Wednesday 8 October 2008

WE CAN End All Violence Against Women

My main project in 2008 has been my involvement in WE CAN, an innovative campaign to end violence against women. The campaign has its roots in South Asia, but alliances are shaping up far beyond the South Asian continent. In a nutshell, WE CAN creates movements of individuals - so-called "change makers" - determined to change their own lives and influence others so as to end violence against women. For more detail, please visit the We Can sites on the link list at the bottom of this blog.

Oxfam Novib, a major European development NGO based in the Netherlands, has started supporting organisations in Europe, Africa, Latin America and South East Asia to adapt WE CAN to their own settings. I have participated in this process by reviewing the existing documentation on the South Asia experience - a full publication on WE CAN in South Asia is being written by Suzanne Williams and Allison Aldred but won't be ready before late 2008 -, interviewing key stakeholders in South Asia, Africa and within Oxfam affiliates involved in WE CAN around the world, observing major phases of WE CAN implementation, facilitating a study tour from Southern Africa to India and preparing a presentation to Oxfam Novib and its counterparts.
In terms of geography, the main stations of this journey have been The Hague/ Netherlands (discussions with Oxfam affiliate members and Dutch WE CAN counterpart representatives), Entebbe/ Uganda (South Asia - Africa learning workshop on WE CAN), New Delhi and Orissa State/ India (Southern Africa - India study tour) and Nairobi/ Kenya (WE CAN Kenya launches).

Given the great appeal of the WE CAN, I have become a "change maker" in my own right, trying to stimulate discussions about gender-based violence in my private and professional social circles in Berlin and elsewhere. I stay in informal contact with people in WE CAN alliances around the world to share information that could help broaden and deepen the campaign. Friends have drawn my attention to Alice Miller's work - see yesterday's blog on the roots of violence.

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