Asking the Right Questions: Nonviolence Training and Gender

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An International Women's Consultation for Trainers

October 3-8, 2004
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Costs: €200 (Includes materials, food and accommodation)

What is it, and why?

Are you a nonviolence trainer, wondering how to introduce gender issues into your work? A community-based health care or development worker, a student organizer or trade unionist who wishes to integrate nonviolence into your trainings, activism, or movement? Are you an activist in a social movement addressing violence in society who wants to raise issues around how women are enabled, or not, to work in your organization?

Asking the Right Questions is for you. This international consultation is open to women trainers seeking to integrate nonviolence and gender issues in a wide variety of social change movements. While gender has been increasingly recognized as a critical factor in peace and development during the past decade, gender continues to raise as many questions as it answers. What do we mean by gender, and why does it matter? How can trainers recognize and deal with gender issues among groups of men and women? How can we use nonviolence training to address gender issues in our groups and movements? What would gender-sensitive nonviolence training look like?

These questions and more will be explored in this international consultation. The goals of the consultation include:

  • Breaking the isolation of women nonviolence trainers.
  • Bridging the gaps between different cultures and social change movements (for example, global justice, youth, trade unions, development, etc.) and in particular between generations of women trainers.
  • Supporting women trainers in developing methodologies, materials, modules, to integrate gender into their trainings.
  • Exploring new ways of organizing and activism.

Asking the Right Questions brings 50-60 women trainers together for five days of exchanging experience and ideas, training methodologies and exercises, enthusiasm and questions. The program will involve plenary sessions, hands-on learning, peer coaching, small group exercises and discussion. The consultation will deal with the following issues:

  • Identifying local, national and international training needs of gender into nonviolence trainings
  • Training for empowerment
  • Working with fear, trauma, and victimization
  • Interfaith and intercultural methodologies
  • Linking domestic and state violence
  • Gender issues in reconciliation and conflict resolution
  • Gender issues in direct action
  • Working with men as allies and as antagonists
  • Increasing gender awareness in our organizations
  • Creating new resources on gender and nonviolence

Space will also be available for self-organized workshops.

Who should consider applying?

Women with a commitment and interest in nonviolence (including nonviolence training), who are working in areas such as peace, solidarity, global justice, women's rights, the environment and development, are encouraged to apply.

This is a participatory consultation where women should be willing to demonstrate an exercise, hold a workshop, contribute written materials, etc. All participants must also commit themselves to continue with follow-up and feedback after the consultation. Follow-up is expected to include the further development of gender-sensitive training materials, exploration of how to build up support structures such a mentoring networks, annual nonviolence trainings for women, etc, as well as input into a gender-sensitive nonviolence training manual, to be drafted as part of the consultation process and field-tested by participants on their return home.

There will be three working languages used at the consultation: English, French and Spanish. Interpreting will be provided into and out of these languages.

Who Are the Organizers?

War Resisters' International (WRI), founded in 1921, is an international nongovernmental organization whose members believe war is a crime against humanity. WRI is a network of pacifist activists on every continent who work both in local communities and at the national, regional and international levels. Program areas include Nonviolence and Social Empowerment, The Right to Refuse to Kill, and Dealing with the Past. The WRI Women's Working Group (WRI WWG) was set up in 1985 to provide support for women in their actions against and analysis of militarism.

The International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), founded in 1919, is an international nongovernmental organization with branches around the world. IFOR members, who come from every major religious tradition, are committed to active nonviolence both as a way of life and as a means of social change. IFOR's Women Peacemakers Program (WPP) began in 1997, and works for women's empowerment through nonviolence education and training; networking and building regional capacity; support for sustainable women's organizations; and documentation.

How to Apply

An application form is available upon request from IFOR or WRI. An initial application review will be held after 30 April 2004. Please submit your applications before then if possible.

Places will be allocated to ensure a wide geographical and cultural base, a wide range of training backgrounds, and a broad range of contexts in which follow-up could be expected. Beyond these considerations "first come, first served" will apply.

Please send your application form to the address of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, (see address below).

We hope to see you at the consultation!

Supporting Other Women

If you are unable to attend the consultation, you can still play a very important part by helping someone else to do so. Many women will need financial assistance in order to attend. Please consider making a donation toward another woman's travel and participation costs. Ask your local peace center or women's organization to join you in making a group donation. Contact the War Resisters' International (see address below) for details on how to contribute.

War Resisters' International, 5 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX, Britain. Tel. +44 20 7278 4040. Fax +44 20 7278 0444. Email: office@wri-irg.org Website: wri-irg.org/

International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Women Peacemakers Program, Spoorstraat 38, 1815 BK, Alkmaar, the Netherlands. Tel. +31 72 512 3014. Fax +31 72 515 1102. Email: s.anderson@ifor.org Website: www.ifor.org/WPP

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