Learning Across Borders: Kyrgyz Students Discuss Women’s Rights and Islam with Asma Khader
Since its launch in September 2008, WLP's peer-exchange strategic planning and capacity building initiative has been a resounding success. Over the past year, we have seen fruitful exchanges between partners in several countries, including Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Nigeria. Our peer collaboration model has already evolved far beyond our initial hopes, producing not only deep organizational analyses and real results, but also a new level of creativity, outreach, and relationship building among partners and across regions.
This past September, Asma Khader of Sisterhood Is Global Institute/Jordan (SIGI/J) visited our Kyrgyzstan partner Human Rights Centre "Citizens Against Corruption" (CAC). Both organizations work vigorously to defend human rights in their respective countries, and Asma Khader is a leader among women's rights activists in the Middle East. Given a climate of increasing fundamentalism and restrictions on civil society in Kyrgyzstan, CAC's youth and civil society constituencies seized upon this opportunity to learn from the experiences of a pioneer.
During her stay, Khader met with journalism students from the Manas Kyrgyz-Turkish University in Bishkek. "The students wanted to talk a lot about Islam, given the growing fundamentalist movement in Kyrgyzstan," Khader noted. In particular, the students pressed for details about Khader's work to end honor killings in Jordan (featured in WLP's Leading to Choices manual, which was recently translated into Kyrgyz by CAC). After the meeting, many students commented on how exciting it was to meet such an inspiring role model and to learn about women's rights and Islam in the Middle East. They felt in-person experiences were invaluable and deepened their own activism.
Khader also spent some time introducing other NGOs in CAC's national network to WLP's draft strategic planning curriculum, and she joined CAC's regional outreach efforts by participating in a roundtable discussion at the third annual "One World-Kyrgyzstan" international human rights documentary film festival, which was attended by international human rights activists, film makers, and the general public.ShareThis