When we launched Jijaze in 2017 I wanted a name that reflected my intention: to build a community that supported change makers to be supported and resourced.
I brought together a group of women based in 5 different countries to work with me on a name.
We had loads of good ideas. Like about 50!
And I got a bit confused about which would work best.
My dear friend Eva Baguma from Uganda encouraged me to use a name in Swahili. She knew that I wanted the community to feel global and welcoming and not like a space that was limited by geography or race or identity.
She also knows I speak & dream and know how to passionately argue, in Swahili. She’s heard me arguing.
I took her advice and thought about what I wanted the community to feel like. I wanted it to fill people up. And so I decided to use the Swahili words that mean to fill yourself up in the imperative form: Fill yourself up!
So JI – meaning to do something to yourself + JAZE – from the verb -JAZA to fill.
JI-JAZE or rather JIJAZE, was born.
I love the sense the name gives me of the central intention of the work we have been doing ever since. Which is all about filling ourselves up so that we can be impactful without exhausting ourselves.
But I have also known for some time that the name isn’t really ‘working’
First I get a lot of questions about how it is pronounced and what it means which tells me that wondering about both these things might be a barrier to people getting involved in the work we have been offering.
Secondly, I have a fear of being criticised for being an organisation led by a White British women using a name in an African language spoken predominantly in Tanzania and Kenya. And that fear keeps me quieter than I want to be about the work.
I didn’t think about either of these things enough in the beginning.
But, after much reflection, I have come to the conclusion that using the name Jijaze is making sharing this work more difficult.
And because this work matters very much to me, I have decided to let go of the name Jijaze.
Going forward this work will simply be shared under the name ‘Mary Ann Clements: Wellbeing, Impact & Collective Care’. Much of the previous content (blogs and offerings) will remain.
And the online community space we run is now called The Replenishment Room.
When we launched I wanted this project to have a name separate from my own because I didn’t want to ‘own’ this work. I wanted to share it, invite other people into it and build connections with it.
But I am also conscious that I don’t think everything needs an entity, an empire, a permanent mark in the sand. I might later choose a new name for this whole project but for the time being it will live here.
After all, there are many ‘personal brands’ out there that are now large organisations, and many organisations that are really run by one person. I am recognising that it’s not ‘all’ in the name.
Meanwhile, there are many ‘personal brands’ out there that are now large organisations, and many organisations that are really run by one person.
I am recognising that it’s not ‘all’ in the name. How you do what you do is perhaps much more important.
As Adrienne Maree Brown teaches us, we can understand our strategies as emergent. And that means being flexible and integrating the wisdom we observe in nature where things are ever evolving and shifting. Where things are born and they die. And new life emerges.
I’m thinking about this change as letting go for new life to emerge. I hope you’ll stay with me on this emergent, evolving journey.
Thank you so much for your interest in this work. Please feel free to be in touch if you have any questions whatsoever about these changes.
In solidarity & love