Day 1: The country we are in and its health system

Activity 3: The La Lluita Mzabalazo Café – Movements in Collective Action 

4 hours 45 minutes

Dinner venue booking: This is a late afternoon and evening activity, designed as an outing to a restaurant or dinner venue that has a dedicated dining room that is exclusive to this booking i.e. acoustics are good for group and plenary conversations; and where we can relax, enjoy local cuisine and have serious fun! It is a chance to appreciate typical local evening meals, beginning with starters and ending with dessert as fun prizes.   

Handout at start

  • Short bios of the movements present
  • Short summaries of each Tekano 2022 Year Long Fellowship Social Change Initiative (SCI) of those Fellows able to be on the exchange visit


To help us to:

  • Appreciate and learn about typical local evening cuisine – from starters to desserts – of our host country, and this area in particular
  • Learn about social movements in Spain, from the Catalan region we are visiting, their work and struggles
  • Engage in an interactive comparative dialogue with Spanish social movements on approaches to social change
  • Extend our Spanish vocabulary.
  • Offer our hosts – our Fellow counterparts in Spain – and social movement colleagues, insights into what our South African Year Long and Life Long fellowship activism is tackling

Task 1
Plenary: Introducing the Café, its purpose, structure and who we all are

1 hour

Before you take a seat, find the table centre-piece that has your name on it. Then you can find any seat at that table. For the start of this evening together, the seating will be pre-arranged. 

We’ll be seated in groups at tables that are each named for a local late afternoon starter or snack (called tapas in Spanish), that is most commonly enjoyed at this time of day, in the region we are visiting. 

Local movements will be clustered together at one table on the basis of a common theme of their work. Movements have been invited that align with Tekano Fellows’ Social Change Initiative (SCI) themes. While each movement’s main emphasis as an organisation might be broader, the theme will reflect at least one strand of their social justice activism. 

An example could be that we want to learn about an SCI theme of Migrants & Health Justice as the theme for a table. A local movement may be a Housing Tenancy movement or an Informal Traders movement, but they will be actively working with migrants and how this question of housing or informal trader work has a health dimension to it.   

We will not start sampling the food at each table until the session opens, and our two lead facilitators for the week (Host and Tekano), have opened the session and the purpose of our gathering like this. They will also have told us a little about the starter dishes (known as tapas in Spain) that we can expect to sample at each table. They will have explained what makes the dish particular to the region or Spain generally.  Our approach to soft versus alcoholic drinks will be in accordance with the policy of the trip. The drinks that we will sample will also be explained. There will be dinner later into the evening.   

As our way to settle in to our late afternoon and evening together, we’ll start by sampling the first round of starters and drinks, while we listen carefully to each thematic table introduce themselves to one another, and to the whole plenary. 

Translations will be done after each person at one table has completed their answers to the questions below. We’ll first hear translations into Spanish and then into English, so that everyone has a picture of that table, its theme, and what we can hope to learn about.  

Each person has a maximum of 3 minutes – what we call an elevator pitch (before the doors open and you have to step out and say by or have new people step in). You can also read the handout that we will all have with the Short Bios of the movements present and Short Summaries of each Tekano Year Long Social Change Initiative (SCI) of those along on the exchange visit: 

  • My First Name and its meaning (30 seconds) 
  • The name of the movement that I am an activist in – and for Tekano Fellows, the Social Change Initiative (SCI) I am involved in designing (1 minute) 
  • When my social change activism began and what inspired me to become an activist (1 minute) 

Task 2
Group work: Food for thought at Café tables

1 hour

Round 1 – Same theme learning

As the next round of starters or tapas is served, each of the three café tables will move into the theme that they are looking at, enjoying the tapas as the conversation proceeds:Round 1 – Same theme learning

  1. Tekano Fellows, you will now have a chance to say more about your SCI concept and especially about what angles of health you are going to be grappling with (5 minutes)
  2. Table hosts, as Catalan movements, having heard the Tekano angles, you will speak about: 
    • The primary focus and gains of each of your movements in this group, in the last five years (maximum 10 minutes)
    • The theme for the table – be it migrant struggles, reproductive rights, LGBTIAQ struggles, land & water struggles, etc – how you see the big tasks you face and steps to progress you are making in the last 5 years (20 minutes)
    • How health equity is a visible feature of your activism as a movement (10 minutes)  
  3. Open-ended conversation for points of clarity and further inquiry together (10 minutes)
  4. Conclusion (5 minutes)

Rounds 2 and 3 – Mixed theme tables (2 hours) 

After one hour, we will end the discussion promptly, and Tekano Fellows will move tables. Local movements table hosts will remain stationary, while Tekano Fellows will move to their second and then third café tables, each for one hour. 

