WLP Lebanon/CRTD.A kicks off new round of Leadership and Political Participation training for women involved in the Nationality Campaign
Fifteen women involved in CRTD.A’s nationality campaign participated in CRTD.A’s new round of leadership and political participation trainings. The training, the first of a series of six planned for the remainder of 2012, seeks to build women’s skills to enable them to take on leading role within the growing Women’s Right to Nationality Campaign.
A reminder that these training rounds followed a process of thorough field level assessment and identification of local women with dispositions and commitment to play a leadership role in the Women’s Right to Nationality Campaign. In this round of training, the WLP Leading to Action training manual on women’s political participation was very much utilised with emphasis on using the upcoming parliamentary elections (June 2013) as a case study for strategizing for moving the Campaign forward. The workshop included fun and compelling moments especially when women role-played elections, engaged in political debates, held politicians accountable to their pre-election promises as well as experimented with various situations and challenges that women face in attempting to penetrate political life. For all participants, these experiences were an eye-opener as they discovered not only the complexities of political life but also the ways in which the dice are often loaded against women. Most importantly, many of the women realised that in order for them to effect change, they need to organise, support each other and not shy away from politics. Other a-ha moments of the workshop were when women came face to face with their own prejudice vis-à-vis women in leadership and political position and realised how bound these pre-set ideas.
The Women’s Right to Nationality Campaign has fully integrated the Leading to Choices methodology for many years now. This was based on the realisation that women need to play a leadership role in mobilisation, campaigning and advocacy. At this stage of the Campaign, we are moving towards more sustained interface with politicians and decision makers as well as wider grassroots mobilisation. Building leadership skills within a participatory and inclusive framework has thus far proven to be a strong vehicle as well as tool for strengthening women’s engagement in processes to claim their rights. The Nationality Campaign has proved to be a great real life laboratory for this experiment. As one of our participants said in a sit-in that CRTD.A organised in December 2012, “I know that the law is not going to change overnight because we are here for the sit-in. I am here because I have the right to be here and because I have the right to claim my rights”.
The ways in which women discover and appreciate their leadership skills, the roles that they have always played as “invisible leaders’, the humongous role they play in sustaining and improving life and their right to be legitimate political actors are some of the outcomes that we are noting as direct and tangible results of the current WLP Leadership and Political Participation training manuals. These are some of the illustrations of the necessity to invest in building knowledge, skills and capacity of women using curriculum that are based on a vision of a egalitarian, inclusive, participatory, just, humane and democratic society.