What does social inclusion mean to Ripple Effect?
How many times have we heard that a stranger will form an impression of you, your character and your personality all within the first 60 seconds of meeting you?
Based on what you know, learn and experience, if a person is different to what you consider the ‘norm’, a gap appears. Whether it is Africa or the UK, how can we ensure this doesn’t happen; that everyone has access to information, public services, employment and the confidence to act on it?
We asked what being included means to a community group in Northern Uganda. They said it means being listened to, greeted, invited and treated fairly. These are all human qualities from a village in Uganda that you could hear anywhere in the world.
Ripple Effect is passionate about its vision of a confident and thriving rural Africa. Through my recent appointment as Gender & Social Inclusion Coordinator, I've seen how Ripple Effect is approaching their vision and mission. We want to ensure that our projects reach everyone in a community so no one is hidden, hopeless or hungry. We draw people into our projects who are traditionally excluded because of their sex, tribe, profession or disability.
The question is not IF we include but HOW we do it
At Ripple Effect, we are creating spaces and opportunity for people to be more confident to speak out and feel less isolated in their community. We work with men, women, boys and girls, discussing workloads, decision making and access to resources.
When talking about people with disabilities, we have to address the individual and their environment to ensure it is receptive and inclusive. Within our projects in Africa, we build on the skills of the individual as well as raising awareness within the community; people are not excluded by themselves, someone is doing the excluding.
Attitude makes a big difference between inclusion and exclusion; a change in attitude and how we interact costs nothing.