During this time, tapas or starters and then the main meal will be served, with the Lead Facilitators acting as the Maitre dis (restaurant managers) and introducing each dish and drink that is circulating. They will set timers to alert tables to be moving on in the above rhythm of conversation steps 1-4. Tables need to make time in the conversation for the foods to be enjoyed and spoken about, while having their important conversation. 

A strict one-hour time limit for each round will be critical, so that no tables are left waiting. The lead facilitators will also move about tables, to support the momentum. 

Task 3 Group work: What are our biggest social change activism tasks in this period? (1 hour)

Before we get to our dessert or postres, we have to digest what we’ve learned! So we’ll get up and walk off our starters or tapas and our meal. We will now divide into two groups: 

  • Group 1 – Host movements
  • Group 2 – Tekano Fellows

Each group will have wall space and/or a flipchart stand, plus all kinds of creative materials to use to create a presentation about the key comparative learning from this evening. Your presentations should answer the following key questions. Give yourselves 10 minutes per question maximum plus 20 minutes to create a display poster: 

  • What new angles of insight have we gained about different contexts, definitions and approaches to social change struggles today? 
  • What do we learn about health struggles and their intersection with other social justice struggles? 
  • Who are the fighting forces (agents for change / protagonists / motive forces) that are mobilizing, and how is ‘the enemy’ for social justice or social change being defined today? 
  • Where, how and why are we seeing key wins and key defeats for social movements?

Task 4
Plenary: Café Exhibition & Review – What is the picture of social justice struggle today?

1 hour

Each of the two groups will have 15 minutes to explain their collage display as a group (not just one or two people speaking!) and we’ll all gather around to view the display and presentation.   

After both groups have presented, the lead facilitators will engage the plenary for the last time we have, so that we draw out the key inspirations and tasks for our respective and combined movement building in this time ahead. 

La Lluita Mzabalazo Café:
Short Bios of Movements from Catalania Invited

We anticipate that about 6-8 movements invited below, will actually be able to make it for the evening: 

Associació de Drets Sexuals i Reproductius (Association for Sexual and Reproductive Rights) 

This organisation is an interdisciplinary non-governmental entity made up of people interested in the promotion and defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights. It was established in Barcelona in 1982, following the emergence of Family Planning Centres. It promotes, encourages and facilitates the awareness, prevention and education of society in the field of sexual and reproductive health. It has led the campaign for family planning centres with the goal of these services being integrated into the public health network.

La Marea Blanca 

This is a unitary platform in defence of Public Health. It brings together all groups that defend public health and protests against health cuts and privatisation plans. The main identified problems with public healthcare in Spain are an increase in health inequalities among the population (difficulty of access / co-payments / repayments/waiting lists…) and the weakening of the public health system with public resources being directed to private health companies.

The Plataforma de Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH), Platform for People Affected by Mortgages) 

The Plataforma (PAH) was set up in Barcelona in February 2009 by activists previously involved in an organisation called “V de Vivienda (H for Housing). The group protests and fights against the evictions of people from their homes. It is organised horizontally by an assembly and grew exponentially across Spain, with 220 local groups recorded by 2017.

The group organises non-violent resistance to evictions and campaigns for social rent and more aid for people unable to pay their mortgages. The PAH had successfully stopped more than 2,000 evictions by 2016.

Ada Colau was one of the founding members of the PAH, acting as its spokesperson until May 2014. Since June 2014, Colau has been a spokesperson for the citizen platform Guanyem Barcelona (Let’s Win Back Barcelona). She won a simple majority in the elections and on 13 June 2015 she became Mayor of Barcelona for Barcelona en Comú.

Sindicat de Llogateres – Union of Tenants 

This is a group of Barcelona residents defending the right to housing through affordable, stable, safe and dignified rent. In Barcelona, 30% of residents live in rented accommodation. This figure is well above the Spanish average but is still far from that of other European cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam or Paris, where renting represents more than 60% of housing, and where tenants have greater legal protection.

The union is a cross-cutting initiative with a political and collective conscience. They bring together people who live or want to live in rented accommodation, both in private and public housing markets, to jointly demand their legitimate rights and influence all administrative and governmental spheres.

