At the final leg of a momentous and challenging year for APWLD and for women’s movements everywhere, our organisation took time to reflect on the role of capacity building in our work. We held a Meeting of Trainors from 11-15 December 2015 as a way of gathering people involved in our capacity building programmes and strengthening the means and methodologies of our trainors and modules. Capacity building is a political issue. APWLD has been using capacity building as our core strategy for political change. We have been organically developing feminist participatory learning methods to increase women’s shared understanding on what are the ‘politics’ that needs to be challenged – which we identified as globalisation, fundamentalism, militarism and patriarchy, what are the shared learning from each other, in order for us to build strength for collective movement for development justice.
Our trainors come from the various programmes that conduct capacity building within APWLD: Feminist Law and Practice, Women in Power, Breaking out of Marginalisation, Feminist Development Justice and Labour and Migration. Some trainors have had cross-programme collaboration in trainings but not all, so this activity was a chance to exchange notes and look at collaborative possibilities. The sessions were facilitated by InSpirit Innovation Circles
who are experts in motivational training based in Indonesia, and Philippine Educational Theatre Association
(PETA) who have harnessed the power of theater and developed participatory methods for training.
A highlight at the beginning of the five-day session was the creation of a timeline of APWLD capacity building work since its founding in 1985. The timeline was constructed with figures and symbols using art and craft materials, giving the story a very visual way to recollect how important capacity building has been to the movement building and advocacy work of APWLD. Each point in the timeline marked the beginning of each capacity building programme from the early days of Beyond Law training, through the Gender and Politics training up to the participatory frameworks of the Feminist Participatory Action Research trainings. Each of these trainings developed from a perceived need for women’s movements to be strengthened in areas of legal practice, policy analysis and advocacy as well as political participation. An evolution could also be seen from the initial constituency and audience of mainly women lawyers activists, up to women in politics to grassroots women organisers including women trade union leaders.The diversity of participants in these trainings throughout the years has shows how APWLD has significantly broadened the reach of women’s movements to organise and advocate for change.
The organisation has been developing its feminist participatory methodologies in recent years and has successful included more grassroots women in capacity building initiatives. APWLD has defined feminist participatory as — and thus makes it a unique approach. The meeting allowed APWLD’s trainors to refine and improve their participatory approaches while incorporating movement and theater.
Telling a story through art
Sara of PETA
Capacityu building timeline
Learning interactive methods