- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Partnership Model
- Focus Areas
- Campaigns and Actions
- Public Policy
- UU College of Social Justice
- What You Can Do
- Ways to Give
- Get Involved
- Enlist Your Congregation
- Read Our Blog
- Shop in Our Store
- Media Center
- Volunteer Network Resources
- Campaign Resources
- Multimedia Resources
- Congregational Resources
Attitude and Education: Ending Gender-Based Violence in Darfur
Friday, April 13, 2012
Salma Abugideiri, codirector of the Peaceful Families Project, a UUSC partner, leads a training on gender-based violence in Darfur.
Ahlam, an elementary-school teacher in Darfur was skeptical at first. Was this training just a ploy to further characterize Darfur as violent in the eyes of the rest of the world? But by the end of the two-day training about domestic and gender-based violence (GBV), Ahlam knew that wasn't the case — it was solid education about topics that touch every family in Darfur. The January 2012 workshop was part of UUSC's latest work on the ground in Darfur, working with grassroots organizations and community leaders to put an end to GBV there.
The most recent in a series of innovative programs, this training was a collaboration between UUSC and the Peaceful Families Project, engaging religious and community leaders as change agents to reduce domestic and gender-based violence in their communities. These programs start with education to influence common beliefs, shifting attitudes that GBV is normal toward the reality that GBV is inconsistent with time-honored Islamic values. These programs build on one another to weave a rights-based web of protection for women and girls — especially in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), where they are especially vulnerable to violence.
Two separate trainings took place in a span of eight days in January — the first with 40 imams, female community leaders, and local officials; the second with 40 female community leaders, including teachers, lawyers, and women from IDP camps. The trainings covered a range of topics:
- Various forms and dynamics of GBV
- Impacts of such violence
- Ways that Islamic religious teachings can be used to prevent it
- The role that community leaders can play in this process
- Ways that leaders can work together
- Tools that leaders can use in this work
- The development of next steps
Ahlam was just one participant who said she benefited a great deal from the workshop. Not only was she grateful for the experience, she was enthusiastic about continuing the work. She said she noticed two imams from her neighborhood had not attended, so she resolved to take the workshop materials to their mosques and give them their own workshop by sharing the knowledge she had gained.
These trainings built on an already strong foundation of collaboration with 300 imams that UUSC and its local partner in Darfur organized. Darfurian imams initiated these efforts against GBV, and UUSC helped facilitate the beginning work with a groundbreaking training of 30 imams in 2010 led by Imam Magid, one of the most respected Islamic religious leaders in the United States. The son of a Sudanese Islamic scholar, Magid led these most recent trainings along with Salma Abugideiri, codirector of the Peaceful Families Project.
In addition to using print materials developed by the group of imams and recording radio and television segments for popular education, Magid and Abugideiri held several community awareness sessions on GBV. They also conducted meetings with local officials and advocates, including the minister of the Department of Social Welfare; female judges, attorneys, teachers, midwives, and social workers; camp leaders; and government officials.
Moving forward, UUSC will support the participants of these trainings and workshops in continuing the vital work of ending GBV through popular education, organizing and strategic planning, ongoing education, and mass-media communication. Winning over Ahlam and engaging her in next steps is just a beginning — but a truly solid one for this important work.