IWE functions as a collaborating partner for starting-up and / or organisations which operate at the margins of the society, do not have a legal status or cannot receive funds on their own.
IWE projects have included topic-specific initiatives that arise out of the shared needs, interests and analyses of members. Project ideas and proposals are presented, discussed and selected for collaboration at the Annual General Meeting of Memebers.
Collaboration consists of the planning of the implementation of these proposals, fund-raising and mutual responsibility for the implementation of the projects when funding is acquired.
While the implementating partner /project team has the responsibility to carry out the activities within the framework of the project plan, IWE has the responsibility to monitor the progress of the project and manage the financial and administrative aspects.
IWE’s funded projects (completed and ongoing):
1. Women Reclaiming and Re-defining Cultures (WRRC)
The aim of the WRRC program was to enable women to repossess and reconstruct cultural resources including religion and tradition, to provide women with empowering resources vis-a-vis those who use cultural and religious discourses to disempower women and deny their rights. It was implemented in 9 countries in Africa (Senegal, Sudan, Niger, Nigeria) and Asia (Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Si Lanka, Iran) . [READ MORE…]
2. Iranian Women's Alternative E-broadcasting (IWAE)
The goal of IWAE is to build and maintain an electronic broadcasting platform dedicated to Iranian women’s rights and concerns, which will provide vital information on Iranian women’s issues, a space for shaping discourses on gender equality as part of all political agendas, and a means for mobilizing the political and civic participation of women from all sectors of Iranian society. This was a need expressed by Iranian women within and outside of Iran. The platform, called Zanan, will include e-TV, e-radio, e-archive, e-learning, and e-campaigns. [READ MORE…]
3. Radio Margin ( Radio broadcasting of Iranian youth from marginalised groups)
“Radio Margin” – which began under the tutelage of IWAE – is a progressive and secular
radio programme run by a group of 30 young Iranians in the diaspora aiming to organize marginalised young Iranians, especially young girls and women, people in sexual (LGBT) and ethnic minority(Kurdish and Baloch) groups. Radio Margin strives, through varied informative, discursive as well entertaining programmes, to enable these marginalised groups to develop as a constituency that cannot be ignored in the democratising processes in Iran, to raise their visibility and enable them to express their views and participate in shaping their own living environments. [READ MORE…]
4. Multi-country capacity building programme
This programme was the beginning of one of the key strategies of IWE: development of a continuing capacity building process - a process of sharing and learning and enabling . Previous experiences of IWE’s members, working with grass-roots and community-based women, taught the need for activists and advocates to reflect on and consolidate their experiences, as well as how to seize the opportunities that presented themselves. In 7 separate projects, this ‘reflective capacity building’ progamme sought to enhance all aspects of conceptualising, planning, knowledge–based advocacy necessary to strengthen and sustain women’s organising and movement building in their various contexts. [READ MORE…]
5. Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation (WELDD)
This is a 4-year (2012-2015) programme supported by the Dutch FLOW (Funding Leadership and Opportunities for Women) Fund. Together with Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource center in Lahore and the Women Living under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Solidarity Network, IWE will work with members and partners in Indonesia to implement this programme.
The overall objective of WELDD is to foster the understanding and practice of ‘sustainable’ leadership for action, through public and political participation, to achieve the following:
• Pluralism and gender equality, necessary for building peace and security
• Abolition of violence against women based on cultural legitimations
• Women's rights to access and control over economic resources and empowerment, including agricultural land and decent work.
Thematic initiatives under development :
1. Sustainability of women activists, organizations and movements
Feminist activists are increasingly aware of the necessity of a holistic approach in combining political interventions to protect the rights of others with addressing the personal needs and well-being of the individuals and groups they represent. Women’s human rights work is taking a huge toll on their own personal well-being as well. Too often, their own subjectivities, emotional and psychological needs are taken for granted or self-care is indefinitely postponed by themselves. The negative impacts of this self-defeating circle on the long term sustenance of women’s work and organizations has been shown. (ref. UAF: What’s the point of the revolution….”). IWE is developing a project to systematically address these issues.
Related, but possibly independent and separate projects under this theme is the documentation of processes of resistance and empowerment of women in various contexts, s told by themselves, in their own voices.
2. Women’s inheritance and property rights (WIPR)
Women’s rights to land, food security and livelihoods are being systematically eroded at macro, meso and micro levels - the results from misappropriations, legitimised in the name of ‘development’ on the one hand, or in the name of ‘culture’ on the other hand. This project derives from the work on women’s inheritance and property rights (WIPR) that has been carried out as one of the three thematic areas of the programme Women Reclaiming and Re-defining Culture (WRRC). It aims to demonstrate the intrinsic connection between these two domains and to develop strategies for women’s empowerment to counter this interconnected chain of men-made disasters.
3. De-secularisation and women’s rights as equal citizens
This project will advocate the promotion of women's rights as equal citizens in the public sphere as indispensable to the democratisation process. At the same time, it will raise awareness, develop political education and mobilise concern to address the de-secularising impact of politicised religions, which is eroding women's rights as equal citizens in the public sphere (i.e. the sphere of non-familial relations outside the home, including economic, social, cultural, religious and political sectors).
4. Sexuality Health and Rights
One of the most fundamental stumbling blocks encountered and reported by IWE’s project partners in previous and present programmes, is the difficulty of addressing adequately the many and diverse issues around the denial and oppression of women’s rights in sexuality. This has been exacerbated in the present context of fundamentalist and anti-women ‘religious’ discourses and practices, which are spreading in many parts of the globe, in particular, in Asian and African countries, causing disastrous consequences for women’s rights and well-being. Partners have expressed a need to share understanding/insights into our concepts and positions around sexuality issues, especially to critically reflect on our strategies (e.g. around sex work, trafficking….) in order to at least, “do no harm”. IWE intends to develop a project to create safe spaces for women / organizations to undertake deep reflection on our work on sexuality and related issues, in order to critically examine our concepts and strategies, in order to improve our work to promote and enhance sexual rights for all / diverse groups of women.
5. Reflexivity as essential tool in the work on Empowerment.
IWE has organized and supported some initial approaches and discussions on “Reflexivity”. In the first workshop organised in Chiangmai, the participants confirmed the importance and vital uses of Reflexivity to critically engage with the social reality in which we live. Quoting from notes of the workshop: “The whole idea of reflexivity is to understand how power shapes relationship. Knowing your positionality is the core element- in terms of power relation, knowing why you're taking the position, knowing how power is played out -- important element of reflexivity-- to be critical when positioning ourselves. Reflexivity by definition is critical questioning and awareness”. IWE intends to develop ideas and methodologies to promote the necessary reflexive approach to all our work, which will underpin our principle objective to document, develop and share widely women’s empowerment strategies, including their own narratives of their resistance and empowerment processes.