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Empowering Breakthroughs for Grassroots Advocates

  • OpenGov Hub 1110 Vermont Avenue Northwest Suite 500 Washington, DC, 20005 United States (map)

The OpenGov Hub invites you to the latest installation in its regular Brown Bag Lunch (BBL) series - Empowering Breakthroughs for Grassroots Advocates: Lessons Learned from the Anti-Poverty and Climate Change Movements, featuring special presenter Sam Daley-Harris.

Author Frances Moore Lappe wrote: "Our real problem is not a heating planet or rampant malnutrition.  We only have one real problem, our own feelings of powerlessness to manifest the solutions right in front of our noses."  

Sam Daley-Harris has spent nearly four decades creating or training others to create structures of support that are powerful enough to dissolve that powerlessness.  Daley-Harris will discuss how most organizations provide their grassroots advocates with a kindergarten curriculum and the miracles that can occur when they are given something much deeper.   

Apathy and cynicism among ordinary people and trust gaps between citizens and governments are at the root of most governance and development challenges around the world today. We will explore how advocates of open governments/governance and development can learn from the best of the anti-poverty and climate change movements.

About the Presenter:

Sam Daley-Harris founded the anti-poverty lobby RESULTS in 1980, co-founded the Microcredit Summit Campaign with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus and FINCA founder John Hatch in 1995, and founded the Center for Citizen Empowerment and Transformation in 2012.  Empowering grassroots breakthroughs with the media coverage is one of his strengths. The US and Canadian volunteers of Citizens Climate Lobby, the first group he coached, had 3,034 letter to the editor published (up from 36 in 2010) and had 547 op-eds published (up from 29 in 2010). The New York Times profiled this work.

Ashoka founder Bill Drayton said, "Sam Daley-Harris is one of the certified great social entrepreneurs of the last decades."

Discussion Questions:

  • Why are the vast majority of NGOs satisfied with clicktivism and afraid of providing something deeper to their members? 
  • What are some ingredients of the structure of support that can thaw people's cynicism? 
  • How can empowered grassroots advocates creatively organize around pressing social issues in a global environment of closing civic space?