By Katariina Haapea
As you might already know, we launched our crowdfunding campaign a couple of weeks ago. The campaign’s name, Beyond #MeToo: Our World. Our Future., is our statement for a different world order with complete equality of all genders. Here at Kota, we’re working relentlessly for a future where there’s simply no need for the hashtag #MeToo anymore.
On October 16th, we had an amazing campaign launch party, where The Kota Alliance and our partner organizations Aware Girls, Colors of Connection, and WomenStrong, shared insights of their work. During the evening we went - literally - beyond #MeToo, as we presented the main focuses of our missions and how they empower women locally and globally. The Founder of Aware Girls, Saba Ismail, summarised the whole point of our campaign perfectly by asking: “What is beyond #MeToo? It is exactly to take action underground, in the communities, to change that.” That is what we are doing here at Kota; taking action for a future where no one has to say “me too.” anymore.
It’s impossible to speak about our campaign without addressing the original movement first. The “me too.” movement was founded by Tamara Burke in 2006 to help sexual violence survivors, with a particular focus on black women and girls. The website of the movement states the following:
“Our vision from the beginning was to address both the dearth in resources for survivors of sexual violence and to build a community of advocates, driven by survivors, who will be at the forefront of creating solutions to interrupt sexual violence in their communities.”
As we both know, the hashtag #MeToo went viral after the Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano told her story a year ago; it created a snowball effect and inspired hundreds of thousands of women around the world to join the movement by posting their personal experiences of sexual harassment and assault on social media. We, just like the 2nd wave feminists, noticed that the personal indeed is political, and you can have a huge impact in the world just by telling your own story.
Now, a year later, we can see that we were desperately in the need of change. In fact, we still are. Although the movement shifted things in the right direction, there’s still loads to do.
"To ensure no more #MeToo for future generations of girls, support nonprofits that work for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls."
-Kota President and Founder Jaana Rehnstrom
The ultimate goal of The Kota Alliance is to create a World Center for Women. Our mission is to promote gender equality by offering both virtual and physical co-working spaces for like-minded organizations that work towards gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as women social entrepreneurs. Aside from subsidized work, conference, and event space, Kota will also provide other physical and virtual tools and services that organizations making a difference need. Our mission is also to reduce our members' overhead spending, so that they are able to channel more resources into their actual programs and mission; as well as bring like-minded organizations together, fostering a physical proximity to foster collaboration. Also, wouldn’t it be amazing to have like-minded people working in the same space, supporting each other’s work, all aiming for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Just think about the change that would make in the world!
This is what our campaign is all about. Everything we do here at Kota takes us a bit closer to our goal, and the ongoing crowdfunding campaign is a big leap towards the future; raising $5,000 makes us eligible for a 3:1 matching grant, so by helping us get to our - quite humble - goal, you are actually making a huge difference. Kota wants to personally thank everyone who helps us meet our goal, and thus the donations come with some awesome rewards, which you can look up here.
By now, we have raised a bit over $2,500, so that makes us half way through our goal (some of the checks are still pending, but will show in the campaign page shortly!). A huge thank you to everyone who has already contributed; your support means the world to us. We aim to hit $5,000 by Thanksgiving, and we hope that you help us get there! And remember; there are also a lot of other ways to help us do our work than by donating, if that isn’t currently an option - you can help our mission get visibility online by liking, sharing and commenting our posts. Our Social Media team thanks you for that.
So, that is our campaign in a nutshell. It is vital to us that we hit our goal, so check out our campaign page and see if you could make a contribution to help us get there, no matter how big or small; every penny donated counts and your support means everything to us.
Help us make the world a better place, where no girl or a woman has to say “me too.” ever again. It is our world, and it is our future - join us to make a difference.
Have you already familiarized yourself with our 2018 program, Digital Storytelling? Check out the toolkit here, it’s completely free and at your service. Let the world hear your story!