*[“quem somos” em Sena]

A Story of women allies (and a man) on a feminist tech adventure

March: the beginning of the journey

Solange, on a business trip in Maputo, meets Fidélia and Valuarda to create a future process of feminist training and reflection on TOC and MEL.

Fi and Val are feminists who are running the feminist programme WVL-ALIADAS with the help of a Canadian pro-feminist government. A powerful combination and a great opportunity!

Sol, who is a Brazilian feminist, participated in the baseline and mapping team of the initial phase of the ALIADOS Programme. She was reading Catarina's PhD thesis because she was invited to be a member of the jury for the defence of her PhD. Sol knows Cat, but they never met

The Indian Ocean winds arrived announcing that COVID-19 from distant China, which was making Europe cry, and now threatened to reach our lives in southern Africa. Sol was going to facilitate the first activity scheduled for 5 days from now ... but which was postponed because of COVID-19.

Airports and borders are going to close, Sol runs home to South Africa.

What now? Val and Fi, with the experience of being feminists, say “we will adapt and create opportunities”.

Sol, Val and Fi: bye, take care, we’ll stay in contact.

Weeks of adaptations later ...

April: ALIADAS creates “Mulheres ComVida”

To respond to COVID-19, a work platform is created that brings together more than 30 women's organizations from all over the country. They fear the potential overwhelming effects of the pandemic for women and a further deterioration in their living conditions. They are part of a titanic effort to recreate ways to confront a new reality.

Cat, who is a Mozambican feminist, defends her thesis about women's rights and gender equality in Mozambique at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), rooted in the trajectories and experiences of feminists from different generations.

May: Dreams of Synergies

  • May 6th

“Sol, hello, I'd like to talk to you. Do you have time today? Unfortunately, the launch of the implementation coincides with the arrival of COVID-19. Something needs to be done to motivate and welcome the partners, and which will also provide a learning space for the implementation of the ALIADAS agenda. I am concerned about ensuring the execution and the quality of the intervention. But there are also dreams of having a space to make women's efforts visible. The platform “Mulheres ComVida” is a vibrant movement that needs to be made more visible, shared, documented ... celebrated ”..

From this conversation, the virtual platform “ALIADAS em Movimento” (ALIADAS on the Move) was born.

“What if we did something virtual and really innovative? A new, collective space?
Wow that’s a great idea
"But we need to create a team because we are technologically illiterate".
Solange develops the concept. Val and Fi introduce new ideas.

“I am very happy with this dream”.

Done! We have a proposal.

We need someone who understands websites, who is creative, feminist and who understands us. Urgent requests for help are made on the networks of friends and co-workers. For our dream, and in the short term, we weren’t successful in finding anyone in Mozambique. Fi suggests “search the rest of the Portuguese-speaking world”.

Cat indicates a Brazilian woman who was studying in Mozambique and who was making a website about women in samba (Afro Brazilian dance). Maitê indicates two designers.

“Fi, Alessandra or Lelê is Brazilian, I don't know her, but the work she does is really beautiful”.
 “I like it”.

Lelê is quarantined in Piauí.

“Hey Solange! I accept. How wonderful! I am currently very interested in studies on the African continent, and especially in art. I'm available this afternoon, after 2 pm. Whenever you want, you can call me”. 

Lelê was very excited, it was her first international job and it was related to her studies and to her other work that had a socio-cultural focus.

And we talk easily, as if we were colleagues from other lives. It was a beautiful surprise to talk to someone in such an expressive and welcoming way.

“But I'm a designer, we need a programmer”.

Hey! From there new words and concepts started to appear, and we started to realize the complexity of this tech dream. tech

“Fi, Lelê accepted but we need a programmer”.
“Ok, I see, can Lelê help us?”
"Lelê, can you find a programmer?" 

It was quite a challenge! Find a professional woman in the field of technology. This market is still unequal between men and women! The pandemic also created a high demand for online projects, so many people were already very busy.

Design of the homepage.

And many administrative issues still need to be to be resolved.

“Fi, Cat's thesis has a lot to contribute to our Platform. Let’s invite her to be the writing researcher?”
“Cat, can I talk to you for 2 minutes? Do you want to go on an adventure? Let's tell our stories and create a virtual feminist space. A home for activism, learning, care and for ALIADAS to do MEL?

Cat is stuck in São Paulo due to border closures.

