Empowering Palestinian Community-Based Women Leaders

We are currently raising funds to support the 2019 EPWL project. Please donate here: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/epwl

All of the Palestinian women and all involved have had a distinct sense of grace and mystery supporting these efforts. We are wanting this grace and mystery to continue as still the women need more and more of this training, they are becoming hungrier with a strong passion which has been created within themselves for deeper and enriching training.

We are all committed to continuing to work together to support Palestinian women in mobilizing their wisdom, dignity, and courage to take a lead in transforming their collective situation.                                              – Amal Hadweh, EPWL project organizer

Excerpts from the 2018 Report and 2019 Plan

(View the full 2018 Report and 2019 plan HERE)

Purpose

Initiated in 2018, the Empowering Palestinian Women Leaders project is designed to empower Palestinian women leaders in community-based settings to leverage their potential to create ripple effects that shift power relations within the Palestinian community along gender and class dimensions. It does so via a combination of collective training sessions and ongoing coaching calls. In this way, both the skills of the individual women and their collective capacity are enhanced.

Context

This project began when Amal Hadweh shared her dream of empowering Palestinian women with Miki Kashtan, and the two set out to make it happen.

When we embarked on the original training, none of us knew what would happen. However, with each successive activity, we recognized the enormous leverage for change that comes from working with community-based women leaders: in Palestinian society, independently of any efforts towards dismantling the occupation and regardless of political conditions, Palestinian women are positioned to create change from within their community. It became evident that this project directly supports their efforts, seeding new relationships with themselves, which ripples to shift family dynamics, impacting their engagement in community, workplaces, and beyond. Almost from the start it became obvious that, if we want to support the women in this group well enough that they could support other women in stepping into their own power and leadership, the project needed to continue in future years. Therefore, in 2019 we are planning to deepen skills and relationships through a series of trainings and coaching sessions.

The 2018 pilot year of this project focused on the following activities:

April 2018 (Palestine): Thirty give women from all over the West Bank and from Israel participated in the four-day training: “From Inner Transformation to Social Transformation” with Miki Kashtan, with an emphasis on inner freedom, dialogue skills, collaboration, social change, decision-making, and nonviolence.

June 2018 (Poland): Five of the women from the training attended a week-long retreat in Poland with people from eleven other countries: “Mobilizing for Global Nonviolent Liberation,” deepening into the themes of the training in Palestine complemented with a focus on leadership, power and privilege, and facilitation.

July 2018– present: Those same five women are supported on a monthly basis with coaching calls focusing on topics of interest from the lived experience of the women on the calls.

November 2018 (Palestine): 30 of the original 35 women participated in two days of training: “From Fear to Freedom” with Arnina Kashtan focusing on transforming internalized patterns, finding authentic voice, and new paths of liberation.

2018 Impact

For the smaller group of five women who traveled to Poland and have been participating in ongoing monthly coaching calls, the additional impact has been enormous. Here is their collective summary statement about their experience of this project:

“Our lives have been enriched by sharing experiences and difficulties, appreciation and gratitude for our presence and coming together to have a new start in the cycle of life holding all this wealthy experience and mentoring.

We as a group are now able to transfer certain structures that oppress us as Palestinian women leaders and at the same time support other women who are initiating this transfer. Our limitations became clearer and we are able to learn from them without losing ourselves and our community.

We are more engaged with the deep respect process and true listening to each other and to every person in our community.”

2019 Plans

Monthly (ongoing): continued coaching calls (started in 2018) in support of liberation and empowerment for those who speak English and who are dedicated to supporting other women’s empowerment. These more intimate opportunities will follow closely the actual needs and experiences of the women who attend.

March 2019 (Palestine): All of the women who attended last year are committed to participating in the first session. In addition, 10 more are already signed up for this year’s “From Inner Transformation to Social Transformation” training with Miki Kashtan. We are pleased to be adding an additional training day, to total of five days together. So that the training is as supportive as possible of the women’s continued liberation within their contexts of living, it is designed to generate and integrate co-created themes and topics based on the specific needs, perspectives, concerns, and ideas of the participants. Additional themes will include:

Overcoming Patriarchal Training: to transcend scarcity, separation, and powerlessness and support the Palestinian women leaders in trusting their capacity to show up in life, despite inner and outer obstacles, with full freedom.

Nonviolence and social change: to support the capacity to engage in social change activities with an orientation based on courage, truth, and love.

Leadership as a Way of Life: to enhance women’s capacity to lead, both to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to other women beyond those who can participate in the training, and to provide tools for their work in their communities overall.

From March 2019, Ongoing: The training is designed to create a stronger infrastructure for continued work in geographically based sub-groups, so that the women can continue supporting each other locally.

May 2019 (Poland): This year we are planning to send seven women (instead of five women last year) to the annual training in Poland of “Mobilizing for Global Nonviolent Liberation” with themes both deepening and going beyond what is covered in the training in Palestine in March.

November 2019 (Palestine): Additional training with Arnina in support of deepening inner freedom from fear and shame and increasing leadership capacity, with Arnina Kashtan, focusing on courageous living, speaking up, seeing others’ humanity, and choice with “yes” and “no.”

2019 Budget

The initial budget for 2019 is estimated to be $34,000. This includes $20,000 for 45 women to attend the 5-day training in March including travel room and board, $9,500 to send 7 women to the Poland training including travel, room, and board, and $3,500 for the Fall training. As before, the budget is mostly made up of the room, board, and travel costs for women to attend the training in March (45 women), May (seven women), and November (35 women), as well as some contribution to the sustainability of the Palestinian organizers. As before, this budget does not include training costs because the trainers in this event, two Israeli sisters, are donating their time and travel costs in recognition of the impact of Israeli occupation on Palestinian lives.

As of February, 2019, we have $12,000 in matching funds to support fundraising.

We are currently raising funds to support the 2019 EPWL project. Please donate here: https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/epwl

View the initial 2018 Report HERE