Gender, Sexuality and Communications: Towards Strengthening the Leadership of Queer, Young Womenin Francophone West Africa, held in Burkina Faso (24 to 28 September 2012). This training was a collaborationbetween the Queer African Youth Networking Centre (QAYN) and Isis International This workshop, the first of its kind in the sub-region brought together eight queer, young activists from Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, and Senegal. The overall goal of the training was to deepen individual and organizational agency. The theoretical part of the training used a participatory approach to promote collective work and team spirit. Each day of training had a particular but interlinked theme: feminist critical analysis of oppression with a focus on the body, gender, sexuality and power; deepening participants knowledge and skills in movement building and broaden; organizational development based on feminist leadership principles and the use of media and communications strategies and tools for social change; capacity development with a focus on personal safety and well-being of the activists, the development of a collective action plan.
Young Feminist Activist Leadership (2011), held at the Isis International House in Manila. Strengthening Young Women’s Leadership, Advocacy and Movement Building was a five-day training to learn about strengthening young women’s leadership, advocacy and movement building in anticipation of the 55th UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW 55). Fourteen young women leaders working on the issues of sexuality and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) gender-based violence, women with disabilities, women’s political participation and peace building, and other women’s human rights issues attended this training. These young women came from seven countries within Asia: Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines and Sri Lanka.
The workshop began by creating a positive space -- emphasising inclusivity and an open heart and mind that would help them with their learning and sharing. Feminist journalism, interviewing techniques, as well as feminist development communication theories were also part of this training. These sessions were followed by hands-on workshops on audio production and editing for podcasts, as well as video production for advocacy. The practical skills were built upon through an in depth discussion about the possibilities and limitations of social media for feminist advocacy, exploring various social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogging. Towards the end of the workshop, an overview and history of southern feminism and the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) as a site of historic struggle for women from the Global South was provided.
Re–examining Gender Based Violence and Strengthening Advocacy Work (25 October-13 November 2010), held at the Isis International House in Manila. This three week Activist School gave participants from the Asia-Pacific region the chance to: learn and exchange on gender based violence (GBV) within a multi-cultural setting; explore new perspectives and frameworks; visit organisations and learn about existing and emerging practices in addressing GBV; share organizational development strategies to strengthen institutional practice; understand the role of feminist development communications in sharpening advocacy for GBV; and be trained in the use of key development communication tools for advocacy and campaigns for the 16 Days of Activism and beyond.
Two theatre plays and three videos were produced. Participants used these productions in their respective advocacy work back home. Other productions were replicated to fit within their specific culture and contexts. This training was intentionally conducted prior to the 16-Days of Activism. Thus, the training also resulted in the participants’ producing a communication campaign plan that they implemented during this event. Back in their home countries, the participants carried out innovative and locally appropriate campaigns against gender-based violence. Videos of the women talking about these initiatives can be found on the Isis International Facebook timeline of 2010.
Engendering Climate Justice: The Southeast Asia Experience (3-5 August 2010), held at the Isis International House in Manila. Attended by twenty-eight grassroots women leaders from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and Nepal, the three-day training served as a venue for interactive and dynamic exchange on climate change issues, its impact on women, as well as current responses and climate change discussions where women's voices are often not considered or heard. It culminated with People's Communications for Engendering Climate Justice: A Dialogue and Festival of Responses, a public forum and festival held on 6 August 2010, where participants learned about alternative media and communication tools and celebrated the knowledge gained.
Climate change is a reality faced by people and countries everywhere with women being the most affected because of issues of gender. However, women are also active agents in addressing immediate and strategic solutions to climate change. Through t 24-29 he training, participants were able to gain theoretical understanding of climate change from a feminist perspective allowing them to appreciate the importance and necessity of integrating gender in interventions at the community, national, regional and international levels. The training also provided participants with practical skills on crafting effective messages on gender and climate justice, as well as on the use of various communication tools to help them strategize more effective advocacy campaigns.
The Activist School on Engendering Climate Justice was part of a yearlong project where Isis endeavoured to raise awareness on Southern women's experiences of the impact of climate change, its impact on women and its linkages to other gender issues. The project aimed at surfacing southern women's perspectives and feminist analyses on climate change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), as well as strengthening feminist positions on gender and climate change in NGO-led processes.
One of the outcomes was the Gender and Climate Justice Tool Kit.
Crafting Messages for Women and Peacebuilding (24-29 May 2010), held in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines. During the workshop the participants explored the transformative potential of communication tools -- theatre, radio and visual arts -- to communicate effectively their experiences and their roles in peacebuilding. The participants discussed through short theatre pieces their strengths and aspirations as women leaders in various spaces of their lives; through radio, the support they need and draw from in their everyday life; and through poster making the importance of participation, protection and upholding of women's rights as basic ingredients to peacebuilding
On the last day a multi-stakeholder dialogue took place -- Development Communications for Holistic and Sustainable Peace -- where women shared the messages and narratives they created during the workshop, emphasizing the importance of participation, equality and democracy as tools for peacebuilding. The event also served as the culmination of the two-year two-country project, Cultural Politics of Conflict, Peace and the UNSCR 1325, implemented by BALAY Rehabilitation Center and the Atma Jaya University Indonesia that focused on strengthening women's role in peacebuilding.
This Activist School was based on the fact that women, far from being mere victims of conflicts and wars, have an active role in their resolution, peace-making and peacebuilding. It aimed to strengthen women's communication skills and raise their awareness of the Resolution on Women, Peace and Security (UNSCR 1325) passed by United Nations Security Council in 2000 as a tool for advocacy.
Media Advocacy for Migrant Rights and Empowerment (4-11 April 2010), held at the Isis International House in Manila. Participants were activists, grassroots women leaders and development practitioners from China and the Philippines. Alternative media are key tools for the spreading of information and for the assertion of migrant workers’ rights, as well as to deal with government agencies.
Migrant workers are a silent group within a nation's population and have largely been overlooked. Yet, they continue to organize to demand for their rights and just working conditions. Oftentimes, internal migrants, those moving from rural areas to urban ones, are overlooked in favour of migrant workers who leave their countries for a job. Both face much exploitation and oppression due to the temporary nature of their job and lives and having to adjust to new environments and situations.
The focus of the week-long school was on learning the theory of development communication and applying the
knowledge gained to create alternative media. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants created radio plugs and had experience with video advocacy.
On 5 April 2010, an open forum, titled “Development Communications for Migrant Rights: The China and Philippines Experience,” was held as part of the week-long workshop. The forum gathered migrant rights advocates from China, a professor from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, grassroots women leaders from the Philippines and an expert on community radio from Isis International as well as participants of the Isis International Activist School.
Presenters highlighted the ways in which Chinese migrants empower themselves by acquiring communication skills and applying them while dealing with government agencies at various levels. The forum also highlighted the fact that Filipinos have been organizing since the 1980s to promote rights and just living and working conditions for overseas Filipino workers. Alternative forms of media, such as community radio, were emphasized as tools that could be used to inform workers of their rights and to fill in information gaps.