WCI’s Social Mobilization curriculum includes trainings in grassroots organizing, health messaging, and action planning, preparing women with the tools that they need to make positive, measurable change in their communities. As agents of change, these advocates learn to identify community issues, raise awareness, and engage key stakeholders.
Women’s rights and legal literacy
In Malawi, cultural land practices that discriminate against women, particularly widows, can result in them losing rights to their land. High illiteracy rates among women (71%) hinders awareness of their rights and how to access legal resources and resolve conflicts. Seeking to address this issue, WCI joined with the Women Judges Association of Malawi (WOJAM) to empower women with leadership and legal advocacy skills.
In April 2017, over 500 rural women, men, and children were trained in legal literacy and property rights. Traditional songs and community theater were used in the training to educate women on leadership, the court system and legal resources.
EBOLA & Post-ebola mobilization
WCI has been working in Liberia since 2007 to politically, socially, and economically empower Liberian women and youth. WCI’s efforts in Liberia began in partnership with the Ministry of Gender and Development and the National Rural Women’s Program of Liberia with a three-year program promoting leadership, food security and economic empowerment for more than 20,000 rural women.
In 2014, WCI re-entered Liberia to address the humanitarian crisis created by the Ebola virus. WCI’s multifaceted strategy involved both direct intervention with victims of Ebola, and the introduction of greater techniques for prevention. To the quarantined victims of Ebola, WCI provided food rations, water, medical supplies and sanitation materials, while also assisting in the transportation and burial of the deceased. In training sessions, WCI taught women how to properly educate others on Ebola prevention techniques, while also combating the social stigmas associated with Ebola survivors by creating a Community Action Committee (CAC). The CAC was made up of influential community leaders who took the lead on their respective community’s Ebola prevention measures without promoting hurtful biases towards survivors.
During and after the Ebola crisis, WCI has played a crucial role in providing health messaging, improving access to necessary support in rural areas, and directly training 10,000 women with leadership skills to rebuild their communities. These women went on to train an approximate 60,000 individuals throughout their communities on post-Ebola mobilization and prevention. In 2016 and beyond, WCI will continue supporting Liberia’s efforts to rebuild by providing health messaging and community development support to partner communities.
WCI worked in Iraq from 2012-2014 to enhance the leadership capacity of women at the national and grassroots level in order to strengthen cooperation and communication about eliminating gender-violence. WCI’s trainings helped women and men develop a framework and tools identify key issues and work effectively with communities to promote and protect women
Water, SANITATION, AND HYGIENE (wASH)
More than 4.5 million people live in Liberia. Out of those, 1.1 million have no safe water, and 3.7 million have no sanitation. Through our experience and established networks across Liberia, WCI has seen the severe impact limited access to water continues to have on many of the communities in which we work. Moreover, as research and field experience has shown, this limited access disproportionately affects women. The burden falls on women and children, at times under dangerous conditions, to haul clean water every day in Liberia. At the time of this program, 89% of Liberians retrieved water from outside their homes.
In April 2016, WCI successfully completed its first WASH project in Gokai township, Bong County, an area that was severely impacted by Ebola. WCI built a hand pump and latrine in Bong County's town center, serving 1,800 people who are now trained on the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene. WCI also provided educational trainings to the 1,800 person community in sanitation and hygiene. A water committee elected by the community was given the responsibility of maintaining the water pump and latrine to ensure that the structures continue functioning long after WCI programming has concluded.
In 2007, WCI trained 224 Colombian women on women’s rights in the context of human rights law and the Colombian armed conflict. Additionally, WCI trained 56 people on how to effectively analyze and evaluate the Colombian National Congress.