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 Solidarity Activism

“Solidarity” is an increasingly common term in our societies. We talk about sister solidarity, intergenerational solidarity, solidarity with striking workers, solidarity with striking children and youth who demand climate justice, solidarity with the poor and marginalised, solidarity with the politically oppressed, solidarity with refugees, solidarity with victims of terror, solidarity with countries in crisis ­– and so on.

 

It is clear that “solidarity” doesn’t mean the same to everyone. People define solidarity in different ways. It is used in different contexts, by different people and for different reasons. In this post, we will outline how we see the role of international volunteers as people who work together with the hosting communities on equal terms, to achieve long-term aims.

The way we see it

The way we see it, solidarity ensures there is a deep and consistent commitment to long-term change, community-centred and improvement. It can take many different forms but regardless of the cause and circumstances, the core principles are the same.

Every person has the wit, skills, and capacity to solve problems. People come from different backgrounds, have different experiences and worldviews but this doesn’t mean some are less capable than others – we all have strengths and weaknesses which we need to use to tackle problems successfully.

By relying on communication, cooperation, respect, and acknowledgment of different values solidarity activists work shoulder to shoulder with communities to achieve positive progress.

 

Solidarity Activism: Side by side

The most important principle for the work of solidarity activists is working together with the people – shoulder to shoulder and side by side. There is a common misconception when it comes to solidarity and people confuse it with charity which is a different and not so effective method of “helping the poor”.

Visiting, observing, and handing things out to “the poor” has no positive effect. Instead of doing something to create a change of the situation it is humiliating and presents a false feeling of accomplishment for those doing it.

 

Solidarity Activists: Together for progress

Being part of the solidarity activism movement means teaching, cooperating, building, developing, maintaining, and much more – all of this in different areas of work which need as many people participating as possible. It is about overcoming obstacles together, beating odds for success, and making progress with long-term effects.

And progress like this does not happen by chance – it requires hard work and persistence.

This type of work involves cooperating with small-scale, farmers, women in villages, families trying to secure the health and education of their children for example.

 

It’s about “we” – not “me”

Despite the many aspects of solidarity activism and the various areas associated with it, there is one essential thing to always have in mind. It is not about “helping the poor/underprivileged” but about working with people despite any differences – on equal terms.

Assuming you are the expert who knows everything better than the community you attempt to assist is a grave mistake and an undermining of the dignity of others. Who is to know what needs to be done and which approach might be best – someone from the community who has lived and learned there all their life or a newcomer assuming their experience and different lifestyle is enough to make a change?

A very important point of solidarity activism is that it helps the people involved understand what they are capable of achieving. It sheds light on the possibilities for great results and the importance of cooperation and communication as tools for change.

 

A human and political experience

Solidarity activists use their vision for the future, past experience, ideas, personal skills, and hard work in order to accomplish this change. Digging in the fields, making planting beds together with small scale farmers, assembling water pipes, promoting nutrition and health, finding sponsors for projects – the tasks are diverse and use different skills and qualities of the people involved. This is another reason why working with different people is important for the success of the projects.

Solidarity Activism is a human and political experience of life-changing value. It is the intention, mindset, and progressive character that make you become a solidarity activist.<

As a Take 10 Volunteer you will be working at a project run by one of the Humana People to People NGOs. These NGOs share the same foundation for all the work that they do, namely “solidary humanism” – a practical community based humanism founded on the concept of solidarity. You can read more about Humana People to People at humana.org.

Solidarity activism
We must stand together united in solidarity against the targeting, demonisation, and vilification of any group of people.

~ Linda Sarsour

Solidarity or charity?

Solidarity or Charity?

Read about our take on “charity” in this post. 

Humana People To People India

HPP India is an NGO that strives to unite the people of India and create positive development. They do this by implementing projects transferring knowledge, skills, and capacity to communities that need assistance to fight poverty and other on-going issues.

Learn More

DAPP Malawi

DAPP Malawi believes that poverty can be overcome through adopting a coordinated, community wide approach to development.

A combination of  projects within education, adult literacy, improved livelihoods, increased production, health, women’s empowerment and environmental protection is implemented.

Learn More

What skills can I develop as an International Development Volunteer?

Through the different periods and elements of the programme you have the possibility to develop the following skills:

  • Written & Verbal Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership 
  • Self-Reflection
  • Confidence
  • Public Speaking
  • Decision Making
  • Investigative Research
  • Proactive Problem Solving
  • Project Management
Solidarity activism
We don't learn from experience. We learn from reflecting on experience. ~ John Dewey

Solidarity is a widely-used term in our societies. We talk about sister solidarity, intergenerational solidarity, solidarity with striking workers, solidarity with striking children and youth who demand climate justice, solidarity with the poor and marginalised, solidarity with the politically oppressed, solidarity with refugees, solidarity with victims of terror, solidarity with countries in crisis ­– and so on.

 

It is clear that “solidarity” doesn’t mean the same to everyone. People define solidarity in different ways. It is used in different contexts, by different people and for different reasons. In this post, we will outline how we see the role of international volunteers as people who work together with the hosting communities on equal terms, to achieve long-term aims.