The Union not only denounces problems surrounding renting and the consequences of a law that is contrary to the rights of tenants, they also fight what they call a “new real

estate bubble” that is contrary to life in the city and that has driven speculative and abusive increases in the price of rents (9% in the last year). The organisation also aims to modify the tax regime on tenancy and the inequality between the tax benefits for owners and tenants. They also fight against the pressure emanating from tourism and gentrification leading to the expulsion of residents from their neighbourhoods as well as mobilising around empty housing and increasing the public social rental stock.

Informal Traders: Los Manteros/The Blanketeers

This is a workers’ union representing street vendors (known as manteros) in Spain. Street vendors often face precarious economic conditions, lack of access to government services, racist discrimination, and violence from the hands of police.

Most Manteros are migrants from Africa who have often risked their lives fleeing violence or poverty. When they reach the European Union they can only access irregular jobs without the correct papers. It is almost impossible – especially in high-unemployment (by European standards) countries like Spain to find a formal job.

Sindicat de Mares en la Diversitat Funcional

The Union of Mothers in Functional Diversity is a new organisation that was born in Barcelona in 2021. María Herrero, one of its founders, has been committed to creating an organisation that offers mutual support and also to work towards the politicisation of the collective. The aim of the organisation is to make visible the problem of caring mothers of disabled children and to influence public policies from a feminist perspective. Existent organisations such as the Tenants’ Union motivated them to create this group. The founder is driven by the conviction that her own story – being alone in caring for her autistic son, due to the lack of involvement of his father – is a common experience. As their Twitter account says when disability arrives, both children’s rights as well as feminism (for the carers) leave.

Recent articles on them:

Mujeres Pa’lante 

The Mujeres Pa’lante (Women Forward!) project provides support and accompaniment space for migrant women living in Spain. The organisation provides information and support on:

  • How to obtain migration papers
  • Building strength and resilience when facing difficulties
  • Ideas and tools to find work and how to forge new paths for greater work autonomy 
  • Continued studies

The organisation offers a meeting space and solidarity network for an exchange of experiences, ideas and projects that will collectively allow women to overcome some of their common challenges. They have recently launched a report on sexual harassment on migrant worker women and care workers to give visibility to this hidden form of violence.

Trans Forma la Salut (Trans-form Health) 

This is a Platform formed by groups, associations and individuals demanding a new health model for Trans* people. Through the slogande-pathologisation, their vision is to create a more inclusive society.

In recent years, several organisations of the trans and broader LGBTQIA+ associations have coordinated to work with healthcare institutions as well as other institutions, in promoting an understanding of what is understood by trans de-pathologisation. They have done so through the use of diverse resources, among the most prominent are human rights perspectives, old and new laws that protect these rights, educational programs that integrate diversity, publications that propose social frames of reference and a model of health care for trans people based on self-determination and autonomy as pillars that support their identity.


This is a foundation whose mission is to bring the audiovisual and communication resources to groups and social causes that often do not have the ability to be known and to articulate quality strategies to contribute to social transformation through citizen action.

In their own words … We are communication activists. We create transformation strategies. We connect audiovisual, participation and new narratives. We work on projects in 360º, from the creation, production and dissemination phase with sensitizing and emancipatory approaches. We understand communication as a tool for social impact but also as a community process. We want to get rid of the idea that communication is an instrument to sell and reappropriate the collective sense of communication as a space of the commons. We are part, as a non-profit organisation, of the fabric of the social and solidarity economy of Barcelona. Everything communicates.

Aigua és Vida (Water is Life) 

Water is Life is a platform formed by civil society organisations of various origins: residents’ associations, trade unions, environmental organisations, international solidarity, among others. The aim of Aigua és Vida is to ensure that water policy and the management of the integral water cycle in Catalonia are carried out by the public sector and have the participation and control of civil society as a guarantee of quality of service and democratic quality. In this sense, Water is Life denounces the role of the for-profit sectors in water management and sanitation represented by private corporations, both at the top of the water cycle and at the bottom. They actively work in opposition to the privatisation and commodification of water, demonstrating alternative models for the achievement of public, democratic and transparent management models of urban water cycle services, promoting citizen participation and strengthening the regulatory framework for these services while respecting the competences of the municipalities.

Although Aigua és Vida operates mainly in Catalonia, it supports and coordinates with other social movements both nationally and internationally.

Last updated: May 2022