What is it being marginalized or what is marginalization?
In sociology marginalization is the social process of becoming or being relegated to the fringe of society.
Many communities experience marginalization all over the world. For example marginalization of Aboriginal community in Australia is a product of colonization; as a result, Aboriginal community lost their land and were forced into destitute areas. They lost whatever source of income they were getting and were excluded from their rights.
On the other hand, today, especially in Africa, various communities continue to be marginalized from society due to the developments of practices, policies and programs that meet the needs of influential people in the government or from the major tribes, and not the needs of the marginalized groups themselves. As a result the marginalized people are denied basic human rights and even citizenship status. These communities are seen as ” undeserving foreigners “.
Can a community come out of this problem? And how?
Yes is the answer. I am a firm believer that a marginalized community can do a lot to free themselves from this discriminatory situation.
It is said that attributes of wisdom include being able to take initiative. And that every action you take today is a seed for tomorrow.
Having said that, I would like to single out one marginalized group in Kenya who have been neglected by the government of Kenya for decades. This community, the Nubian community, has woken up and are challenging the government for their rights. The community has realized that they cannot afford any longer to wake up in the morning and take life as it comes, and go to sleep at night not knowing whether they made any progress that day or not. Which is called existing, not living. They felt that there is need to learn how to plan for future life. The community realized that if they can plan, they can fulfill their destinies.
The struggle against marginalization
Over the last decade, two bodies were formed by the Nubian community to fight for their rights. The Kibra Land Committee and The Nubian Council of Elders were formed to pursue the twin issues of Nubian ethnic recognition and the land rights in Kibra.
The struggle on the formal Nubian recognition was internationalized through media, Human Right bodies and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of Child (ACERWC).
The struggle on the ethnic recognition was successful after ACERWC, in its ruling found the Kenya government had violated Chapter 6 of the African Charter provision protecting the rights of children to nationality. The committee then made recommendations to the government of Kenya to correct the situations.
The community felt that drastic changes were required to be able to transform, but what does it entail?
First, to begin the process of transformation the community must have an accurate assessment of who they are, where they are and who they want to be. It was established that the community problem was mainly lack of vision.
Therefore to have any meaningful transformation, the community decided to use the analytical method of assessment, SWOT, ( Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threats ).
With this method it is possible to define success for different areas of life, financial, social, economical and even spiritual. Once this has been done, the next thing is to take each area and come up with the demands that each area will require.
What are the skills needed to develop? What are the relationships needed to cultivate? What are the investments needed to make?
Lastly, but not the least, it should be realized that many visions do not come to pass because even though the vision is good, people are not able to pay the price to bring it to pass.
Every vision comes with a price tag. The ability to pay the price will determine how probable your chances of succeeding are. You need to define what you need to see and the timelines to assure you that you are making progress. This is vital so you don’t just engage in motions without progress.