Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

10. July 2013

Mothers School Tajikistan © WwB

"Me and Security" - a Mothers School workshop in Tajikistan

Tajikistan Workshop 1, Pic 2

When Do I Feel Safe? - Group Exercise

Mothers School Khujand Kick off

Short report from Tajikistan, 11-16.02.2013

In February 2013, in the sunny mountains of northern Tajikistan, in the city of Khujand, a group of pioneering female leaders came together to kick off the first Mothers School at the invitation of Women without Borders /SAVE and our local partner ASTI (Association of Scientific & Technical Intelligentsia). During discussions and exercises to identify early warning signs of radicalization and violent extremism in their areas, the women exhibited significant concern about increasing signs of radicalization in their surroundings. 


They subsequently identified a need for further education, specifically to help mothers recognize and act on early warning signs, to build resistance to extremism in young people and above all to boost family communications. This Mothers School curriculum then is a needs-based response to support women’s roles in security. Launching the first Mothers School pilot project in Khujand has engendered a certain sense of ownership amongst the trainees. 


The tool consists of one facilitator booklet with start-to-finish guidelines and exercises for ten meetings including background information, case studies and activities, plus two audio-visual discs containing a film and power point presentation. Themes covered include women and mother’s roles in security, the psycho-social process of child development and radicalization, as well as parenting skills, family communication and self-confidence. The curriculum is designed to be usable with few or no facilities and is suitable for women from a range of educational backgrounds.


On 11-16 February, a SAVE team of trainers travelled to Khujand to launch the Mothers Schools curriculum in the Sughd Province of Tajikistan in a 3-day train-the-trainer workshop.  Logistics and translations were organized in partnership with local partners ASTI. The 10 participating female trainees are professionals and volunteers active in the education of women and youth both in state bodies and NGOs. They were selected for their experience with training the target group and for access to their existing networks.   Indeed, one important factor for this sensitive work was that trainees already have a good social standing and the support of their families to work outside the home. 


The three day workshop included presentations of key ideas, discussions and group exercises and the use of audio visual tools, such as the SAVE film Your Mother.  Participants received hands –on training in how to use the curriculum material, including best practice facilitator tips. In addition, project administration - the nuts and bolts – was given adequate time, so that challenges can be anticipated and prepared for.  An important aspect of the workshop was building a strong team and positive energy for work ahead.


Over the course of the next 5 months, each participating trainee is expected to deliver in total 10 training meetings using one chapter per meeting.  As there were 10 trainees at the workshop and with a required minimum of 15 women per meeting, we can estimate that the overall potential outreach could be at least 150 for this first pilot group. It is hoped then that the use of common key messages and questions supplied in the curriculum will provide a degree of consistency across the groups.


The trainees will test the pilot manual and send their feedback, impressions and experiences using the manual to SAVE Vienna, via ASTI.  ASTI will also be responsible for the observation and evaluation of the ongoing meetings to analyze the impact and value of the training tool on the rural mothers. Such overall feedback will be important to ensure optimum design, relevance and ease of use of the tool, as well as provide indicators for effectiveness. The curriculum will then be adapted for use by SAVE groups in all target countries. Indeed, SAVE is already preparing to launch a second Mothers School network in the south of Tajikistan and on the island of Zanzibar.


Overall there was an excellent working atmosphere of cooperation and confidence in all the workshops. The participating trainees were open, engaged and constructive. SAVE is very grateful to ASTI for their prompt and professional support and well organized logistics and facilities.




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