Movement Building

Movement Building

“We have to realize we are building a movement" - Dorothy Height (civil rights activist)

A movement is an action taken by a group of people who share common ideas to change the future and their society. Very often, it starts when people feel injustice or anger with a current situation. As a response to this, they try to find like-minded people who share their ideas and want to take action against this together.

A movement can be a very powerful method to challenge governments, power holders, institutions and social beliefs. Movements in communities are very common, because often people stand together to improve their own community together. Successful movements have the power to bring a change in society and the way we think. 

The Cycles of Movement Building

Movement building is not linear. Just Associates, an international feminist network anchored in the Global South, distinguishes 4 interconnected cycles of movement building, namely Rising up, Building Up, Standing Up and Shaking up.   

Rising up is about discovering your power, the common ground that you have with others & the possibilities for chance that can be created by coming together 

During Building up you come together with others to find solutions to the current situation. You develop your skills, leadership and organization to make change.  

When standing up you organize and mobilize the power that you have together to resist injustice, challenge the current situation, and stand up for your rights. 

Shaking up is about mobilizing power to create change. You and your movement interact with allies to make change in policy and decision-making, shift social norms and protect and strengthen your community 

You can find out more information about the cycles of movement building on Just Associates website.  


Starting a movement

It can be challenging to mobilize people to work towards the same goal. Here are some tips you can try if you want to start a movement yourself: 

Highlight your aim: Explain why this is important, why there should be a change

Everyone can join: Explain that everyone has a voice, and that more people together make for a louder voice. Everyone can help and play a part towards change.

Include peers, friends, family, community members, allies, etc: Make sure you include other people and listen to their ideas and opinions

Structure: Make a structure if you want your movement to become an effective organization.

Relationships: Make sure to keep good relationships with the people in your movement. Try to connect people to make unexpected encounters and create innovative ideas!

Show results: Make sure everyone knows what is happening, what is being done (for example: give a presentation in your school or community or share the results on social media).