
Yes, it dresses as gender expertise,
It masquerades as neutral, technical and professional
It has years of experience in many countries, here and there
“We are doing this to make you stronger”
Smash the pretence – it is patronising, it is colonialism!
Do this, it makes no sense – or you don’t get the money.
Thank me, ask me for advice, keep quiet – or you don’t get the money.
Change your analysis, anything can be “best practice” – just don’t criticise them!
Whose experience counts? Whose knowledge counts?
This poem was prompted by Gordon Peake’s post ‘Aid’s implementariat: national and invisible’.