As humans, we are inherently social creatures. We thrive on connection, community, and the sense of belonging that comes with being part of something bigger than ourselves. This is particularly true when it comes to driving social and environmental change. Building a sustainable movement requires the collective efforts of many individuals working together towards a common goal.
In this article, I’ll share my personal experience with building a sustainable movement in Angola and the power of community in driving social and environmental change.

The birth of a sustainable movement

The power of community is often overlooked when it comes to driving social and environmental change. Many people feel like they don’t have the power to make a difference on their own and that they need to rely on governments, corporations, and other organizations to make meaningful changes. However, my experience with building a sustainable movement in Angola has shown me that the power of community cannot be underestimated.

It all started with a small group of like-minded individuals who shared a common passion for creating a more sustainable future for Angola. We started by organizing small events and workshops to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable living and the impact that our daily choices have on the environment. As we continued to work together and grow our network, we realized that we had the power to make a significant impact on our community and the environment.

One of the key lessons that I have learned is that community engagement is essential for creating lasting change. When people come together and work towards a common goal, they become more invested in the outcome and are more likely to stay engaged in the long term. This is particularly important when it comes to social and environmental issues, as these are complex problems that require sustained effort and commitment.

Another important aspect of building a sustainable movement is the power of storytelling. When people can see how their actions and choices are making a difference, it inspires them to continue to take action and make positive changes in their own lives. By sharing stories of success and the impact that our work is having, we can inspire others to get involved and help drive change in their own communities.

Finding my community

As we started to build our network, we quickly realized that one of the key factors in driving change was community engagement. We began to organize events and workshops that aimed to educate and raise awareness about environmental issues, and we were pleased to see that people were interested and eager to learn.

Through these events, we were able to connect with individuals and organizations who shared our passion for sustainable living and environmental activism. By working together, we were able to create a unified voice and advocate for change more effectively.

One of the key initiatives that emerged from our efforts was a focus on reducing plastic waste. We saw the negative impact that plastic waste was having on our environment, and we knew that we had to take action. We organized a series of events that aimed to educate the community about the dangers of plastic waste and provided practical solutions for reducing its use.

Through this campaign, we were able to engage with local businesses and convince them to adopt more sustainable practices, such as offering alternatives to single-use plastics. We also partnered with government agencies and other NGOs to implement policies and regulations that would encourage sustainable living.

Our success in reducing plastic waste inspired us to tackle other environmental issues, such as deforestation and pollution. We organized tree-planting events, clean-up campaigns, and educational workshops that aimed to raise awareness about these issues and inspire action.

Through these efforts, we were able to build a sustainable movement in Angola that has continued to grow and thrive. Today, our network of activists and volunteers is over 2,000 strong, and we continue to work towards our goal of creating a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

The Impact of Grassroots Activism

In order to create a lasting impact, we knew that we needed to focus on building a community of like-minded individuals who shared our vision for a more sustainable future. This was a daunting task, as we were starting from scratch, but we were committed to the cause.

We began by reaching out to people in our network who we thought would be interested in our cause, and invited them to participate in our events and activities. We also used social media to spread the word about our organization, and to connect with others who were passionate about the environment.

One of our first major events was a community cleanup day, where we invited people to join us in cleaning up a local park. We were overwhelmed by the response, as dozens of people showed up to help us with the cleanup. It was heartening to see so many people come together for a common cause, and it gave us the motivation to keep going.

From there, we continued to organize events and activities that focused on promoting sustainable living and environmental conservation. We held workshops on composting and recycling, and organized tree-planting initiatives to help combat deforestation. We also worked with local schools to incorporate environmental education into their curricula, and established partnerships with businesses and other organizations to promote sustainable practices.

“Do Lixo ao Luxo” com arte para sobreviver em Angola

As our community grew, so did our impact. We were able to organize larger events and initiatives and to reach more people with our message. We also began to see changes in the community, as more people began to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives.

One of our proudest achievements was the establishment of a community garden, which was built on a piece of unused land in the neighborhood. The garden provided a space for people to come together and grow their own food, while also promoting sustainable agriculture and reducing food waste.

Through our work, we have seen firsthand the power of community in driving social and environmental change. By working together, we can make a real difference in the world, and create a more sustainable future for generations to come.

Lessons learned and the way forward

Throughout my journey of building a sustainable movement in Angola, I have learned some valuable lessons that I believe can help others who are interested in making a positive impact in their own communities. Here are some of the most important lessons I have learned:

  1. Building a sustainable movement takes time: It’s important to understand that creating lasting change takes time, and it often requires a long-term commitment. Building a movement is not a one-time event, but rather a continuous effort to engage and educate people about the issues at hand. It’s important to stay focused and committed to the cause, even in the face of challenges and setbacks.
  2. Collaboration is key: No single person or organization can create a sustainable movement on their own. Collaboration and partnership with others is crucial to achieving a common goal. In my experience, working with like-minded individuals, organizations and communities has been essential to our success.
  3. Empowerment is essential: When people are empowered, they are more likely to take ownership of the issues and become active agents of change. Empowering people through education, training and resources has been a critical component of our work in building a sustainable movement in Angola.
  4. Celebrate progress: It’s important to recognize and celebrate small victories along the way. It can be easy to become discouraged when progress is slow, but it’s important to remember that change takes time, and every step forward is worth celebrating.
Building Momentum for the Future

As our movement grew, so did our ambitions. We began to set our sights on larger, more complex projects that required greater resources and coordination. One of our biggest undertakings was the establishment of a community garden, which would provide fresh produce to local residents and promote sustainable living practices. We also planned to build a recycling center, where we could collect and process waste materials to be reused and repurposed.

To accomplish these goals, we needed to engage with a broader network of supporters and partners. We reached out to local businesses and organizations, seeking donations and volunteers. We also established partnerships with government agencies, who could provide us with technical assistance and access to funding.

At the same time, we continued to work closely with members of the community, holding regular meetings and workshops to discuss our plans and solicit feedback. We recognized that our movement could only succeed with the support and participation of the people we were trying to help.

Through these efforts, we were able to build momentum and achieve some significant milestones. We secured funding for our community garden and broke ground on the project, with dozens of volunteers coming out to help. We also received a grant to build our recycling center, and were able to purchase equipment and hire staff to manage the operation.

But our work is far from finished. There are still many challenges ahead, and we must remain vigilant and committed to our cause. We will continue to engage with the community, seeking their input and support. We will work with our partners and allies to secure resources and overcome obstacles. And we will remain steadfast in our belief that a better future is possible, if we all work together to build it.

My experience with building a sustainable movement in Angola has taught me the power of community in driving social and environmental change. By working together towards a common goal, we can achieve great things and make a lasting impact on our communities and the world. If you’re passionate about sustainability and social justice, I encourage you to find your community and start making a difference today. Together, we can create a brighter, more sustainable future for all.

Creator of the slow living and sustainability blog: She is Awake and NGO founder.


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