Human Rights and Peace internship is one of the WSCF AP’s programs to produced much needed human rights experts for the SCMs in the national and regional level. It is always expected that the interns will return back to their respective national movement to share what he learned from the program by contributing in their movement’s local work and to spark an interest for our SCM to contribute in the ecumenical movement as a whole by becoming future leaders.
This year’s internship program was held at the Documentation for Action Group in Asia (DAGA) – Hong Kong in the person of Mr. Carlo Bacwaden from SCM-Philippines.
Below is his reflection on his internship program.
A Summary of My Experiences as DAGA Intern
The Documentation for Action Groups in Asia (DAGA) is an institution formed to serve ecumenical action groups in the area of information solidarity—by collecting, analyzing and sharing information for action. DAGA focuses on issues of peace and justice from a grassroots perspective, of which, it aims to empower grassroots people through sharing of information, research, and analysis between action groups. My work in DAGA was mainly focused on advocating human rights issues arising from the Asian tsunami, namely: the sharing of stories of tragedy, heroism, and of hope; exploring alternative methods of democratizing reconstruction; giving voice to the issues of the marginalized; to look at the issues of aid, community involvement, and government policies; and exploring community building through a grassroots (people’s) approach.
Aside from this, my time with DAGA has also allowed me to be involved in advocacy of the myriad issues presented by globalization and the WTO, to work alongside the Christian Conference of Asia and several other non-government organizations in highlighting the difficult issues confronting developing countries over global trade policies. It has enabled me to take part in a large gathering of faith communities and social movements where alternatives to globalization were discussed, as well as avenues towards social justice and economic sustainability, through a sharing of experiences and knowledge between faiths, civil society, and sectors of the international community. It has also enabled me to march in solidarity with peoples of different countries in airing their voice against the neo-liberalization policies of the WTO, interacting firsthand with those most affected, hearing their testimonies, demands, and hopes for the future.
If I were to describe my time in DAGA in one word, it would be “challenging”. Challenging not just in the sense of honing one’s personal skills to better do one’s job, but also to relate one’s self with peoples of other faiths, beliefs, and cultures; for it is in relating with others that we begin to understand not just the differences but also discovering the commonalities shared between peoples, and together work for transformation based on the ethics of the common good.
I have been witness to common people taking up the struggles of the grassroots, even SCMers, like myself, have taken the cause of the marginalized and made it their own. It is my hope that more campaigns and community-based programs to advocate the issues of the grassroots be made in order to further the cause of international solidarity.
Long live international solidarity!
Carlo M. Bacwaden