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Analyzing Our Grassroots Constituency

Taking a few moments to analyze and understand who our current grassroots constituency should be an ongoing exercise. Analyzing our constituency should help us understand who actually support our effort at the moment, and who is it we need to reach out to. The tied up young woman in the cartoon below could be a common image in our communities, but she is probably not the only one in this position. Involving such almost invisible or unlistened to groups not only gives us an important perspective of how the problem is perceived and how best to tackle it, but also gives such groups an important opportunity to build self confidence and capacity to participate in the decision making processes for other critically important issues.

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Who Is in? and Who Is out?

We need to examine our constituency to learn about who is with us and who is not. Following are some dimensions that we need to examine in our constituency:

  • Gender and glass ceiling
  • Educational levels
  • Tribal and clan affiliations
  • Geographic locations
  • Religions groups
  • Language used
  • Socio-economic status
  • Age groups (usually there is invisible discrimination against those younger than 25, and those older than 55)
  • Sexual orientation (This dimension is probably a rough one to include in our analysis. The nature of our issue should inform us of how to deal with this dimension.)
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Urban vs. rural or desert communities
  • Indigenous groups
  • Others: please specify …

Including every one of the above groups is certainly not the answer at all times. The real question is whether one or more of these groups should be with us at the table when we make decisions, but could not join either because of being invisible, or because of some rejection from others towards that group. Another question that should be asked is the level of their participation as we might just be happy with a token participation without really allowing them to play a leading role as needed.


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