Strategies for protection and collective care in times of the COVID pandemic

Urgent Action Fund

01 March 2022

Centering care is our ethical-political commitment. It is an approach that we continue to build and nurture internally and in our accompaniment to the femininist movements in the region. Through collective reflections, we understand that care is a constant process with different meanings and that it is nourished by diverse understandings and world views.
In our Rapid Response Grants program, we seek to support the sustainability of movements, as well as to accompany processes of collective care. The global crisis and uncertainty unleashed in 2020 made us re-think and re-consider what we know about care.

In 2021, we organized virtual meetings to deepen and broaden our reflections on care. We listened to, shared and learned from the protection and care strategies developed by activists, women human rights defenders and feminists during the COVID confinement that intensified ongoing social and health crises. We organized collective spaces with members of 16 organizations from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Through these reflections, we observed how women, trans and non-binary people and gender dissidents across the region found the possibility of coming together and create collectively, despite feeling fear, mistrust and frustration. Many of the activists we spoke with shared experiences of re-discovering new ways of breathing and of connecting with the body and life.
The collectives who participated in these meetings shared important learnings with us. We now know that it is not just about surviving in times of urgency, but that it is necessary to consider the particularity of psycho-emotional aspects in the processes of defending life.

During the pandemic, it was important for the collectives to create other forms of communication and accompaniment. Social isolation highlighted the need to rethink communication strategies beyond the digital and to find different ways to develop practices of protection and accompaniment.

During this time, it was important for activists and collectives to sustain self-care and care of others by relying on traditional and ancestral knowledge, and wisdom. But also to remember that in times of crisis it is necessary to create happiness and joy.

The experiences and reflections shared in these moments were documented in a graphic recording.

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