Training of 406 Persons in Four Cities over the Past Year
Sunday 29 August 2010
Change for Equality: The One Million Signatures Campaign has from its start in August 27, 2006, focused its efforts on both signature collection and awareness-raising and education. For this purpose training workshops for new volunteers have been held consistently. These workshops address the history of the women’s movement, past activities of women’s rights activists, the context and reason for the creation of the One Million Signatures Campaign, the impact of discriminatory laws on the lives of women and provide volunteers with the skills necessary for engaging in face-to-face discussions and education. In the first years of the Campaign three committees were established to carry out the trainings of the Campaign for new volunteers. They included: the Volunteers Committee aimed at recruiting and following up new volunteers and introducing them for the Campaign’s training workshops; the Training Logistics Committee, which identified space and organized trainings; and the Trainings Committee which carried out facilitated the actual trainings. Each workshop lasted approximately five hours and three different trainers/facilitators were charged with conducting the different parts of each of the trainings.
After some time the activists in the One Million Signatures Campaign decided to expand the trainings they provided moving beyond just the trainings on the Campaign. These new trainings were designed to increase knowledge and awareness of new volunteers, and included gender awareness tarinings and prevention of violence against women. Also, because of the security pressures that Campaign activists were faced with, it became apparent that Campaign activists were in need of information on their rights. As such trainings on citizens’ rights and the rights of the accused were added to the array of trainings provided by Campaign organizers. Later, writing workshops were held to improve the writing skills of new volunteers. In the past year trainings on the marriage contract (additional stipulations women can outline in their marriage contracts which gives them certain rights not provided within the law) were added to the trainings offered by Campaign organizers to interested volunteers.
In the past year, activists working in the training section of the Campaign have conducted additional trainings as well, such as training of trainers, where volunteers learn facilitation and training skills, so they can also provide trainings for new Campaign volunteers. Despite all the changes in the Campaign and Iranian society and despite the passage of four years since the inception of the Campaign, trainings have remained a core component of the Campaign’s activities and they are intent on raising awareness and skills of new volunteers.
Despite the fact that the past year, because of the post election unrest, increased security pressures and closure of public space, was a difficult year for Campaign activists and Iranian society as a whole, 15 trainers in the Campaign trained 406 volunteers through a variety of workshops, which were held in four cities.
The following is a report of the trainings provided in the past year (August 2009-August 2010)
Training to familiarize new volunteers with the Campaign:
In the past year 154 new volunteers participated in trainings on the Campaign, which included information on the Campaign’s aims, the laws the Campaign seeks to change, and face-to-face education techniques. These trainings were carried out in Tehran, Isfahan, Rasht, and Sari, with the participation of 10 trainers/facilitators. 91 persons were trained in Tehran.
Training on preventing violence against women:
This training provides participants with the skills to understand violence and violence against women (VAW), different types of violence, the cycle of violence and strategies for preventing violence.
Over the past year, 91 persons were provided training in this subject, in the cities of Tehran, Isfahan, Sari and Rasht. Seven trainers/facilitators conducted these trainings. 32 persons received these trainings in Isfahan. Ten of these persons were trained on writing about violence, in workshops by two trainers/facilitators.
Gender Sensitivity Training:
This training provides participants the opportunity to learn about the difference between sex and gender, gender in the social context, gender inequity and gender discrimination, gender equality and gender equity as well as strategies to change the status quo.
Over the past year 78 persons were trained in this subject by 5 facilitators in the cities of Tehran, Rasht and Sari. 48 of those receiving training did so in Rasht.
Citizen rights and the rights of the accused Training:
This training provides participants with basic understanding of their rights and responsibilities as citizens and their rights if they are accused of a crime or arrested.
Over the past year, 46 persons were trained in this subject with the participation of 4 trainers/facilitators in the city of Tehran.
Marriage Contract Training:
Participants in this training learn about the rights they can demand upon marriage and as part of the marriage contract—rights that are not provided to women by law, but can be stipulated as part of the Marriage contract between current or future spouses.
Over the past year, 20 persons received trainings on this subject. The trainings were conducted by two trainers/facilitators in Tehran.
Training of Trainers:
This training is designed for those interested in becoming trainers within the Campaign. These trainings were provided in Tehran and Rasht. Over the past year 17 individuals participated in these trainings in the cities of Rasht and Tehran. The trainings were conducted by 2 trainers/facilitators.
Creative writing workshops:
Participants in this workshop learn about creative writing techniques. This workshop helps participants who are interested in writing about their experiences for the face-to-face section of the Change for Equality website and are intent on relaying their experiences with discrimination or their discussions with the citizens they approach to sign the petition of the Campaign. Over the past year, ten participants took advantage of this workshop which was conducted by one trainer/facilitator.
It should be noted that all those involved in organizing and providing trainings do so on a volunteer basis. All trainings are held in the homes or offices of volunteers. Because of security pressures and the possibility of arrest organizing these trainings is an extremely difficult task.