WLP Partners Share Progress, Achievements, and Challenges

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.

TPC Indonesia

Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh & Wai Ling Ho
at Transnational Partners Convening.
More photos on Flickr

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.

South-South Exchanges:

One of the most promising new programs of the last few years has been the Partnership's peer-to-peer strategic planning, capacity building, and mentoring program, in which one WLP partner visits another to facilitate their long-term planning. At the TPC, WLP partners shared how their mentoring experiences are helping not just their organizations, but also at the national level, since many are working with government agencies and ministries to assist them with their national strategies regarding women:

  • WLP partner in Jordan (SIGI/J) worked with our partner in Kyrgyzstan (CAC) to reach out to women union leaders and university students to discuss how the Partnership's leadership and strategic planning curricula can be applied in their organizations.
  • This year two trainers from our partner in Egypt (FWID) co-facilitated a national Training of Trainers Institute in Jordan as the first phase of their exchange.
  • WLP partner in Turkey (FSWW) replicated WLP's peer-to-peer mentoring model among its own network of cooperatives and helped them develop sustainability plans and share best practices.
  • Partners from Afghanistan (AIL) and Jordan (SIGI/J) have been working with their governments to develop strategies, with WLP Jordan helping the Jordanian National Commission for Women reevaluate its national strategy for women.
  • Morocco(ADFM) and Mauritania (AFCF) have been working together to implement national Training of Trainers Institutes. The Mauritanian government called on WLP Morocco (ADFM) to work with them on their national strategy for women, focusing on how government can work better with NGOs, build capacity, and plan better.

Political Participation:

Several WLP partners discussed upcoming elections in their respective countries and how WLP's new political participation manual, Leading to Action, could best be utilized to prepare women to participate, both as candidates and voters.

TPC Discussion

Rabea Naciri & Mahnaz Afkhami
at partners meeting.
More photos on Flickr

  • With the upcoming 2010 legislative elections and 2011 presidential elections, WLP Egypt (FWID) noted that even though Egypt has introduced a quota system, women must still be rich or related to the ruling party to be viable candidates. FWID is organizing workshops for women to run, establishing a fund to support women with a feminist agenda, and will use Leading to Action, which they have begun translating into Arabic.
  • With its own upcoming 2010 parliamentary elections, WLP partner in Afghanistan (AIL) is providing awareness-raising workshops for women voters and candidates.
  • WLP partner in Bahrain (BWA), which is providing logistical support to candidates for its November 2010 elections, expressed concern about the effect of the political atmosphere on their work in support of women.
  • In preparation for upcoming municipal elections -- with its new 20% quota system for women -- our partner in Lebanon (CRTD-A ) is intensifying trainings to involve women as candidates and informed voters and will especially utilize Leading to Action's quota chapter to help demystify the process.
  • WLP Jordan (SIGI/J) is working to involve youth in its upcoming parliamentary elections and to support and prepare women candidates who demonstrate grassroots support and a good understanding of women's issues. SIGI/J will work intensively to mobilize support for several candidates, including a media campaign.
  • WLP partner in Nigeria (BAOBAB) is working to identify qualified women for its 2011 elections, encouraging them to become candidates and trying to get more space for women in the National Assembly.

Violence Against Women and Advocacy:

Partners agreed on the need to further develop a regional campaign on UNSCR 1325 (which calls for women's full participation in the peace-building process and acknowledges the disproportionate impact violent conflict has on them) as well as build national plans for implementation. WLP International agreed to continue to scale up the profile of our advocacy campaigns on the international level. WLP Jordan (SIGI/J) noted that even though they were successful in passing a law on domestic violence, much remains to be done to eradicate violence in the home, workplace, and on the streets, as women continue to face challenges in accessing the justice system. WLP Morocco (ADFM) shared its efforts to build more political support for the Equality without Reservation Campaign (which advocates for withdrawal of all reservations to CEDAW), while our colleague from Iran shared how the One Million Signatures Campaign is working to ensure its priorities are highlighted by the Green Movement. WLP Lebanon conveyed how social media and leadership training based on Leading to Choices have empowered women and youth to become involved in the Claiming Equal Citizenship Campaign and have helped make citizenship an enduring public issue.

Challenges:

TPC Indonesia

Transnational Partners Convening
More photos on Flickr

Increasing Extremism:

Partners discussed how to counter increasing extremism and the growing influence of conservative groups that seek to undermine their work for human rights. Partners advised:

  • Communicate with religious communities to identify themes of common interest such as justice and human dignity to promote cooperation and to allow women to have the choice to practice their faith while working to enhance their rights.
  • Challenge extremists' policy of using feminist terminology and female surrogates to camouflage anti-women's rights ideas at the UN and other international gatherings.
  • Strengthen shared values; avoid exclusionary and divisive designations that weaken the focus on full rights for all women everywhere.

Fundraising and Restrictive NGO Laws:

Partners shared challenges related to shrinking financial support and restrictive NGO legislation. They pointed out the importance of the Partnership itself as an innovative and unique phenomenon which, if clearly presented, can be strongly supported.

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