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09. July 2013

OSCE Tajikistan

Great News from the Field!

Edit Schlaffer and Georgina Nitzsche took part in the seminar ‘Women and Terrorism’ organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation on Europe (OSCE) on the 18-19 June in Dushanbe, side by side with our SAVE Sisters Archana Kapoor (India) and Arshi Hashmi (Pakistan). A representative of our partners in Kujand; the Association of Scientific and Technical Intelligentsia (ASTI) and Mothers School facilitator Zebo Khojaeva was there too. The seminar of invited civil society and government representatives and international guests was the first ever forum that the OSCE have hosted in Tajikistan to discuss the local perspective of women’s roles in violent extremism and radicalization leading to terrorism.

WwB used the opportunity to draw attention to the role women can (and already do) play to directly influence society, in families and communities, to counter the spread of violent extremist ideas and to employ alternative measures that prevent terrorist radicalization. With our positive examples from our international experiences such as the Mothers School model, we could highlight how the mobilization of women’s talents and energies can really add to traditional security and law enforcement paradigm.

Zebo shared the latest developments of very encouraging testimony and success stories of the ongoing Mothers School around Kujand. With ten groups close to completing their 10 sessions before the summer harvest, there are already stories of how participants are using their newly boosted skills and confidence in conversations with their children and husbands, even those working outside the country.  Moreover, some Mothers Schools invite local stakeholders, such as the Police, to discuss key concerns and in this way the mothers are directly gathering information about how they can better tap into the support of formal institutions and build local support networks.

Zebo told one story of a mother who was able to gently coax her daughter, who was spending a great deal of time watching religious messaging which had extremist content,  “Without the Mothers School”, the mother said, “I would have reacted very differently, maybe angrily, which would have been the completely wrong approach.  This way, talking and looking together we found a better way to question the materials more critically.”

WwB are delighted to hear such feedback and are looking to extend the Mothers Schools concept next into Pakistan, Kashmir and Zanzibar.


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