On MayDay 2010, the IMAXI Cooperative was officially established as a voluntary association or NGO. Founded and driven by a handful of poor people living with life-threatening diseases and disabilities from diverse communities, with a shared experience of having to struggle for our rights, the IMAXI Cooperative is a small international NGO. We’ve come together, in common cause, to help our peers to empower themselves and their communities so that others might not also be denied their rights.
Drawing on decades of our collective experiences as community and global health activists, we design and develop collaborative tools and projects, while advocating for the greater participation of those most affected in the policy-making process and implementation of programmes. Our members have seen firsthand how a ‘seat at the table’ of decision-makers can bring substantial improvements to the health and well being of their communities. We have also seen the deaths and suffering that comes with not having any voice in how public health services are designed and implemented.
As a ’volunteer-only’ non-profit organisation, working from our kitchen tables or cyber-cafes and funded only by our own donations, we have focused on forging tools that do not require substantial funding to utilise. With a network of other un-paid yet very engaged activists from diverse communities that help out with different initiatives, we have been able to advance an independent ‘human rights-based approach’ to health and development.
Seven years ago this week, we began to activate on our initial collaboration, the ‘World Open Health Assembly’, a pilot project to explore connecting activists through social media to the WHO’s annual governance meeting, the World Health Assembly (WHA). Those were the early days of Twitter and Facebook, and we learned-by-doing with a small group of comrades around the world. It was the beginning of our of work on advancing meaningful participation and accountable representation of marginalised folks in the decisions and health policies that impact them.
Seven years later we’re still learning, but we can now also apply some of the knowledge we’ve acquired. This MayDay, we’re rolling forward with the All Aboard research and development project, laying tracks for meaningful participation and accountable representation in all of the key global health institutions. We’re very busy forging a special precision tool so that millions in communities now being left behind can fully participate and be well represented.
We’re busy, but not so much that we can’t take a second to wish our IMAXI Cooperative a happy birthday. Right, now back to work.