Capoeira4Refugees at the Social Forum 2020: Good Practices, Success Stories, Lessons Learned and Current Challenges in Combating Poverty and Inequalities

Author: Alessia Baker

Every year the Social Forum is convened by the Human Rights Council to provide a platform to allow multiple stakeholders to discuss human rights issues. This year the Forum took place on the 8th and 9th of October at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The session focused on actions and practices for poverty relief under the guiding title: “Good Practices, Success Stories, Lessons Learned and Current Challenges in Combating Poverty and Inequalities”.

The first session on the ‘Factors perpetuating inequality and intergenerational transmission of poverty, and how to overcome them’, addressed the importance of the role of government institutions in implementing reforms at societal level that will help people in poverty to receive support and build new opportunities. Special emphasis was made on the urgency of supporting women, especially in the face of the current pandemic crisis which has resulted in even bigger burdens on women. The interlinked nature of the causes of poverty was also highlighted, showing how issues are often closely connected, locking individuals in vicious cycles of poverty. The importance of food systems was also stressed, drawing connections between the lack of food security and the aggravation of dependence from aid support and the deterioration of environmental resources.

Capoeira4Refugees contributed to the event by sharing a video of the NGO’s activities in conflict areas and in refugee camps in Syria and Palestine, where learning Capoeira offers a safe place for kids to ‘let go’ and play with their friends and families. The video testimony explained how the kids living in these difficult conditions find in Capoeira away to release the tensions and also learn the self- discipline to face the challenges oftheir daily lives.

The video also stressed the importance of listening to the local community’s needs and tailoring support to real necessities. Furthermore, the people need to own the projects that are supporting their communities, in order to meet their necessities effectively. Adopting better technology to streamline processes within the aid sector and external players was also highlighted as a key factor in improving the activities of small organizations and their access to funding.

The closing session: ‘Global-Local Interlinkages I: Obstacles to Realizing the Right to Development and to Addressing Poverty and inequality’, echoed in many ways one of the leading points of Capoeira4Refugees’ activities: technology can help communities support their own development. Panelists discussed how technological transfers can help narrow the divide with developed countries, giving access to sources of information and networks. Especially in the wake of the pandemic that forced people into lockdown and restricted their movements, showing how technology and access to the internet has gained ever more importance.

Overall, the Social Forum 2020 presented an important opportunity to come together to tackle issues of poverty and inequality that affect many vulnerable communities worldwide. For Capoeira4Refugees it was a great chance to share the ‘magic’ of Capoeira, as well as valuable insights on how to work better within the aid sector.