Partners from Across the Globe Discuss Advancing Women's Rights and Democratic Values in 2014


WLP held its 2013 annual Partners Convening from October 21-24, in Potomac, Maryland, with partners from Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Turkey, and Zimbabwe.  During the convening, partners reviewed the past year, reflecting on accomplishments, challenges, and emerging trends, and identified priorities for women’s rights work in the year ahead.  The meeting focused on strategies for enhancing the Partnership’s work in political participation, ending violence against women, strengthening civil society, using social media strategy and traditional media outreach effectively, and legislative and grassroots advocacy campaigns.  Other priority issues discussed included women’s economic empowerment, challenges posed by conservative and/or extremist religious groups, changes in grassroots social protest movements, and the need to provide women in transitioning countries with specialized resources to ensure their political participation. 

WLP’s Online Learning Portal Aban was discussed as a major new project that will enable WLP to support skills-building and networking for women’s rights and democratic development to new populations. Launched in 2013, Aban is a professional, participatory, interactive online learning space where citizens from across the globe can convene to build their capacities for leadership, activism, and political participation to contribute to egalitarian democracies that embrace diversity and human rights for ALL citizens.  This year WLP held pilot trainings in Arabic, English, and Persian, and is currently adapting several WLP manuals for online use. Partners also discussed the new programs in development to supplement the Portal, including WLP Online Digital Collections (repository of WLP resources), and the online Corpus of Laws in Muslim Societies, and held breakout sessions focused on two new WLP curricula: the draft Democracy in Transition Toolkit and the manual on combating gender-based violence, Victories Over Violence, both of which provide tools and resources for promoting peaceful and gender-just civil societies.

One day of the convening was set aside for an Advocacy Capacity Building Intensive that included discussions on legislative advocacy, grassroots culture change, and traditional media outreach and a guest presentation on social media outreach and advocacy best practices by Anastasia Khoo of the Human Rights Campaign. The partners shared insights and best practices from their own advocacy campaigns across the Partnership, which is serving as the foundation for WLP’s forthcoming advocacy toolkit.

During the week, WLP also held a standing-room only public event, Beyond Revolution: The Future of Women’s Rights and Democracy in the Middle East-North Africa, in partnership with Cultural Conversations at the School of Advanced International Studies' Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins University. The event included a screening of Because Our Cause Is Just, WLP’s documentary film on the backlash against women's rights in MENA during political transitions, followed by a panel consisting of WLP Board Chair and Saudi Arabia Shura Council member Thoraya Obaid, WLP Board Member and former Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Yakin Ertürk, WLP Egypt/FWID Executive Director Enas el Shafie, WLP Lebanon/CRTD.A Executive Director Lina Abou Habib, and WLP Morocco/ADFM co-founder and Morocco Human Rights Council Member Rabéa Naciri. Click here to watch and read more about the event. 


Click here to view more pictures. 

S:SSO to Sakai