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February 21-25, 2005

Africa Regional Roaming Institute for Women’s Leadership and Training of Trainers

Concept and Background

The Roaming Institutes are based on the concept that everyone can be a leader and, at various times, both a leader and a follower. Sharing power and respect for the other are essential for creating group synergy that empowers the individual, mobilizes collective action, and produces capabilities larger than the sum of those contributed by each individual. These concepts are operationalized in a system of learning that does not preach or teach, but provides an environment in which each individual discovers her own abilities, particularly the ability to relate to others, and become a part of a pool of communicators that produces ideas and solutions all can relate to. Workshops organized around this concept are dialogue-based and interactive. They help clarify a woman’s own position, help her understand alternate ways of looking at a given situation, accept differences in outlook and approach, learn how to work towards achieving a shared view, and respect diversity whether or not a common vision is created. This method of learning, tested in the WLP Partnership leadership training workshops in 12 Muslim-majority countries, has proved successful in creating an atmosphere of tolerance, building self-confidence and honing conflict prevention skills.

Need for the Roaming Institutes has been expressed by WLP’s partner organizations in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, who following the establishment of the WLP Women’s Leadership Programs in their countries recognized the need for special training of trainers sessions that enhance the leadership, communication, and advocacy skills of grassroots trainers and women’s rights advocates. In response to this need, WLP convened a prototype pilot Roaming Institute for Women’s Leadership in June 2002 in Maryland, USA to ascertain and establish the framework for the curriculum and training in future national and regional Institutes. Participants in the pilot Institute were women leaders in the WLP Partnership including lawyers, educators, women’s rights activists, and grassroots organizers from Afghanistan, Cameroon, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, and Uzbekistan. Together they honed their facilitation skills and strategize about ways of creating flexible learning environments for rights advocacy through dialogue and consensus building.

Using this model, a Middle East/North Africa Training Institute was convened in Jordan in December 2003 and an Afghan National Training Institute in Kabul, Afghanistan in April 2004.

Objectives and structure of the Africa Regional Roaming Institute

The goal of the Africa Regional Roaming Institute for Women’s Leadership is to train women’s rights activists in the African Region to become better trainers and advocates for women’s equal participation in civil society. The Institute focuses on:

            (a) Facilitation skills training– comprehensive training in facilitation techniques that put into practice the participatory leadership concepts such as developing shared vision, meaningful dialogue, and cooperation.

            (b) Communication and advocacy training– creating media campaigns, and learning to communicate effectively to influence decision-makers and mobilize the public.

The Roaming Institute to be held in Calabar, Nigeria from February 21 - 25, 2005 will be structured as follows:

I. Training in facilitation techniques (February 21 - 22):

A.     How to create a workshop environment that stimulates group discussions, foster plurality of opinions, and promotes consensus building.

B.     How to “break the ice” among workshop participants, and enable them to communicate freely and easily.

C.     How to document the progress and outcomes of the workshops, and evaluate the long-term impact of the training. 

II. Communications and advocacy strategy development (February 23-24):               

  1. How to translate personal and organizational visions into concise, compelling messages that resonate with the target audience.
  2. How to develop measurable communication campaign plans, and adapt the message for various technology vehicles.
  3. How to generate media interest, and produce effective material to ensure dissemination by the media.

III. Evaluation and Conclusion (February 25):

  1. What are concrete ways in which the knowledge and skills gained at the Roaming Institute will be applied in participants’ communities in the months ahead?
  2. What kind of solidarity networks will be created in an effort to improve the status of women in Africa?



Twenty –six (26) participants will attend the Institute, with sixteen (16) from African countries (Cameroon, Ghana, The Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe), eight (8) Nigerians -(five (5) from BAOBAB and three (3) from other Nigerian organizations), and two (2) WLP trainers from the Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP). The participants will include lawyers, educators, women’s human rights activists, and grassroots organizers, among others, and will be selected independently based on local need. At least two participants from each country will be affiliated with a women’s organization so that the skills and information gained, and commitments made during the training can be shared with other staff, volunteers, program participants, and consultants.


WLP ( ) prepared a prototype curriculum for use in national and regional Roaming Institutes. Entitled Leading to Choices: A Multimedia Curriculum for Leadership Learning, the package is designed for use in interactive workshops where participants are at the center of the learning experience.  Participants engage in “learning by doing” and simulating scenarios that do not require a right answer but encourage a cooperative and respectful exploration of concepts and strategies.  This democratic structure engages each individual in critical analysis and purposeful application of the ideas discussed.

The framework for the curriculum was developed at the pilot Roaming Institute WLP convened in June 2002. Based on participant feedback, and the audio- visual materials compiled during the Institute, WLP developed three learning guides and three companion videos that form a part of the Leading to Choices multimedia curriculum. The three modules, entitled Learning to Facilitate Interactively, Communicating for Change, and Developing Effective Advocacy Campaigns, are designed to help women strengthen their skills for facilitating participatory leadership workshops, to enable women to create and disseminate effective massages through the most expedient and locally appropriate communications channels, and to provide activists with strategies and tactics that enable them to advocate successfully for women’s human rights. One of the goals of the Africa Regional Roaming Institute is to test and adapt the Leading to Choices multimedia curriculum in order to create a culture-specific African edition of the material.

