Sexual Politics in Muslim Societies: Studies from Palestine, Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia
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Regional Training Workshop on Sexual Rights – Amman, September 2017

Submitted by on November 1, 2017 – 1:19 pmNo Comment

Through a private donation received in January 2017,  CSBR launched our first Participatory Seed Grant program for our members.Muntada - CSBR Seed Grant

After a round of proposals, a collective review and decision-making process by our members,  the grant went to Muntada-the Arab Forum on Sexuality, Health and Education, to support an Arabic language MENA Regional Training Workshop on Sexual Rights for service providers.

The training was held in Amman, Jordan from 12-17 September 2017. It brought together seventeen professionals from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, and Syria. Over six intensive full days, the training focused on providing basic knowledge on sexuality, challenging traditional concepts of Sexual Rights, developing trainees’ skills, and providing them with professional tools to be used when working with different target groups in their societies. The workshop provided a safe space for learning, reflection, and for intellectual discussions where participants shared their personal and professional experiences and analyzed similarities and differences between the multiple contexts within the Arab Region.

This valuable experience is part of a series of regional training courses around the Arab Region carried out by Muntada. Currently, Muntada is preparing for its fifth regional training which will take place in Egypt this month in cooperation with “Love Matters – Egypt”. In addition, a sixth regional workshop which will be held in Tunisia by the beginning of 2018 in cooperation with the Tunisian Family Planning Association.

 

 

Trainees Reflections:

Below are some reflections shared by participants by the end of the training,Muntada - CSBR Seed Grant 2 which illustrate the real
change that occurred both on personal and professional levels:

 

  • “I learned new skills and concepts in dealing with children’s sexual issues, professionally I learned new awareness techniques and communication methodologies, you gave me huge power to go back home and address sexual issues in the community with no feelings of shyness nor fear”.

 

  • “I learned to trust myself, my choices, my paths, I’m proud of myself and proud that I’m part of a worldwide feminist movement. The biggest important lesson was facing myself! Professionally the training was a turning point! I learned a lot from the experience sharing, I took lots of energy and power and gave you all my expertise from the field”.

 

  • “This was the second training I participate facilitated by a woman! I come from religious background yet the learning path provided during the training was beyond expectations! The knowledge transformation techniques and the active participatory method used throughout the
    training, were very professional and classy. Accepting “the other” was distinctive, the group was
    diverse and I’m sure that selecting such combination was hard yet very effective!”

 

  • “On professional level, I gained new information and corrected previous ones. The course was a chance for confrontation with reality and diversity compared to the other theoretical courses I participated in. On personal level I need to work more to increase my passion and intimacy
    aspects.”

 

  • “The most important thing I learned is the techniques and methods that should be used when addressing sexual topics with children. I learned to be honest with children. Personally the group gave me a lot particularly courage and passion to change.”

 

  • “The training was one of the richest experiences that I had in my life, I benefited from every minute and every detail. The training path was a golden opportunity to break taboos, it’s an adventure with new people in a new country. I learned how to re-think what I think. New, creative and participatory tools were produced, effective communication techniques were given
    and professional facilitation skills were gained”.

 

  • “I learned to speak out my story to others, I learned how to reconsider my vision, to stand in front of the mirror and get to better understand and know myself. Understanding relations and categorizing them has a great effect.The change that happened to me on personal levels had
    definitely affected me on professional levels, the “Journey through sexuality” activity was a very
    good example that illustrates this effect. Several concepts were corrected and new facilitation
    skills were gained. I acquired strength I wouldn’t have gained in any other place in the world!”

 

What was special in this training workshop?

Throughout the tens of training workshops conducted by Muntada during the last ten years within the
Arab communities, we never had a participant who is “declared” as a person living with HIV, nor a gay sex worker. Their presence and sharing of their personal and intimate experiences were a huge contribution to the learning process for the rest of the participants.

 

What’s next?!

