The 7 Stages to Sustainability (7SS) methodology was developed by Empowerment WORKS' founder in identifying a common, yet totally localized strategy for sustainable economic development in two very different African nations: Senegal - facing threats of food security, conflict and desertification; and Zimbabwe - facing the spread of AIDS and economic collapse.
Senegal - West Africa
In 1999, while conducting human security research in the war-torn Casamance Region in Senegal, EW's founder identified medicinal plants, textiles and music as economic opportunities. Uniting like-minded social entrepreneurs, local organizations and artists, EW produced an awareness and fund-raising compilation CD, Music of the Diola, supporting the development of local initiatives to preserve both the rain forest and their indigenous Diola culture.
Zimbabwe - Southern Africa
And in Zimbabwe, while on a sustainable development seminar in 2000, EW's founder met a group of young Zimbabwean artists working to provide HIV servicesin their high-density township of Mbare (with one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world).
With decreased tourism and economic collapse, they exported a container of sculpture to the US to raise program funds. Ultimately, this catalyzed the development of an artist-led HIV/AIDS Prevention & Orphan Care program, Julia's Home of Happy Colors - which continues to be supported by the sale of Julia's hand painted textiles. By honoring local will, serving as a catalyst for community-led social action, stimulating economic development, and addressing issues and needs identified by those they most affect, the EW model was born.
Pulse of the Movement is Empowerment WORKS' free webcast series, illuminating local solutions; inspiring daily actions for a thriving world.
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At Empowerment WORKS, we see responsible media as the foundation of positive social change. Pulse of the Movement (PoM) is our opportunity to bring you under-represented voices from the front lines, and leaders of the movements that shape our future.