Organizational Capacity Building
The Women's Learning Partnership's (WLP) Transnational Partners Meeting convened in Beirut, Lebanon from September 24-28, 2004. Partners from 12 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East gathered for an intensive five-day brainstorming and strategy meeting on 1) expanding the programs of the WLP Partnership for empowering women and girls through culturally relevant approaches to leadership development and capacity-building and 2) strengthening and expanding linkages within the Partnership. The meeting was hosted by WLP's Lebanese partner, Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTD-A). During the meeting, partners exchanged best practices on enhancing women's leadership capacity at the grassroots, planned new programs and curricula for future development, and strategized on ways to strengthen the Partnership.
On April 10-11 in Jakarta, Indonesia, WLP held its 2010 Transnational Partners Convening (TPC) with partners from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe, prior to the World Movement for Democracy's Sixth Assembly. WLP partners shared strategies for enhancing the Partnership's work in political participation, ending violence against women, our peer-to-peer mentoring and exchange program, and advocacy campaigns, in light of challenges such as increasing extremism, restrictive NGO laws, and a challenging funding landscape.
Partnership Update: Six Countries Convene to Co-Create Culturally-Adaptable Strategic Planning and Capacity Building Curriculum
From August 30th to September 4th, WLP’s partners from Afghanistan, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, and Palestine gathered in Potomac, Maryland, for a Strategic Planning and Capacity Building Institute. This six-day program provided opportunities for a rich dialogue addressing partners’ expectations and experiences in implementing WLP’s participatory leadership methodology through trainings, advocacy, and organizational development. During the Institute, participants co-created a draft curriculum for organizational strategic planning and capacity building, developed a timetable for carrying out this strategic planning process with individual partner organizations, and undertook an intensive review of WLP's Leading to Choices curriculum and trainings after eight years of its implementation.
In June, Women's Learning Partnership (WLP) partners gathered at the beautiful Mediterranean seaside resort of Antalya, Turkey for our annual transnational partners meeting. The thirty-five grassroots women's rights activists from fifteen countries met to discuss how to strengthen the international women's movement by building the capacity of women's NGOs, how to increase opportunities for women's political leadership, and how to counter the "clash of civilizations" paradigm by building cultures of dialogue and tolerance.
2005-2006 has been a challenging year for WLP partners. Increasing insecurity due to wars and conflict in Lebanon and Palestine; rising extremism and fundamentalism in Afghanistan, Jordan, and Morocco; growing authoritarianism in political governance in Uzbekistan and Zimbabwe; and increasingly restrictive NGO legislation in Egypt are a few examples of the complex environments in which partner organizations are working to empower women.
Once women come to realize that they can have a say and that working together brings power, countless ideas and civic organizations come about, said exiled former Iranian Minister Mahnaz Afkhami during an international meeting of non-governmental organizations to discuss the empowerment of women in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The School of Advanced International Studies
at Johns Hopkins University
in collaboration with
The Hagop Kevorkian Center
at New York University
WLP President Mahnaz Afkhami discusses the intersection of women, democratic transition, and technology, focusing on the current context of the Middle East, at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Conference, "Internet and democratic change - Net activism, empowerment and emancipation," October 26, 2011 from 11:30-12:10 GMT, followed by discussions on specific MENA countries, and closing remarks by Sweden's Secretary of State, Hanna Hellquist.
WLP’s work uses the programmatic strategies of (1) leadership and advocacy curriculum development, (2) training at the grassroots, national, and regional levels (3) strengthening civil society, and (4) women’s human rights advocacy and movement building.
WLP’s programmatic strategies are overlapping and mutually supportive, with the following objectives for each:
Curriculum Development: To create culture‐specific training and advocacy manuals that furnish grassroots activists in the Global South with materials to strengthen democracy activism, the women’s movement, and youth with materials in leadership, ICTs, political participation, organizational capacity building and evaluation, and advocacy for women’s human rights.
Training: To implement flexible and accessible participatory leadership training for an increasing number of civil society organizations and grassroots women so they can acquire the skills necessary to actively shape their future, assume leadership in their communities, and become activists committed to strengthening democracy and women’s rights.
Strengthening Civil Society: (1) To increase partner organizations’ capacity in strategic program implementation and evaluation, sustainable organizational development, ICTs, and mobilization and management of human and financial resources, to strengthen their ability to implement empowerment programs and foster women's agency in developing moderate, secular civil societies. (2) To build partners’ capacity to take collective action by providing them with opportunities to cooperate and deepen relationships among themselves and with other civil society organizations at the national and regional levels.
Women’s Human Rights Advocacy and Movement Building: (1) To mobilize women and youth at the grassroots to effect social change and legal reform for gender equitable societies. (2) To build and strengthen grassroots, national, and international networks that promote democratic governance and peace‐building and increase the capacity of marginalized, moderate civil society activists to effectively engage in prominent networks with opinion leaders, policy makers, and academics. (3) To increase accurate and timely coverage of women's rights and democracy issues by leveraging conventional and alternative media to raise awareness and engage a broad spectrum of individuals in constructive dialogue.