We’ve all heard the slogan about protecting the earth’s environment: “Think Globally, Act Locally.” Free the Slaves is applying that type of logic to our worldwide effort to protect the earth’s most vulnerable people from slavery.
As a global organization, Free the Slaves teams-up with local grassroots groups to confront slavery at a community level in key trafficking hot spots. FTS doesn’t parachute in and conduct rescues. Instead, we carefully nurture community-based organizations who are already fighting slavery so that they can do a better job.
You can see this strategy at work in the latest installment of our Face to Face with Slavery film series: Building Grassroots Partners. The setting is rural Ghana, where children are frequently forced into slavery at gold mines.
“I’m passionate about seeing smiles,” says FTS Ghana Program Coordinator Bismark Quartey. “I’m passionate about changing people’s situation and making them realize that we could all be in a better world that we will enjoy.”
In Building Grassroots Partners, Bismark explains how he provides global expertise and guidance to local groups.
“The partnership with Free the Slaves is very important because it builds the capacity of the grassroots organization,” says Pontius Ninwiiri, the child protection coordinator for the group MIHOSO. “Then we are the direct implementers on the ground.”
The goal, says Bismark, is to empower community organizations to combat slavery on their own after a few years of support from Free the Slaves. That is already taking root in some parts of Ghana.
“There is a collective resistance to slavery in the communities where we operate,” says Samuel Atafo, a field officer for the group PDA.
“For any development to happen, it must come from the community,” Bismark says. That’s why our partnerships with community groups are the key to confronting slavery at the community level. It’s an effective strategy, and Bismark says it’s rewarding work.
“I don’t feel it’s a job,” he says, “because I love doing it.”
Learn more about our Ghana program here.
Learn more about our Community Model for Fighting Slavery here.
See other installments of the Face to Face with Slavery film series here.