Honoring the Life & Work of Barbara Bowen
Barbara Bowen Memorial Dialogue Scholarship
Barbara Bowen (1946-2012) for 8 years from 2000 to 2008 was the National Coordinator of the Organizers’ Forum, and it’s only staff member. Her time facilitating and organizing the domestic and international dialogues for the Organizers’ Forum came after a career as an organizer for social justice for more than 30 years with VISTA, National Welfare Rights Organization, Children’s Foundation, Massachusetts Fair Share, ACORN, United Labor Unions, Project Vote, SEIU, and other organizations and campaigns working all over the country. Her career, character, commitment, and courage represent what is best among community and labor organizers dedicated to achieving change in terms of social and economic justice.
Almost 300 organizers have participated in the various dialogues of the Organizers’ Forums over more than a decade. With knowledge of Barb’s tragically premature passing and long time contribution to the dialogues which many organizers have often described as transforming and transcending experiences, several suggested that a Barbara Bowen Memorial Dialogue Scholarship be organized to assist other organizers in being able to attend future dialogues.
Contributions to the Barbara Bowen Memorial Dialogue Scholarship can be made by sending a check directly to the Organizers’ Forum c/o Labor Neighbor Research & Training Center at PO Box 3924 New Orleans, LA 70177. All contributions are appreciated and are tax exempt.
Special Thanks to Mary Rowles for pulling together all of the minutes of this great dialogue.
The Organizers Forum visited Cairo during a transition period when the excitement of overthrowing the regime had started to evaporate in the face of the monumental task of nation-building.
The revolution had affected many people with a new sense of agency. We met women whose first organizing efforts were neighbourhood protection committees, and who went on to start up women’s organizations; we met organizers, dispirited under the Mubarak regime who were now charged with new optimism that community organizing might lead to real change where before it would dead -end in bribery. Tahrir square revolutionaries were forming new networks and civic organizations.
Like all most industrial countries Egypt is facing the challenge of economic development and job creation. Activists are looking for ways to end the economic inequalities, high unemployment and low wages that were partly responsible for the explosion of anti-Mubarak animosity in Tahrir Square last January.
But Egypt has particular challenges that we heard about in meetings with community organizers, presidential candidates, young revolutionaries, unions and workers’ centres. They told us that before even beginning to address the deep social and economic problems Egyptians must work out new power-sharing arrangements, new election rules, and an orderly transfer of power from military caretakers to civil authority. They must establish a clear relationship between religion and the state, and the role of religion in government. They must establish new attitudes and practices within the state apparatus, including respect for civic freedoms; and they must deal with pervasive corruption.
Some young revolutionaries are looking to take their place in new power structures. Women’s organizations will be looking to a new government to create a legal context for women’s rights and to assist in shifting cultural attitudes and practices. Minority populations are looking for state protection. Workers and unions demand freedom of association, free collective bargaining, the right to strike, and freedom from state reprisals, interference and control.
During our visit political elites were trying to negotiate ,with the SCAF, the new rules for elections that must precede the shift to a civil government. The nation- building will depend on achieving change throughout a society distorted by the political power of one family, expressed through the state. Mubarkak is gone but the attitudes and practices of the regime remain.
|Ways and impacts of supporting the informal waste workers|
Speed and magnitude of population growth and urbanisation in most developing countries overburden local and national administrations. They are not able to provide basic waste management services to their population, especially the increasing number of urban poor. By burning and inadequate dumping of waste, health hazards and environmental degradation threaten local communities and valuable resources are wasted.
It is often the informal sector who steps in to fill the gap of inadequate supply of municipal service and to make value of waste materials. Studies suggest that about 1% of the population in developing countries lives of informal waste collection, sorting and recycling. Informal actors undertake activities in a legal grey zone without employee protection or binding contracts with companies or municipalities. However, these people often work under conditions that are harmful to the environment and to their health. Child work is frequent in the informal sector. Through its diverse activities the informal sector has a significant economic and ecologic importance on the overall solid waste management system.