At the heart of my vision for Jijaze is a vibrant, supportive community for women – a sisterhood if you will.
When I’ve told them about Jijaze and tried to explain my vision for it, some people have pointed out that there are lots of online communities for women already, that they feel overwhelmed even by what is already out there, and questioned why I would want to create another Facebook group, more threads to keep up with and so on.
My response is that the community I want to build with Jijaze is different (I think) and it is certainly more than a Facebook Group (though we do have one for our ChangeMaker Members).
I want to build community that is specifically for women who are deeply committed to working for change in the world, a community that supports and sustains them, in particularly in the following ways:
- By allowing women to share their change making stories and learn from and encourage one another. That’s women from different places in the world & different backgrounds I hope. The idea being that learning from each other enriches, connects and inspires us. The podcast is one starting point for that – but we plan to encourage more of sharing of stories and learning from each other in both our ChangeMaker Facebook group and our ChangeLeader CAVE as well.
- By building a genuine sense of community, of having women at your back – we want members to be able to come to the community for support & encouragement.
- By being a welcoming and supportive place to ask questions and have discussions about the issues that matter
- Through sharing common challenges & creating resources to help you overcome them as well as, signposting to other resources we think are helpful as well.
Committing to change making is hard work. In my experience there are many challenges, questions & obstacles on the way & that’s why I wanted to create a space that is dedicated to this kind of working, to women who set the intention to be Change Makers in whatever the are doing or working on.
Yes, I know there are lots of other communities online that allude to this but many of them are focuses on being online business communities, creating change of your individually as a business owner or for your clients perhaps through what you do with them. The kind of change making Jijaze is focused on is more radical that that. It starts from a passionate belief in social justice, the need for a more equitable world and the possibility for systemic change + a desire to support change making women and a belief a that women who are working for change need support for themselves (which is what Jijaze provides) in order to be the best ChangeMakers they can be.
So whilst we absolutely welcome into this community, women who want to make a difference through socially minded business this is not a business community as such, Instead this is a community created for for women who are – or aspire to be – Change Makers and the questions and ideas we will be grappling with will be focused on that. There’s plenty for us to discuss & share on that topic and there is plenty of business specific stuff for women elsewhere.
Agnes, our web developer and I put a lot of energy in to creating the website -as it needed to be there and function in order for this community to exist but what faces me and the Team I am working with on this now is more daunting in a way because this phase is about telling people what we are doing, explaining what we are offering and inviting them to join us.
In short it’s community building and I’m realising more and more that it requires me to get out of my own way and stay really clear and focused about the benefits that I believe this community offers – rather than listening to the voices in my head worrying about whether people will ‘like’ what I’ve created.
After all this community is a work in progress and will only become vibrant and supportive (in the way I envisage it) if I allow and facilitate it to grow and blossom.
I’m planning to write these diaries every week over the coming months as we work to build this community. And I’m going to share about what actions I and the team of women I am working with are taking to build community. What’s working & what isn’t. How the process of community building is challenging and surprising us and so on. I plan to reflect on what it means to build supportive and vibrant community online. I’d love to hear what you think?
This series continues over at www.jijaze.com/blog