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23. January 2006

Indian woman ;© Elisabeth Kasbauer

Panel Delhi ;© Xenia Hausner

Edit Schlaffer, Archana Kapoor and Flavia Agnes (v.l.t.r.) on the "Walking into the Future – Female Strategies for Change" panel on the International Women´s Day 2005 in New Delhi.

Kicken ;© FAWE

One of the 8 Women without Borders football teams in Kigali in action.

Rwandese Girls ;© Georgina Nitzsche

Rwandese Girls who are playing one exercise out of the Women without Borders trainings manual.

Girl and woman in Afghanistan ;© Martina Handler

A Afghan mother with her daughter in Nimruz.

Women without Borders Annual Report 2005

2005 was a tremendous year for Women without Borders (WWB). Several of our projects met with success, and the foundations for some more were laid. We look forward to 2006 with hope and optimism.

In February we invited – with the support of the Austria-based initiative 'Wider die Gewalt ' (Against Violence)– Neela Valli, director of the Initiative Women in Development (IWID) in Chennai, India, to Vienna. Dr. Valli was a guest of honor at the "58th Night of Viennese Economy", hosted by Mayor Dr. Michael Häupl. At this event, and at a panel discussion at the Kreisky Forum in the city, she described the impact of the December 2004 tsunami on South Indian fishing villages, and presented the blueprint of an innovative project to help them. With the support of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Social Security, Generations and Consumer Protection (BMSG) WwB was able to start the model project "Connecting Women and Children for Hope!". The project is located in two fishing villages in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The project, in addition to providing succor to the victims of the tsunami, stresses the empowerment of women in these villages.

We were also able to expand our activities in Tamil Nadu with the starting of two new projects. "Take your Future into your Own Hands!" is a pioneering tsunami rehabilitation and empowerment project for women over the age of forty. As part of the project, every month 25 women from two villages in the region will be trained in the art of making traditional products from the leaves of the coconut tree, and the making of coir ropes.
"Women Swimming into the Future!" is a unique initiative for women in South India. With the support of the Sports Division of the Austrian Federal Chancellery, the Austrian Swimming Federation, the Austrian Youth Red Cross and the Austrian Life Saving Federation, WWB will organize at Chennai and Mamallapuram, a pilot swimming training for women and girls, at the beginning of February this year. (link lisi text)

To commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8, WWB organized a panel discussion in New Delhi, hosted by the Austrian Embassy and Dr. Jutta Stefan-Bastl, the Austrian Ambassador to India. The topic was “Walking into the Future – Female Strategies for Change.” Our panel members, five women from South Asia, all role models of female competence and confidence and passionate advocates for the empowerment of women, discussed strategies that could be implemented in the region.

In June, WWB started the project “Local/International Girls Parliament“in six Latin American and three European countries. This unique model project is funded by the URB-AL network of the EU, under the theme Promoting the Role of Women in Local Decision-making Bodies. Women without Borders has developed the training manual for the workshops which will start in all the nine participating municipalities in March. Furthermore, a unique and innovative web-platform has been designed to enable all the young women who are part of this project to have an on-line network.

In June, WWB was able to start, with the support of the BMSG and the Sports Division of the Austrian Federal Chancellery, a pioneering empowerment project for girls in Rwanda-- "Girls: Fit for Leadership!" and "Kicking for Reconciliation!", The two projects were started in a FAWE boarding school in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The Women without Borders training manual “Be what you want to be!” was developed for these two pilot projects. At present, eight mentors who will act as core trainers have been taught using this manual.
As part of the “Kicking for Reconciliation!” project, WWB was able to organize the outfits and equipment for the 160 girls participating in soccer training. Currently, eight teams have been organized, and we look forward to many more. The goal of this leadership and sport empowerment project is to promote trauma healing through team exercises and sport.

In the same month, we were able to produce a detailed and scientific report on our Women´s Center in the Nimruz Province, Afghanistan, a project running successfully since 2003. You can download the report for free here, but currently only the German version is available. A report on the trip to Nimruz can be found here .
We are very glad that support for this project will continue in 2006 also. We want to thank the BMSG for this important contribution!

WWB continues to be active in Afghanistan. On the request of and with the support of the UNFPA  the “Our Country My Role” handbook in Dari which was developed for the project “Empowerment from Afghan women for Afghan women” (supported by the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs) was published in a new edition last year. It was also translated into Pasthu, the second official language of Afghanistan, in Autumn 2005. WWB had developed the handbook as a manual for empowerment workshops for women in Afghanistan in 2004. Through this exciting cooperation with the UNFPA the handbook (download), which has been very well received will reach a much wider circle. 10.000 copies will be printed and with the help of local networks, international governmental and non-governmental organizations as well as volunteers the book will be distributed all over the country. (link article)

In Baghdad we carried out a survey among youth, parents and teachers about the situation of youth in the “New Iraq”. This project was accomplished with the cooperation of Manal Omar / Women for Women International. The research was done within the framework of the project “Youth in the Middle of Horror and Hope!” which is supported by the BMSG.
The crucial finding of the survey was that despite the ongoing conflict and a paucity of opportunities people are still optimistic about the future.
On the basis of the survey, Women without Borders is in the process of developing a workshop program for youth in Iraq in the form of after school clubs. This week a train-the-trainer workshop with nine Iraqi multipliers will take place in the Rogner Bad Blumau.

The year 2006 has started off on a successful note and we look forward to another exciting and powerful year!

The Women Without Borders team


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