English (United Kingdom)Italian - Italy

Activities at the Nacional Level

At national level, through the organization of conferences, debates and studies, SONIA is engaged in capacity building and awareness raising about the situation of some African countries, of migrants in Italy and of indigenous peoples. In 2008, SONIA organised a series of cultural events related to the Democratic Republic of Congo to raise awareness on the situation of this country, so rich in natural resources and culture and yet one of the poorest countries in Africa. The award winning documentary by Thierry Michel - Congo River - was projected on several occasions, followed by debates and testimonials.

In 2009, SONIA organised a conference at a public library in Rome on issues linked to international migrations in Italy and in Rome as well as a conference for Master students of the Luiss University of Rome on international migrations and their implications for Italy. In  2010 SONIA co-organised, together with indigenous peoples’ representatives, an event, on ‘Food Sovereignty and Indigenous Peoples’, at the “Città dell’Altra Economia” in Rome. The same year, it organized an important event at the amphitheatre of the University La Sapienza in Rome on “Indigenous Peoples and Self- Determined Development”. Seven indigenous representatives from seven regions of the world (USA, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Northern Europe and Australia) presented their experiences with self-determined development in their respective regions.  During the first term of 2010 the president of SONIA trained about 20 students from Third World countries enrolled in a Master’s course in Applied Development Anthropology at La Sapienza, on participatory research methods, coaching and mentoring them throughout their field work and report writing. The research themes touched upon various aspects of migrants’ life here in Rome and they were presented to government representatives at regional, provincial and municipality levels and to the general public as well, in the presence of representatives of the communities that had been object of the research, followed by interesting debates. The results of this research have been published.

In 2011 some young members of the Diasporas of the communities studied joined the students, making the research even more participative. The research results were presented to government representatives at regional, provincial and municipality levels and to the general public as well, in the presence of representatives of the communities that had been object of the research.The same year, on the occasion of the International Day of Children’s Rights, the Citizens Committee on Decentralised Cooperation organized a weeklong series of events related to the rights of children. SONIA played an important role in a seminar on the best practices by highlighting the results of its project concerning the construction of an elementary school in DRC and organised an evening of film projections on DRC.

SONIA also works on awareness raising and lobbying for specific causes. For example, during the crisis in North Kivu (Democratic Republic of Congo) in 2008, SONIA was one of the prime movers to mobilise Italian civil society to attract attention of the media and of politicians on the issues.

Moreover, last March 2012, SONIA organized “Gioie da Condividere” (Joys to Share), in collaboration with the Association of Contemporary Jewels in the splendid Aranciera di San Sisto in Rome.The purpose of the event was to sensitize the public and diffuse information on the plight of Muslim women Zari Sardosi (those who stitch wedding Saris) and the Manual Scavengers (untouchable women cleaners of open pit latrines) in Fatehpur (Uttar Pradesh, India). It was an exhibit-auction of contemporary jewelry crafted by the most famous modern jewelers in Italy. The event was a real success from both the artistic perspective and from the financial point of view and the funds raised were destined for the construction of a training centre in Fatehpur. During 2012 the centre trained 30 women Manual Scavengers who now can exercise an alternative employment to that of cleaners of open pit latrines, a degrading and unhealthy work.The event was a bold way to share apparently contrasting joys: the joy and the interest in the arts that provides the joy of a chance of life-long change for very marginalized people.

See the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NLRzS5Cwhs&feature=youtu.be