The audiences for training should include chiefs, mediators or other decision-makers, community members who use the system, and women in particular. Other key audiences may include, youth, faith leaders, members of the media, women’s groups, and men’s groups.
Trainings should be based on initial assessment data so as to effectively meet the needs of the audience and avoid resistance to trainings that do not take context into account.
Training should prioritize stopping the violence, protecting victim safety, and holding offenders accountable.
Training should focus on skill development as well as legal and human rights knowledge.
Training should be respectful of, and recognize, the skills and expertise of, traditional and community leaders and the skills and expertise of women’s groups.
Training should incorporate community traditions, stories, and modes of expression to the extent they promote women’s right to be free from violence.
Training should include pre- and post-assessments of the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs of the participants relative to violence against women and the role of the informal justice sector.
DR Congo – Lessons Learned on Training Male Community Leaders
Women for Women International conducted an evaluation of its programme to train male community leaders on gender and sexual violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The evaluation revealed several lessons that may be applicable to other programmes designed to engage men through training on issues of gender violence:
Carefully select trainees: “Analysis revealed that in some instances leaders were selected for training without first assessing their interest or level of commitment to the issues to be covered in the training. While some may have developed an interest over the course of the training, it may be more effective to ensure that each person who goes through initial training expresses some degree of interest, particularly if they are being recruited to conduct further training.”
Determine appropriate length and spacing of training relative to topic: Participants in the evaluation said that the 3-5 days used for the Men’s Leadership Training was not sufficient to give participants time to digest and reflect upon materials. Conducting an introductory training and then spacing out subsequent trainings can give participants more time to absorb and develop and understanding of complex and new material.
Ensure that materials are appropriate for the audience: Participants in the Men’s Leadership Program were asked to conduct outreach after their training and they noted that very simplified materials would have been helpful for that exercise. Other participants recommended community theatre as a means of training grassroots communities.
Consider how to incorporate women into training programmes for men: The evaluation revealed that although the programme was targeting men, spontaneous outreach by male-female teams provide very effective. Considering husband-wife teams as role models for change amongst other couples was one suggestion from the evaluation participants.
Often, training on violence against women can be seen as directly challenging long-established community norms and values. As a result, it can be hard to get participants to agree to attend the training. Communities around the world have responded to this difficulty by:
Creating Incentives – Combining trainings on gender dynamics, human rights, and laws on violence against women with entertainment or other types of training which community members need (vocational, leadership, entrepreneurial, etc.) can often be the only way to get participants to attend trainings. Teaching people about violence against women often must be paired with basic legal literacy and rule of law education, especially in rural communities.
Liberia – Rule of Law Education
As Liberia recovers from a devastating civil war, The Carter Center is partnering with community based organizations to train local trainers on rule of law education. The programme is designed to build the capacity of local civil society groups as well as increasing the legal literacy of Liberian communities. The programme addresses a number of issues including basic structure of the legal system, new rape and inheritance laws, as well as trying to dissuade communities from using traditional rituals like “sassywood,” or trial by ordeal, to determine guilt. The Carter Center’s Handbook for Community Partners, outlines the messages and methods community educators and trainers can use in civic education. The handbook also includes helpful strategies for working with community elders and traditional leaders.
A video describes and shows footage of some of the rule of law programmes and their impact.