November 25-December 10, 2004

 16 Days Activism against Gender Based Violence

One of BAOBAB’s objectives is collaborating with like-minded organizations in mutually agreed campaigns and programmes, such as the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence worldwide.

The 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an International Campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25th, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and December 10th International Human Rights Day, for activities worldwide in a concerted effort to highlight the variety of heinous crimes of violence committed against women. The November date was chosen to commemorate the violent recognized November 25th as the International day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Previously, in 1948, people and states the world over had celebrated the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These dates are commemorated together in order to symbolically link violence against women and Human Rights, and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

For the past eleven years, over 1, 000 individuals and organizations from over 100 countries have sponsored activities in their communities during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, November 25 - December 10, to raise awareness about all forms of violence against women.  Activists have used this 16-day period to create solidarity movement that raises awareness around gender-based assassination in the Dominican Republic of the Mirabal sisters, (Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa), political activist and highly visible symbols of resistance to the Trujillos dictatorship, on that date in 1960 by the secret police of Rafael Trujillo. In 1999 the United Nations officially violence as a human rights abuse.  The movement works to ensure better protection for survivors of violence and calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.

For the past decade BAOBAB has joined the rest of the world in marking the “16 Days…” through various programmes such as press briefing, media interviews, solidarity trek, popular theatre, thematic workshops, distribution of BAOBAB’s publications, etc. These have created awareness and have contributed in expanding BAOBAB’s network.

The mobilization and advocacy working group is proposing a number of activities for this year’s “16 Days…” which has the theme “For the Health of Women, For the Health of the World: No more Violence.”

  1. Press Briefing

We believe that BAOBAB’s partnership with the press in the past has been fruitful but could be further enhanced through more collaborative programmes such as the 16 Days global campaign.  BAOBAB plans to start off this year’s campaign with a press briefing which will be accompanied by a press statement for wider coverage in the media. A few representatives from NGOs will be invited for solidarity.  After the press briefing, there will be a debate by a small group of teenagers with a few secondary school students as supporting audience. The topic of the debate will be around the theme of this year’s 16 Days…. The Judges will be from BAOBAB and perhaps one or two of the NGO friends interested.

  1. BAOBAB has a culture of sensitizing youth in the area of women’s human rights. This year, BAOBAB plans to have a number of students from selected schools in Lagos to debate on the topic “Sexuality Education: A way of Addressing Sexual Abuse?” This event is aimed at creating a space for teenagers and young adults to discuss and be further informed about the importance of sexuality education. It is also intended to erode the misconception that sexuality education is solely educating about sex as well as broaden the possibilities of the topic being introduced in schools’ curriculum.
  1. There will also be a one-day Media advocacy workshop on “New Tactics for Human Rights Activism.” The idea is to share with the media, new strategies and tactics for promoting and protecting women’s human rights in particular and human rights in general.
  1. A one-day gender awareness raising popular theatre presentation with the Police in Lagos State. This is in view of the importance of the Police in law enforcement as well as protection of women’s human rights. The drama will focus on violence against women issues. We hope to build a relationship with the Police in the area of protecting women from domestic and other forms of gender based violence. In this regard, discussions will focus on the concept of gender relations in the society and the link between gender stereotypes and lack of recognition of violence against women (especially domestic violence) as a human rights violation. We plan to do this at the Police Training College.
  1. Popular theatre campaign at a strategic Bus Stop.  The drama will highlight various aspects of violence against women and be structured in such a way as to encourage debate and create awareness amongst the audience.
  1. Outreach Activities – BAOBAB’s community based outreach teams will be very much involved in this year’s event. The idea is for one outreach team in each of the geo-political zones in Nigeria, to carry out activity/activities in line with the theme of this year’s 16 Days activism. Activities planned by the teams include solidarity trek, debates, media advocacy etc. We believe that the concept of the “16 Days…” should reach the communities through the outreach teams. This will create more awareness within these communities that a large proportion of women have limited access to information about such issues.


October 2004

BAOBAB is organizing a talent competition, the second of its type and the start of a biennial commitment to promoting women’s rights amongst children and young adults.

The proposed project is a children's Talent competition, designed to enable children to exercise and develop their talents, while raising their awareness of the issue of women's rights as human rights. The competition will promote young people's appreciation of human rights from a gender perspective. It  will also encourage young people  to think and talk about rights in general and in particular, recognize women's human rights as basic human rights. The talent competition is designed to facilitate an early process for the shaping of children and young men and women's discourse in manner that will take for granted that women's rights are human rights and promote their ability to recognize violations of women's and girls' rights in their own experiences.

There are three areas to the competition - art, writing and music. Children may make a design for a t-shirt compose or write a poem, essay or short short on the theme of women's human rights.

The three age categories are - Children (under 13 years), teenagers (13-19) and young adults (20-30 years of age).

The theme for this year’s talent competition is “The Power of Information in Promoting Women Human Rights”.

We widely distributed the handbills and posters for the competition and we received about 200 entries from different parts of the country. Selections have been made and the National prize giving day has been slated for October 2004.

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