Disclaimer: This blog has in fact been written by a human and not a mosquito (at least not in the literal sense).
If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent the night with a mosquito
As 16 days of Activism draws to an end, I as an individual and SHAKE as an organisation have had a lot of time to think, to learn and to grow. I've had perspective shifting, eye-opening conversations which have really got me thinking about my why and my purpose.
In our recent IG Live with Elizabeth Nyamayaro (Humanitarian, UN special advisor and all round inspiration), she shared an African Proverb 'If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent the night with a mosquito'. The proverb really resonated with me. As the founder of this small, yet incredible organisation, I often find myself questioning whether SHAKE truly has any impact. It's easy to get bogged down in social media followership, funding struggles (DONATEEEE) and this feeling of being one small organisation (and individual) in this very big world. Since the live (you can watch it here), I have ruminated on this proverb and it has honestly given me the boost that I needed. As someone who has lost the fight to mosquitos many a times (Dear God, protect me as I make another Voyage to Lagos), I am all too aware of how something small can have a colossal effect. Have you noticed how sometimes you can't even see them but their incessant buzzing will have you turning into a samurai warrior?!
If you impact just one life. That's impact.
Anyway, I digress. The point is, sometimes we feel too small to make a difference. We end up discouraged and waiting for influencers or celebrities to fight the fight. The fact is we're all influencers. We can all be activists. We can all have impact. If you impact just one life guess what? That's impact. So to all of you this is your chance to speak, to rise and change the narrative. Let's all be activists.
How you can #OrangeTheWorld.
When we talk about being activists, we often have this image of carrying placards down the streets of Lagos or chanting outside of No.10 Downing Street. Whilst these are all effective demonstrations of activism, there is no one way to be an activist. Activism is fluid and can take various forms.
1. Use your platform.
Be it your twitter, instagram, LinkedIn or WhatsApp status, use whatever platform you have to inform and impact change with your friends, family and community. In fact speak the language of our parents, aunties and uncles and send WhatsApp broadcast message.
2. Be in the know.
The phrase knowledge is power has much truth to it. Know the facts. Educate yourself about the causes, drivers and consequences of violence against women.
With knowledge comes great responsibility (yes I'm a sucker for quotes). With all the knowledge you acquired in step 2, teach others. Teach the next generation so that those toxic gender stereotypes are dismantled early on.
4. Get Involved.
Support organisations within the space. You can volunteer with them, share their messages on social media or organise a fundraiser. There are so many ways to get involved so why not get in contact with an organisation doing the work now?!
5. Challenge Rape Culture.
From the attitudes we have about gender identities to the policies we support in our communities, we can all take action to stand against rape culture.
6. Learn the Signs of Abuse.
One of the essential parts of being able to end violence is being able to identify it. Learn the signs and what steps you can take to help. There are many resources available to help identify the signs but also that survivors can be signposted to.
7. Stand Together
Together we can make a huge impact because truly together we are stronger. Reach out to the women in your lives, support them and check in on them.
To all my fellow mosquitos - Happy Human Rights Day.
Sending love and light,