This section details the 3 topics on which AAE work. Topics 1 and 2 are given by external facilitators by way of a participatory methodology that involves both mind and body. AAE promotes spaces of stability and emotional expression by way of activities that promote culture, such as music, dance, or theater.
Topic 3 will be achieved with help from the local team. It will begin with a participatory diagnostic exercise for all the participating women (specified below).
Topic 1: Identity, Self-Esteem and Life Skills
Identity and Self-Knowledge, Self-Confidence.
- Encourage self-knowledge and the value that a woman has for herself. Go over her life up to here and now. How could her life be different? Reflect on the external and internal barriers that exist for self-realization. Manage feelings and be aware of emotions.
- Offer tools that contribute to alleviating pain, fear, lack of self-confidence, anger, sadness, blame, trauma, grief, and other psycho-social effects of forced displacement and violence.
- Strengthen resources available for confronting difficulties and promoting tools for protection and self-care. Strengthen and identify positive resources targeted towards individuals, families, and communities that help strengthen their capabilities.
It is important to relate this with the subject of disregard in order to eliminate, by way of exercises of the body, that which is not relevant and negative. To articulate the link between the grief of the past and what each woman has done to survive. Address the concept of survival, the collection of physical, mental, and emotional tools that each woman has used to continue fighting and searching for wellness. What does it mean to be a survivor? What tools were used? What motivated me to survive?
- Work on the self-esteem of the women to change the negative perceptions they have and strengthen their abilities.
- Work on affection: affection for one’s self, giving and receiving affection, experiencing positive feedback.
Abilities, Assertive Rights
- Work on social skills and business skills in daily life. It is necessary to develop tools to learn to conduct daily business from a position of confidence in what they do, rather than from a position of lack thereof, or of victimhood. They must know that their rights must be guaranteed.
Psycho-social Impacts of Forced Displacement and Violence
The effects of forced displacement and violence can include threats on a woman’s life (fear), trauma (injury), crisis (stress), or a loss (grief). It is necessary to put emphasis on grief, which can cause profound confusion in relation to the subject of identity: who I was, who I am no, who I will be, and what I will do from now on. You will need to keep in mind other stress factors, such as: social rejection, negative stereotypes, feelings of social, judicial, and economic helplessness, bureaucratic barriers, difficulties in adapting to differences in customs and communication, and frustration in having to do poorly-paid jobs, which often do not have to do with their experience or professional background.
- Encourage, expand, and/or develop the emotional consciousness of participants regarding the struggles they have faced in their lives and the paths they have taken, as well as the tools that have allowed them to survive.
- Life for refugees is not easy, and not for women either. In order to accept one’s place, it is necessary to stop idealizing what was left behind and recognize in order to grieve one has to leave behind the “paradise” of the home country.
- Grief starts by recognizing one’s injuries and the memories of violence against one’s body and soul. Grief serves to grow and learn, in spite of painful experiences.
- One must strengthen her spirit and attitude toward life in order to continue living.
- Thus, it is necessary to work on the concept of resilience: the ability to distance ourselves from that which is painful. In this way, we can stay lighter and more sensitive in order to construct new ways of life. We must remember to forget; must recall memories in order to actively send them off.
Topic 2: Gender and Gender-Based Violence
Dig deeply into the idea of gender in order to analyze and reflect to the origin and situation of inequality between women and men:
- Realize a process of gender socialization so that each woman discovers that the reality in which she finds herself is a consequence of differentiated socialization, in which the masculine role has the authority and social recognition.
- Discuss roles, stereotypes, and gender prejudices, as well as time usage between genders and stereotypical conceptions regarding the role of women.
- Reflect on gender-based violence in situations of armed conflict.
- Identify the mechanisms and consequences of gender-based violence. Characterize gender-based violence in a way that each woman can reflect on her own personal situation. The reconstruction of a new biography.
- Contribute to identifying emotional dependence by way of self-knowledge and work with emotions from the perspective of gender. Love and the myths of love and their consequences in relationships.
- In the interpersonal dimension, how are relationships of power, violence, and abuse embraced? How can we create relationships of equality (respecting differences) and good treatment?
- Develop tools to leave violence behind.
- Begin to take an active role to leave violence behind and prevent it from being reproduced. It is possible to put a stop to abuse, discrimination, violence, etc.
Topic 3: Access to Formal Justice
It is important to address the exercise of rights as a part of the attention and emotional support. In this block we discuss:
- Promote the right to justice and offer tools for demanding one’s rights.
- Offer legal services and strategic litigation, by way of following specific cases and impact and litigation strategies that allow for the advancement of formal justice.
The meetings should allow for the identification of cases, for the raising of testimonials, and should offer case assessment, orientation, and follow-up.
It is important that the local team is charged with this task. Because of this, Know Your Rights trainings will be performed and space will be given so that women can talk individually with the local team.
Block 4: Economic Autonomy
It is important to align ourselves with other institutions and civil society organizations in order to promote the economic autonomy of the women.
- Strengthen skills and knowledge bases related to economics.
- Promote entrepreneurship amongst individuals and groups, by way of an economy of solidarity.