Solidarity activism

 

The way we see it

The way we see it, solidarity ensures there is a deep and consistent commitment to long-term change, community-centred and improvement. It can take many different forms but regardless of the cause and circumstances, the core principles are the same.

Every person has the wit, skills, and capacity to solve problems. People come from different backgrounds, have different experiences and worldviews but this doesn’t mean some are less capable than others – we all have strengths and weaknesses which we need to use to tackle problems successfully.

By relying on communication, cooperation, respect, and acknowledgment of different values solidarity activists work shoulder to shoulder with communities to achieve positive progress.

 

Solidarirty in action

Solidarity Activism: Side by side

The most important principle for the work of solidarity activists is working together with the people – shoulder to shoulder and side by side. There is a common misconception when it comes to solidarity and people confuse it with charity which is a different and not so effective method of “helping the poor”.

Visiting, observing, and handing things out to “the poor” has no positive effect. Instead of doing something to create a change of the situation it is humiliating and presents a false feeling of accomplishment for those doing it.

Solidarity Activists: Together for progress

Being part of the solidarity activism movement means teaching, cooperating, building, developing, maintaining, and much more – all of this in different areas of work which need as many people participating as possible. It is about overcoming obstacles together, beating odds for success, and making progress with long-term effects.

Solidarity in action

And progress like this does not happen by chance – it requires hard work and persistence.

This type of work involves cooperating with small-scale, farmers, women in villages, families trying to secure the health and education of their children for example.

It’s about “we” – not “me”

Despite the many aspects of solidarity activism and the various areas associated with it, there is one essential thing to always have in mind. It is not about “helping the poor/underprivileged” but about working with people despite any differences – on equal terms.

Assuming you are the expert who knows everything better than the community you attempt to assist is a grave mistake and an undermining of the dignity of others. Who is to know what needs to be done and which approach might be best – someone from the community who has lived and learned there all their life or a newcomer assuming their experience and different lifestyle is enough to make a change?

Solidarity Activism

A very important point of solidarity activism is that it helps the people involved understand what they are capable of achieving. It sheds light on the possibilities for great results and the importance of cooperation and communication as tools for change.

 

A human and political experience

Solidarity activists use their vision for the future, past experience, ideas, personal skills, and hard work in order to accomplish this change. Digging in the fields, making planting beds together with small scale farmers, assembling water pipes, promoting nutrition and health, finding sponsors for projects – the tasks are diverse and use different skills and qualities of the people involved. This is another reason why working with different people is important for the success of the projects.

Solidarity Activism

Solidarity Activism is a human and political experience of life-changing value. It is the intention, mindset, and progressive character that make you become a solidarity activist.<

As a Take 10 Volunteer you will be working at a project run by one of the Humana People to People NGOs. These NGOs share the same foundation for all the work that they do, namely “solidary humanism” – a practical community based humanism founded on the concept of solidarity. You can read more about Humana People to People at humana.org.

Humana People To People India

HPP India is an NGO that strives to unite the people of India and create positive development. They do this by implementing projects transferring knowledge, skills, and capacity to communities that need assistance to fight poverty and other on-going issues.

Learn More

DAPP Malawi

DAPP Malawi believes that poverty can be overcome through adopting a coordinated, community wide approach to development.

A combination of  projects within education, adult literacy, improved livelihoods, increased production, health, women’s empowerment and environmental protection is implemented.

Learn More

What skills can I develop as an International Development Volunteer?

Through the different periods and elements of the programme you have the possibility to develop the following skills:

  • Written & Verbal Communication
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Leadership 
  • Self-Reflection
  • Confidence
  • Public Speaking
  • Decision Making
  • Investigative Research
  • Proactive Problem Solving
  • Project Management

Read more about aspects of responsible volunteering

Preparation is key

Preparation is key

Examining your role as an international volunteer is important. Getting into listening & learning mode requires discussion & specialised training.

Reflecting & Sharing

Reflecting & Sharing

Reflecting on your experience is an important aspect of any volunteer programme. It is highly valuable not only for you but also for others. What did you learn from reality?

5 Responsible Volunteering Tips

5 Responsible Volunteering Tips

Are you researching how to go about volunteering abroad in a responsible & ethical way? In this post we share some resources that we think could be useful for you – at least we hope so!

Advice from an ex-volunteer

Advice from an ex-volunteer

“Take your time. Prepare yourself. The longer, the better. Be realistic about your skills and use them wisely. And finally: Work with people. Solve problems shoulder to shoulder.”

Sustainability & volunteering

Sustainability & volunteering

Sustainability reflects “the ability to continue a defined behaviour indefinitely”. A development project needs to ensure that all factors involved – environmental, social and economic – are in balance.

Solidarity or Charity?

Solidarity or Charity?

On International Charity Day we ponder the differences between charity and solidarity. Charity, according to the United Nations, plays an important role in bringing about positive change. Is this true?

Dear visitor


In these precarious times, we stay committed to extending our solidarity and support to marginalised communities who, once again, will bear the brunt of another worldwide crisis.

Right now, we are reassessing how we can do just that. We aim to start new teams in August. The world will need all good forces who are willing and able to do whatever is needed. Let’s unite and get to work as soon as possible.

Stay safe and best wishes!
The Take 10 Volunteer communications and admissions team