Women's Learning Partnership (WLP) gathered representatives from its grassroots women's rights organizations around the world for the Transnational Partners Convening (TPC) in Potomac, Maryland. This annual meeting brings together leaders and activists that comprise the Partnership to share ideas, plan for future initiatives, and review the successes and challenges of the past year. The event facilitates knowledge sharing and builds solidarity among advocates of the global women’s movement.
The 2017 TPC, which ran from October 7 to 9, opened with remarks about the state of the world in relation to women's rights by WLP President Mahnaz Afkhami and members of WLP’s Board of Directors. Representatives from each partner organization then provided updates on their country’s context, which was followed by a review of the Partnership's major achievements of the last year.
Each WLP organization tailors the Partnership’s approaches and resources to the local context, building the capacities of women leaders who can then make change in their communities. Just a few examples of this strategy in action over the past year include:
,Executive Director, WLP Indonesia/Women and Youth Development Institute of Indonesia (WYDII)
- WLP Kyrgyzstan/Bir Duino mobilizing women to hold political leaders accountable in advance of upcoming elections. Bir Duino was part of a coalition of women leaders and NGOs that wrote and distributed recommendations on human rights issues to presidential candidates.
- WLP Senegal/GIPS/WAR tackling rural women’s issues through leadership in legal reform. GIPS/WAR’s World Moves with Women campaign trained women using WLP curricula to advocate for increased land ownership rights in the country.
- WLP Turkey/FSWW using economic cooperatives to provide women with small business opportunities. These co-ops function as a grassroots-organizing model by bringing women together and bolstering women’s visibility in the public sphere. FSWW is also working with the International Labor Organization (ILO) to explore the potential of this model as a means of enabling refugee women to support themselves and their communities.
Other sessions of the TPC included an analysis of WLP's Family Law reform initiative and a plenary on the WLP Refugee Project underway in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Attendees also discussed branding and communications concepts for the Partnership and new methods to monitor and evaluate the impact of the Partnership’s accomplishments.
Around the world, the spread of COVID-19 is changing how civil society organizations (CSOs) are able to conduct their work and the global women’s movement in particular is facing extraordinary challenges. Organizations that amplify women’s voices and choices on issues ranging from personal status laws to reproductive health are now confronting unparalleled hurdles but are also finding innovative approaches to continue their work. Women’s Learning Partnership’s has mobilized to ensure that the needs of women are not overlooked in emergency responses to the pandemic. Our partners are adapting their programs and campaigns to address the evolving challenges by moving their events online, using messaging apps and social media to disseminate information, sensitizing journalists about the pandemic’s particular threats to women in the home and outside, raising funds for populations most at-risk, and even broadcasting messages by megaphone in communities where there is limited technology infrastructure and access to the web.
In response to the many challenges and threats facing civil society, democracy, and the planet, women and men marched, rallied, and gave speeches around the world on International Women’s Day. Demanding an end to inequality, violence, and environmental degradation, WLP’s partners were at the forefront of the mobilizations, amplifying local and regional campaigns for women’s rights. For some, the day was marred by counter protestors, violence, and arrests.