Speaking Empowerment: Honoring TWG's Local Partners

While we often talk about the lively, rich discussions that occur in The Women’s Group  on the TYO blog, we haven’t always discussed who’s leading that talking-  it’s the speakers, local experts, and women’s rights advocates that offer their time to TYO who ensure the daily success of our program. It's their words of empowerment and encouragement that we hope will bring about a greater dialogue within Palestine about women’s rights. Shireen Sayed from RoI for Creative Thinking in Ramallah shares her experiences in The Women's Group while TYO Local Representative Asma Masri looks on.

Each session, TYO engages approximately 30 local partner organizations to deliver seminars related to our themes; such as community, communication, identity, and resilience. Whether it’s a lawyer who lends her advice on taking action against abusers- or a psychologist who discusses better discipline strategies with children- our speakers deliver accurate, experiential workshops for women to improve their daily lives.

To show our appreciation for their dedication to TWG, we hosted a special breakfast last week to honor the speakers and their respective organizations. But the morning held more than just food: we also discussed the demonstrated improvements in women’s knowledge of key subject areas, and spoke about how we can together better advocate for gender equality in Palestine.

Approximately 25 partners joined us for the event, ranging from friends at Right to Play to various representatives from the Ministries of Health and Education. After a brief presentation from TYO's Women's Empowerment staff that showcased highlights from our Fall 2013 session, Suhad Jabi Masri, TYO's Psychosocial Program Manager, discussed how the speakers' collaboration can bring about change in the community. Next, speakers and TYO staff engaged in a vibrant conversation about best ways to grow our advocacy efforts, and how to respond to some of the more pressing issues facing Palestinian women, such as a lack of women's participation in the local community and lack of knowledge about where to obtain help after violence. Further, various speakers offered their insights into what they've noticed in recent months in their own work that might affect women's lives, including rising numbers of teenagers abusing drugs, and mothers' struggles to help their children with homework. Each of these suggestions allowed TYO  to better inform The Women's Group curriculum.

We're thankful for the speakers and civil society organizations that make The Women's Group possible- and as we prep for next session's launch in the coming weeks, we're excited to keep the conversation on women's rights growing far beyond TYO's walls.

- Cayce is the WEP Coordinator at Tomorrow's Youth Organization.