In May 2017, Women’s Learning Partnership gathered activists from across Central Asia for its first Training of Trainers held in the country of Tajikistan. The four-day event took place in the capital city of Dushanbe as a follow up to the previous year’s training in Kazakhstan, which brought together several of the same women’s rights activists from the region.
The training was executed in collaboration with WLP partner organizations from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan—Shymkent Women’s Resource Center (SWRC) and Bir Duino, respectively—and Parastor, a Tajik non-governmental organization that works to promote the rights of rural women. SWRC and Bir Duino provided mentorship and guidance on the training agenda, participant outreach, and facilitation techniques.
The 25 participants, selected for their commitment to the promotion of women’s leadership in their countries, came from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The group was comprised of representatives from NGOs, the media, government institutions, and the education sector.
Training sessions covered various topics on women’s leadership and human rights. Participants were encouraged to examine gender issues prevalent in the region, like human trafficking, forced marriage, and violence against women perpetrated during recent conflicts. Facilitators used a number of WLP manuals to structure the training, including Leading to Choices, Victories Over Violence, Beyond Equality, and Leading to Compassion.
Throughout the training, participants enriched conversations and debates with their own stories. Many found the session on peacebuilding to be especially impactful and cathartic. Discussions on human rights laws and horizontal leadership were deemed enlightening and particularly useful to their work going forward.
Participants were also pleased to receive remarks from prominent guests, including Ms. Makhmudi, a renowned culture figure of Tajikistan who made an opening address, and famous Tajik singer Parvin Yusufi, who joined activities on the second day of training.
In line with WLP’s Training of Trainers model, participants planned events to transfer the knowledge they acquired to their own communities. These proposed events included leadership workshops for girls, seminars on human rights, workshops for victims of domestic violence in rural areas, trainings for those who advocate for or live with the disabled, and workshops on peacebuilding and forgiveness.
To build on the success of this event, another WLP training of trainers for Central Asia activists is scheduled to take place in Georgia in 2018.
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