Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation
The main promise was change. Not an extravagant, immediate change, like a hasty flash flood warning, or a sudden electricity cut. The Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratization (WELDD) project aimed for something far more intrinsic; to unscrew the mechanics, replace the one small bolt no one would otherwise notice, and watch the subtle new smoothness of the machinery. It is the logic of the chaos theory: that one small butterfly may flap its wings on part of the world, and somewhere on another part, weeks, perhaps months later, a hurricane would occur. In this series of posts, we aim to represent these very wings—small, colourful flights that are setting in place a new momentum that will, eventually, cause a storm.
The WLUML-WELDD programme involved hundreds of participants from 27 countries over eight regions over 3 years from 2012 to 2015. The programme aimed at strengthening women’s leadership, their increased political participation and challenges to Cultural Violence Against Women (CVAW) especially in regards to stoning and child marriage. In this series, women talk about the impact of the WLUML-WELDD programme. We collected over 55 narratives of change towards the end of the progreaame, and from this we have put together a small series. This series of stories focus mainly on two of the CVAW projects: BAOBAB in Nigeria, which aimed to end child marriage, and WARVIN Foundation for Women’s Issues in Iraq, which aimed to improve conditions for survivors of gender-based violence. In addition, we also have a couple stories from women who attended the Political Participation workshops in Cairo.
More than anything, the WLUML-WELDD programme has been about developing transformative feminist ideas and actions; creating spaces for dialogue, and connecting activists from vastly differing contexts to build solidarity and bring forth new leaders.