Mothers School Workshop in Mewat, India
"Me and Security" - a Mothers School workshop in Tajikistan
A Mothers School group in Dal Lake, Srinagar
A Mothers School meeting in Islamabad
Mothers School trainers in Stone Town, Zanzibar
“We feel powerless when we tell our children, go regularly to school and in return they say why don’t you go? But, now we are happy that somehow we can proudly say that even though we didn’t get a degree we have also been to the school of development of mothers.” -Mothers School attendee Mewat, India "We are not giving ready-made solutions. We are empowering mothers to make their own solutions." -Mothers School mobilizer Srinigar, Kashmir "Women can create security from the highest level to the smallest level. Because I believe that women can use their own way to create security. They have intelligence, power, and opinion." -Mothers School attendee Jember, Indonesia The Mothers School Model is a pioneering family-centered security platform that strengthens existing counter violent extremism (CVE) approaches by engaging mothers as an embedded security ally. The Mothers School curriculum facilitates critical dialogue and targeted training to strengthen women's confidence and competence to recognize and react to early warning signs of radicalization in their children. The curriculum includes ten modules taught by trained local leaders who conduct home-based meetings with groups of mothers in communities at-risk. The Model seeks to empower and enable mothers to become agents of peace and stability in their families and communities as cornerstones of an embedded security paradigm.
The innovative idea for the Mothers School Model is a direct outcome from capacity-building workshops that Women without Borders / SAVE conducted in Kujand, Tajikistan in 2012 and is a needs-based response to support women’s roles in safeguarding their children. The curriculum emphasizes the distinctive role women can play in the security sphere by facilitating constructive communication and thoughtful authority in their families. It promotes using open dialogue, listening, and empathy with one's children, which not only allows mothers to have a deeper understanding of a child's emotional and psychological state, but also lessens the need for children to seek out external methods of coping with the turmoil of adolescence. Other themes covered include the psycho-social processes of child development, de-radicalization techniques, as well as applied parenting skills, and improved family communication.
The Mothers School pilot was launched in Kujand, Tajikistan in February 2013 with a three-day train-the-trainer workshop. Ten local trainers subsequently founded mothers’ groups with five meetings in rural villages over three months in a first phase ending in April. After the introduction to the Mothers Schools programs, the immediate response was very positive; all participants found the workshops very powerful and that the Mothers Schools concept was very timely. The first survey revealed that mothers were concerned about the spread of Islamic radicalization and gave examples of events and anecdotes from their own experience. Indeed, there is also a sense of foreboding for the spread of the interpretation promulgated by the Taliban once the American-led security forces ISAF leave Afghanistan in 2014.
The idea of empowering mothers for security as an ‘ally’ in the home was, for many, an entirely new angle in counter radicalization efforts, but one that they welcomed. Mothers are relieved to be able to play role on the home front as the huge pressure on Tajik families to preserve an unblemished family reputation prevented them from taking specific action before.
Upon the positive feedback and reception, the Mothers School concept was expanded to additional target countries including India (Kashmir), Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia and Zanzibar .
Watch our latest Women without Borders / SAVE film featuring our Mothers School Mobilizers from India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Zanzibar.
Please click here to read a report on the Mothers School project in Mewat, India.
Please click here to read about the Mothers School in Tajikistan.
The Mothers School projects in Kashmir, Zanzibar and Indonesia are co-financed by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (BMASK).
Mothers Schools Go West The Mothers School Model will now be implemented in Europe to address the ongoing foreign fighter phenomenon. It will establish a space for both concerned mothers and mothers who have already lost their children to the lure of Syria to inform, strengthen, and unify their efforts to prevent radicalization. The long-term goal is to establish a global Mothers School Movement, in which Mothers Schools will be implemented across all communities at-risk to establish a corps of well-aware and well-equipped family members ready to preempt and respond to violent extremism worldwide.