Friday 31 July 2009

NGO Capacity Building - Free Resources

Networklearning offers a host of links to free on-line resources about topics and techniques that are important for development NGOs - including in French, Arabic and Somali languages. I have not studied them in detail - discover for yourself on networklearning.

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Technical Solutions to Social Problems?

"If only I had teeth down there" was the title of a public discussion organised by Terre des Femmes, a Berlin-based group specialised in women's rights (Monday 20). Sonnet Ehlers, the South African inventor of Rape-aXe, presented the prototype of her "anti-rape condom" for women. Rape-aXe does not prevent rape - it only makes penetration extremely short and painful for the perpetrator: rigid barbs drill into his skin and stay there. The device cannot be removed from the perpetrator's body without medical assistance. For a graphic explanation, consult the official site. Ms. Ehlers says Rape-aXe buys time - while the perpetrator recovers from the shock of finding his parts trapped inside the "condom", his victim may get away.

Monday 20 July 2009

Forum Theatre in Berlin

At the recent Gender is Happening one-week extravaganza by the Gunda Werner Institute in Berlin (Heinrich Böll Foundation - German blog here), Aki Krishnamurty facilitated three workshops which culminated in a public performance. For those who don't know Forum Theatre: it is a method for awareness-raising and social transformation developed by Augusto Boal as the Theatre of the Oppressed: click here for a page by the International Theatre of the Oppressed Organisation; there's also a comprehensive entry on Wikipedia. In a nutshell: professional or amateur actors perform a rehearsed play or a short sketch which demonstrates aspects of oppression relevant to the audience. In our Berlin example, Aki Krishnamurty and her workshop participants had agreed that sexual harrassment in public spaces was a good example for oppression linked to gender inequality.

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Men's Forum

At today's instalment of Gender is Happening (with its German language site), two men from an informal group called Men's Forum (an inadequate rendering of the German name Forum Männer) animated a workshop recalling the history of the German men's movement, which emerged in the 1970's as a reaction to femiminist groups radically opposing co-operation with men.

Monday 6 July 2009

Gender is Happening

Love Me Gender is the motto of a one-week extravaganza at the Gunda Werner Institute, the feminist branch of Heinrich Boell Foundation in Berlin: a rich succession of events around gender identity, policies and practice... A (German language) blog informs about panel discussions, film projections and workshops - including queer poetry slams and a three-day crash course in drawing comics (Title: Any Tool is a Weapon if You Hold it Right). I have joined a group of volunteer blog reporters to produce my impressions in English here and, eventually, in German on the official site. Tonight, workshop on masculinities. To be continued - this blog is going to be devoted to Love Me Gender for the rest of the week.

Wednesday 1 July 2009

European Court ruling on domestic violence

Landmark Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)! On 9 June, Court members unanimously found that the State of Turkey had failed to fulfil its responsibility to protect the human rights of a woman whose violent husband had repeatedly attacked her and killed her mother. Remember the international law concept of due diligence, touched upon in my April 2009 posting? The Turkish government had failed to protect the applicant's human rights by allowing Turkish courts and police to maintain a laisser-faire attitude towards domestic violence. For full details, including a link to the complete judgement, try the international law blog IntLawGrrls! This judgement comes at a time when 47 European Ministers of Justice, united at a Council of Europe meeting in Norway, have formally committed themselves to take more effective measures against domestic violence. For information on that meeting, click here.