 “Que “Very nice! I accept, but I don't know much about website design”.
"Me neither, so welcome!"

Catarina is super excited about the project because with the completion of her PhD, there was still a lot of material to be explored and an urgent desire to return to activism and contact with this universe.

We started researching feminist sites we liked.

 “Val, look at what Sol shared. Feminist platforms that can inspire us”.
We started researching feminist sites we liked.

Lelê continues looking for a programmer for weeks.

We already had the concept of the page: content, structure, and artistic ideas. Our concern was to give the page a as Mozambican a face as possible, with our language, and to create a safe and cosy space.

A debate started: we will need a closed/private section just for the programme partners? We need it to be secure. We need someone to programme the closed space because it will be a separate platform. More than a meeting place, the platform must be a safe space par excellence. The place where women talk about their experiences, life, concerns and struggles without fear. The project presented itself with two very different needs. It was necessary to bring in another professional who could handle the language of this space.

“Go ahead, we want the best”.

Lelê meets Fábio virtually in Portugal. 

  • May 26th
“Fábio, Lelê showed us your proposal and we like it a lot, it would be a pleasure to work together.
“Hey, Solange. Your work is very cool. It will be a great pleasure to collaborate on this project in Mozambique.”

By a happy coincidence, Fábio has a popular education approach and was an instructor in Q Gong, nice, we felt at home. And so we built the Feminist Worshop. Another step in the team’s graduation in digital literacy.

Lelê meets Aieda in Brazil.

Aieda saw that Lelê was looking for a programmer to develop a feminist platform. He thought: Wow! I’d like to participate in that!

He immediately sent an email to Lelê asking for more information. Lelê told him about the project and Aieda got excited.

“Uau Lelê, what an incredible project, I have always been interested in feminist issues and getting to know the way of life of Mozambican women will be a wonderful learning experience”.

After some adjustments, Aieda accepted the challenge.

  • May 27th
“Aieda, hello good morning! Nice to meet you. This is Solange from the Mozambique project ‘ALIADAS em Movimento’. Welcome to the team. Lelê said that you agreed to work with us and that you are aware of the challenges ”
“Good morning Solange! Nice to meet you too. Okay for me. Thank you!"

Wonderful, we have another artist and educator available in quarantine in São Paulo. Lelê spoke with other women developers and thought Aieda's work incredible, extensive, and courageous, due to his professional, artistic and educational use of technology.

Aieda was happy to participate in the project and thought how interesting it would be to work with these people without meeting them in person.

Firefighting and stresses: contracts, payments, bureaucracy etc., etc ... Where's the server? How to do it? How do you pay? And where? This is another story.

June & July: Making things happen

Weekly creative meetings lasting 3 hours and in 3 time zones: Brazil, Portugal and Mozambique/South Africa. The cock at Lelê's house (lol) filled us with bucolism. Aieda's dog was very excited. Cat had birds and a cat that didn't like to show up at meetings. We felt the energy of Cape Town's whales during Sol's lockdown. Fábio was coming out of quarantine with his Algarve wines. But we really liked talking about Mozambique, the food, beauty and the strength of the women's movement. And in these conversations Cat overcame her longings for home. Cat, Sol and Val were researching and writing. Val and Fi animated and interacted with partners. Fi, Val and Sol managed the firefighting and stress. Lelê, Aieda and Fábio focussed on building the house.

What colour will our house be? I like lilac, it's the colour of feminism. Hey, how about red? It’s the colour of WVL-ALIADAS. What about orange, the colour of the earth? But hey, why not all of them?

The day we first saw the “face” of the platform wow, it was exciting. The colours, the movement, everything we had dreamed of fitted perfectly and moved us. Stress transformed itself into important and innovative content.

A remarkable moment was seeing Feminismoz with all its stories, and its Mozambican feminist history. It should be a place of homage and visibility to the/for the movement (or movements) and the first feminists, their paths, struggles and conquests.

We continued with a lot of debate and collaboration in meetings and in the WhatsApp group. The team flowed without stress. We learned a lot. We had fun. And we mainly experienced Covid-19's confinement with creative energy. ‘ALIADAS em Movimento’ gave us purpose and showed the sense of creating something that is both beautiful and useful in these uncertain times.

And meanwhile, our partners shared beautiful photos about their achievements in the context of Mulheres ComVida, documenting their actions, sharing experiences, dreams, and achievements.