In the last session of the course, a timetable was set for a series of activities including awareness workshops to be carried out by each trainee in his/her country by the end of November 2017, with diverse community groups including professionals and University students, women, parents, publication of articles on Sexual Rights at local and regional media. In addition, two guides on puberty–“I became a young man” and “I became a young woman”, published by Muntada three years ago in Palestinian slang–will be re-written in the Tunisian dialect. It is worth mentioning that these guides were previously transformed into the Egyptian dialect by the initiative of an Egyptian graduate who participated in the first regional workshop in 2015.

Action plans were set together with each participant to promote sexual rights in his/her own country. These included the following:

1. Algeria: A University professor will conduct a sexual awareness workshop and discussion rounds with University students.

2. Tunisia: A Human Rights Activist will conduct sexual rights awareness workshops for adolescents aging 14-26. They will work together on translating sexual concepts to theatre sketches to be performed in rural areas. Moreover, she will work together with Muntada’s Media and Website coordinator to launch a Radio Web.

3. Tunisia: A professional will conduct awareness workshops to several groups of persons with HIV at the care proving centers. He will also re-write the two guides “I became a young woman” and “I became a young man” in Tunisian dialect language so it can be published and distributed in Tunisia.

4. Lebanon: a professional who works in a UN agency called “The International Rescue Committee” will conduct a sexual awareness workshop for her co-workers, in addition to that she will train professional cadres mainly social workers who work with groups of women and girls at impoverished localities in the North of Lebanon.

5. Lebanon: an educator will initiate a small project focusing on interactive theatre with women on sexuality issues. Moreover she will write an article on related sexual topics to be published in local media.

6. Syria: an advocate will: (a) conduct an awareness workshop for her co-workers, (b) network with local civil society organizations for people with disability, (c) initiate an interactive theatre with a group of people with disability on sexuality concepts, and (d) will use sexual rights terminologies in UNFPA and Y-Peers campaign in Syria which focus this year on gender violence and Femicide.

7. Syria: a professional will conduct two workshops one with her co-workers and another with children using music and theatre.

8. Syria: a professor will conduct awareness workshop for university students and will work on updating the Reproductive Health Program curriculum provided by Family Planning Association in Syria.

9. Syria: an educator will implement awareness workshops at Family Planning Association’s Youth Centers and will integrate sexuality concepts in their training curriculum.

10. Syria: a youth advocate will initiate a blog with scout youth groups and will write an article on sexual rights.

11. Sudan: an advocate will conduct and awareness workshop with youth activists through networking with Al Nouby Woman Center, moreover she will write an article in English for the use of the Sexual and Reproductive Rights Network in Sudan.

12. Egypt:a professional who works at “Ma’looma Center” will implement an awareness workshop for his co-workers who are responsible to answer more than one and a half million questions received from the public. In addition to that he will add sexuality concepts to “Al Arakoz” Theatre project which targets nurseries and moves between rural areas in Egypt.

13. Egypt: an organizer will conduct an awareness workshop for groups of mothers as part of Coptic Church community activities.

14. Egypt: an NGO worker who lives in the UAE, will work with parents of children with disabilities and will initiate awareness classes at school level as a preventative action. She will also network Muntada with UAE Y-Peers and with UAE Red Crescent.

15. Jordan: an advocate will work with groups of teenagers and parents who are part of “Community Rehabilitation” Program which works with people in their homes. She will also initiate discussion rounds on sexual concepts with Jordanian activists who work on sexual harassment and child marriage issues.

16. Egypt: a coordinator for the Y-Peer Network in the Arab Region will write an article on sexual rights concepts and circulate it through Y-Peer, to integrate these concepts in their upcoming regional campaigns on Reproductive Health.

17. Morocco: an organizer will conduct two awareness workshops–one with LGBTI youth group and another with an association that works with displaced women. He will also work on integrating sexuality to the training curriculum in terms of therapy and individual counseling. Further to that, he will initiate a workshop with Y-Peer Morocco and prepare Theater Interactive Sketches as part of “The oppressed” Theater which works in rural areas.

*     *     *     *     *

For more information on Muntada, visit their website: http://www.jensaneya.org/en/News.

If you’d like to support CSBR to continue our seed grant program, get in touch with us as coordinator@csbronline.org.

 

 

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