Chain reactions can go either way, towards a happy end or a disastrous conclusion. Unfortunately, we know the second possibility all too well. One problem causes other complications and the negative impact grows in severity. This domino effect is well known by poor people living with disabilities on the margins of their societies. A health crisis brings on financial stress if not failure, and every aspect of daily life suffers in turn. Or a sudden major expense might mean less access to health care, bringing on further problems and suffering.
IMAXI is a loose collective of activists from marginalised communities, living with disabilities or chronic, life-threatening diseases. As an all-volunteer, unfunded organisation, we’re extremely vulnerable to the domino effects of hard times. Since we founded the NGO in 2010, key people have been knocked off their feet and rendered ‘inactive’ on a few occasions by illness and lack of resources. These ‘down and out’ periods make steadily advancing our projects more difficult if not impossible. Although we have come back each time to resume activities, this one step forward and half step back drains our energy, the sole asset of the IMAXI Cooperative. Recently, hard times have hit once again, and after a short break to recover a little, we are now returning to being ‘active’. However, as we must find a way to deal with the dreaded dominoes, we have decided to lower the risks of our vulnerabilities by ‘spinning-off’ or transforming some of our projects-in-progress into separate organisations with their own membership that may be less ‘at-risk’ all of the time.
We’ve been working in the ‘IMAXI Forge’ on a new tool as a response to the ongoing violation of the human right of people and communities to participate in decisions that affect them. We believe that a new way of securing a ‘seat at the table’ of many institutions AND a democratic system of electing representatives who can be guided and held to account by their communities is needed to advance human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the immediate term, we have decided to accelerate the plans for the creation of a new NGO — an alliance of civil society organisations and individuals that together will design a mechanism to advance the meaningful participation of those presently excluded from having a say in decisions that effect them, and to develop a system for accountable representation so that people from marginalised communities can better exercise their right to participation. The proposed name is GAMPAR, the Global Alliance for Meaningful Participation and Accountable Representation, and a Swiss registered non-profit Association (NGO) is the legal structure under consideration.