Bahraini Partner Organization’s 2013 Trainings Yield Positive Results for Gender Justice


Through a number of leadership and information technology workshops, WLP Bahrain/Bahrain Women’s Association (BWA) was able to reach variety of groups within Bahrain to support women’s activism for gender justice throughout Bahrain. BWA used WLP’s Leading to Choices curriculum and Information Communications Technology (ICT) manual Making IT Our Own, adapting these resources to fit the cultural contexts of different audiences.

BWA held leadership and gender sensitivity trainings for kindergarten teachers from April 13-June 8, 2013. BWA has a particular interest in kindergarten teachers both because of their role in forming the attitudes of the next generation, and because their work has been traditionally undervalued by society. After the workshops all 16 participants agreed or strongly agreed that their participation in the training improved their listening skills, and provided them with a greater understanding of leadership’s opportunities and its challenges, and the importance of women’s inclusion in all of a community’s decision making processes. Participants said that they expected to make immediate use of the skills and confidence they gained from the trainings in their classrooms, and in the broader educational community.

BWA held an additional series of grassroots leadership workshops on April 8-22, 2013 in the rural Bahraini town of Hamad. The workshops were held in the town’s Matam, a community space for local religious celebrations and weddings. Following the workshop, feedback from participants indicated an increase in support for the gender justice movement in Bahrain. Moreover, their participation in the workshop led to immediate improvements in relationships within their families and their community, and an increase in the ability to control their own lives. One woman commented after completing the training:

“I decided to study in a literacy program with afternoon classes. I faced the challenge that my family was discouraging me from studying because of my old age. They also thought it was unacceptable for me to leave my house and children for this reason [to study]. But I made up my mind, and I found that my decision was good. Studying made me open-minded to the world around me. So I am a leader.”

Because of the success of these trainings and positive participant feedback, BWA is prioritizing the expansion of trainings in other rural communities across the country.  

From March 19-June 4, 2013 BWA held weekly ICT trainings for women members of their own staff and of other NGOs. These trainings were aimed towards improving women NGO members’ level of skill and confidence with ICTs, especially in their NGO work. Although participants had access to computers and the Internet at home, many did not feel confident in their ability to use them. Following the sessions, participants were more comfortable and capable in the use of ICTs for professional and private tasks, and were pleased with their increased independence in using technology.

On December 7, 2013, BWA’s Unbound Women program held the fifth workshop in a series entitled “Women…A New Paradigm.” The workshop, “Retained in Honor or Released in Kindness,” specifically targeted local women’s civil society organizations. It centered on discussing women’s rights in relation to Islamic family law. Participants discussed the harmful effects of Iddah, the period of time a widowed or divorced women must wait before remarrying. An amendment to Bahrain’s Sunni personal status law was proposed to strengthen protections for divorced, widowed, or abandoned women during the period of Iddah.

BWA conducted another workshop on conflict resolution on November 30, 2013 as part their new Women Embracing Peace initiative. Women Embracing Peace was launched by BWA in May 2013 with the purpose of advancing a “culture of peace,”  increasing women’s capacity as peace builders and peace keepers, and spreading awareness of the need for full implementation of UNSCR 1325 throughout the Arab world. The initiative is comprised of workshops, seminars, strategic public communications, and building alliances between women’s groups and organizations. 

S:SSO to Sakai