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25. May 2010

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Robi, Nuna/Memnuna, Qoran, train the trainers conference May 2010

SAVE Workshops Update

The Way Out: Women Know How!

On May 24, 15 women from Pakistan, Yemen, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Israel, Bosnia, Indonesia, India, and Somalia came together to start a week of intensive workshops to launch SAVE’s first global campaign: Mothers for Change! which seeks to empower and enable women to fight violent extremism on the front lines: in their homes and communities, where people may be hijacked by radical ideologies. In these workshops, the participating women—SAVE leaders and future facilitators—learned about and modeled a variety of strategies for forming mothers' groups in their home countries and starting dialogue processes to initiate understanding and conflict resolution.

The workshops took place in Carinthia, Austria, where the participants developed a coordinated plan for the implementation of Mothers for Change! Despite the range of educational and professional backgrounds and the variety of ethnic and religious affiliations represented within the group, the determination of these women to transform their societies brought them together in a common purpose.

The SAVE workshops offers a platform to women activists around the world to share and learn from each other. Anne Carr, May de Silva, and Catherine McCartney from Women Into Politics, an NGO in Northern Ireland, led workshops to share the community-based strategies that they have developed to help bring together Catholic and Protestant groups in their country. Robi Damelin from the Parents Circle--Families Forum in Israel also contributed her expertise as a workshop trainer. Activists from Yemen and Pakistan found commonalities in the challenges they face in societies with restricted women’s rights and low literacy rates, and they were able to learn from each other and exchange ideas for the future. Other activists from Bosnia, Somalia, and Palestine discussed crucial implementation strategies with their peers.

These workshops also provided the women with the valuable opportunity to offer fellowship and support to each other across boundaries. The participants took part in Storytelling workshops, which are process-oriented dialogue sessions for conflict resolution and reconciliation. The SAVE Sisters were trained to be Storytelling facilitators, and they learned how they can foster constructive dialogue in their countries and reach out to vulnerable female populations through community education. In these ways, concerns about social, economic, and political stability were paired with issues in the security realm in order to re-envision lasting solutions to global security problems. These new voices are critical to the development of alternative security solutions—to moving from ideological discourse on a theoretical level to tangible policy solutions that create change at the community level, utilizing female “Know-How” and women’s central role in the family and civil society.


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