Sol and Cat, look at the wealth of material that is coming from our organizations ”.
"Val, share it with Cat, this should go straight on to the page soon".
“Tem MUITA vida esta coisa!”

Firefighting and stresses: finding a secure server, being able to pay, having a domain, delays, wow, this is another story. By this time, we were all tech experts!

The last part of the house to be built was the Workshop, which is still in progress.

“The challenges of joining this international project were incredible. Overcoming the difficulties of different time zones for meetings, of different minds, to reach common goals. The process of building the Feminist Workshop, which has only just begun, also had the challenge of building a tech platform that was fluid and human, feminist and with dialogues and storytelling, and intimate and ensuring the privacy and security of the participants. Very cool, what more can I say ??? !!! Embarking on this adventure with everyone was fantastic and gratifying!

”In the midst of all this, we created the partnership committee with the facilitation of various groups (Cândida / NAFEZA, Júlia / Fórum Mulher, Achia / LeMuSiCa, Olga / Ophenta) and friends of ALIADAS - Isabel Casimiro, Kátia Taela, Maria José Arthur and Graça Samo who collaborated, critiqued and mainly embarked on the adventure.

There were 3 rounds of appreciation for each stage of creating the platform. Graça Samo wrote to us: “Thank you for taking part in this that makes our hearts beat. The challenge that we always felt "where to find the memories?" has been ansered so that we go on making our history. Fantastic ALIADAS!”. Maria José and Isabel liked “the proposal very much, the aesthetics of the colours, the movement” and gave suggestions for the Feminismoz timeline. Júlia suggested “having images of women holding hands, women of different appearances and professions” on the home page.

Each response and suggestion encouraged us, and we felt that we were on the right path.

July 29th-31st: we arrive at Bootcamp!

It was exciting to see the idea of this space for training and reflection materialise.

How beautiful to see companions together and happy to be there in that space sharing their reflections, reflecting on the use of technologies, and wondering though the platform. Val had done an excellent job of mobilising women and was the hostess of the technology.

Technology ... at the time of the testing Bootcamp we had many challenges.

Hey, with this I need an exorcist".

In the end, everything went well, and the challenges were transformed into lessons.

It was very special to see the faces of the women for whom we built this space, to see their reactions, critiques and suggestions, and especially the praise for the space that was done with much affection.

A unique experience, connecting them all by a network, by a platform, showing their identification points and also helping to make “ALIADAS em Movimento” an increasingly cosy home. As companion Cecília in Nampula said, this website “will awaken us to enjoying reading and wanting to learn anew”.

One of our companions, Júlia, commented: “Val, I really like the platform. I went there and felt at home. The platform communicated with me. I felt cherished ... it seems that it was built with great care for me”.

July 31st: Celebrating our dreams coming true

We made a toast, proud to have managed this adventure well, recited poems and danced happily, celebrating Mozambican, African women from all over the world, who come together, to hold hands and build bridges. Early in the evening we received an audio from Kátia “I really like the site, the dynamism, the spaces, the combination of information and much more the spirit of the site, it’s a very creative way of capturing the spirit of feminism that we believe in, that it is a feminism that takes care of itself, that takes care of others, It’s a feminism that values experiences and amplifies voices. I especially like how women's stories appear, they are neither victims nor saviours, they are women with their stories ”.

Aprendemos que o sucesso dessa aventura foi porque teve:

Muita solidariedade da equipe.
Liberdade de sonhar e cruzar limites.
Liberdade de encontrar a equipe com o perfil, disponibilidade e com vontade de criar algo novo.
Planificação atempada, com detalhes e clareza dos objectivos e resultados.
Boa comunicação com encontros regulares virtuais e no grupo de whatsapp. 
Equipe com definições claras de papéis e que cumpria prazos consciente do efeito cascata do trabalho de cada um/a.
Equipe com processos flexíveis, com interação e aberta para aprendizagem.
Programa ALIADAS flexível que permite criar e sonhar.
Equipe com diálogo e colaboração para resolver os “espinhos” administrativos e tecnológicos.

Women’s Voice and Leadership ALIADAS ( WVL - ALIADAS)
Av. Julius Nyerere, N.º 258 Maputo, Moçambique      CP 4669

(+258) 21 48 75 52 (+258) 21 48 75 65

(+258) 84 51 08 505 (+258) 82 47 08 431