Gender-based violence (GBV) prevention has always been one of Collateral Repair Project’s (CRP) priorities and GBV workshops have been one of our longstanding programs. Beginning in the spring of 2016, with funding from the Embassy of Netherlands in Jordan, CRP hosted a regular training series, entitled “Principles of Human Rights and Resistance to Gender-Based Violence,” for this latest group of trainees. Every week for the past few months, volunteers conducted discussions and activities on confronting societal challenges around gender norms. In total, participants in this phase of the program received 30 training hours in GBV prevention. Yesterday, in the presence of the Dutch Ambassador, Paul van den IJssel, 24 women and 15 men received certificates indicating the completion of the training module. During the ceremony, a few of the trainers shared about how the program has impacted their lives. As 22-year-old Roa’a recounted:
When I first started coming to the sessions I was quiet, shy, and very reserved. We have all these expectations and demands of women—but I have transformed into a confident young woman as a result of this program. I am a trainer now, and I am younger than everyone who comes, at the age of 22 but I stand in front of people and talk about these very important topics. The transformation this has had on my personality and outlook has been huge.
The participants of the training are refugees from Iraq and Syria as well as Jordanians from the host community with various backgrounds and stories. The diversity of their experiences contributed greatly to the discussions around gender-based violence, gender equality, diversity, and tolerance. The Ambassador acknowledged that these are issues that communities across the world, including the Netherlands, grapple with but that it is up to each community to devise solutions and promote understanding. Training modules such as the one hosted at CRP are the first step to creating spaces where these discussions can occur and progress can be made. “We do believe that these concepts are very important, within society and for your personal lives,” the Ambassador remarked, “so what we try to do through organizations like CRP is gather people like yourself to have long discussions and find your own answers.”
While the formal training program was concluded yesterday, these discussions and conversations will continue. Many of the participants of the training already have ideas on how to build on these workshops and CRP wants to support that endeavor. This is exactly the kind of community leadership that the program hoped to foster. CRP also began a Women’s Empowerment workshop last month. In her remarks at the ceremony yesterday, Executive Director Amanda Lane noted, “All of you who have been a part of this incredible project truly have warmed my heart and inspired me because I see how you have transformed as a result of it . . . I am very excited to grow this work with you together.”