RWA Swaziland: Movement Building in Times of Crisis

The month of August and early September has seen the Swaziland Rural Women’s Assembly (SRWA) consolidating her 3rd national congress which presented to us the realities of building an organization in times of crisis. SRWA being one of the few women organizations left in the country has stood firmly on her fight against all women abuses. It was the experience of sister organizations that lessons were drawn and maximum efforts were put to do all that is possible to preserve the movement’s formation, build it to a capable force and cry out to others in the region who have understanding. 

This was happening at the backdrop of increased femicide cases in the country, the government doubling down on lies pretending to help women, galloping prices of food and an increasing alarm on climate change catastrophe. The movement is the answer and must survive and its existence shall consume all women within and without the movement. Threats to the movement cohesion don’t come from outside alone, sometimes within ourselves we harbor wrong elements. Organizational capture must be fought against as all social movements must be autonomous. This means organizations must be independent from state, political formations e.t.c Without an organization that makes decisions and acts on their own accord, the mandate will be diluted.

SRWA’s resilience has ensured that social transformation must emanate from the bottom upward. This has helped build popular organizations outside the centers of power such as the rich at the expense of the majority rural folk. This has stimulated a sense of responsibility, built confidence and helped amplify the voice that has been stifled by patriarchal powers. SRWA accepts that a lot of work is still necessary to transform our movement, society and end all women and girls abuses and patriarchal domination. The will to fight, the love of justice, the sisterhood/sisterly love is our surest way to sustain our popular movement because without this, our conditions, the system that oppresses us will never change.  

 It is after you have moved within communities when you start to appreciate the efforts of the movement since reading and hearing about it sometimes create mixed opinions. But all is cleared when you see the trust women placed in the movement whenever their troubles arise. From the small backyard gardens to the reporting of violation of women’s rights cases, community organizing as well as promotion of environmental friendly practices. One feels deeply indebted to SRWA and further advocate for platforms for experience sharing on movement building. 

There will never be anything for women without the efforts of women themselves and one is building this movement to be a powerful institution that is capable of providing all services needed by women. This institution will ensure that good practices are observed and the democratic values are being practiced internally in the organization. This is also to safeguard the direction of the movements if it is still moving towards realizing the overall goal which is to see a just society that respects women and girls and also prioritizes mother earth over profits. These can only be attained if there are democratic practices and accountability. 

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