2008 Goldman Prize winner Feliciano Dos Santos recently visited Washington, DC, where he had the opportunity to attend training workshops organized by Democracy Partners, a nonprofit that trains progressive leaders on effective political messaging, advocacy and organizing techniques.
Dos Santos was awarded the Prize in 2008 for his efforts to promote public health in Mozambique and throughout Africa by implementing clean water and sanitation initiatives. Dos Santos and his band Massukos incorporate this message into their music, performing their song “Wash Your Hands” in villages around Mozambique and abroad.
Dos Santos is also the founding director of Estamos, an NGO whose main focus is improving the living conditions for communities throughout Mozambique through education and effective use of natural resources.
Jim Doumas and Robert Creamer of Democracy Partners worked with Dos Santos to hone his direct advocacy skills. To reinforce the training workshops, Democracy Partners also arranged one-on-one meetings with various organizations that already use advocacy techniques and strategies such as the AFL/CIO.
In addition, Dos Santos and the group met with US-based international organizations like Ashoka, WASH Advocates, USAID and Rep. Earl Blumenauer to discuss potential advocacy programming and future opportunities with Estamos and Mozambique.
A growing area of concern in the region is ensuring land rights for communities that are being displaced without compensation to make room for extraction of resources such as gas, gold and charcoal. Dos Santos’s goal is to keep the Mozambique government accountable in any revisions to its mining laws while educating communities about their rights.
Dos Santos will continue collaborating with Democracy Partners, with a potential training scheduled in Mozambique in early 2014 (a Presidential election year in that country) with a focus on coalition building and advocacy.