Support, Safety Nets and Social Networks: Building networks for support and social change

The trauma of war and conflict not only affects women's physical and emotional well-being, it can also deprive them of their sense of worth. Many women survivors of war and conflict are unaware of their rights in their families and under communal and national law; others are coerced to accept second-class status at home and in society.

Through our experience, we have learned that it is crucial to raise women's awareness about their contributions to society and their political, economic and social rights if they are to contribute to the rebuilding of their families, communities and nations.

Women for Women International (WfWI) programs help women understand their rights–and how to fight for them.

  • Fighting Back
    Against Violations of Basic Rights

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    • Conflict exacerbates the challenges women face; the majority of casualties of war and conflict are now civilian, and most of those are women and children. Women are targeted for human rights violations such as rape, torture and sexual slavery, all of which may be used as weapons of war. Many have lived much of their lives without access to health care, or access to economic or legal power. Women and girls are the most overlooked demographic in discussion of human rights and related laws.

      When women have access to knowledge, combined with access to resources, they are more capable to lead change in their families and communities.

  • Helping Women Defend Themselves

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    • Women are often subjected to rape and other forms of physical and emotional abuse during conflict. Our program helps women understand that they have the right to live free of violence and inequality. We work to ensure that women are aware of the resources available for legal recourse, are provided with referrals for medical treatment and psychological and emotional support, and that violence against women is understood as a public, not private, issue.

      More importantly, we provide women with a judgment-free environment where they can confidentially discuss their personal experiences with other women and speak about the different ways they can protect and support themselves and their families.

  • Understanding That
    Health Is an Essential Human Right

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    • Our goal is to help women understand and recognize the importance of health as an essential asset and human right and to create awareness about the key factors that affect their health. Knowledge about health is crucial for women to improve their lives.

      Through our program, women gain information on the prevention, treatment and management of key health issues, including communicable diseases, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health, mental health and stress, personal hygiene and environmental health. We promote women making choices they think are best for themselves and their families. WfWI offers medical referrals to local partner organizations for participants requiring additional healthcare services.

  • Educating Women
    About Their Legal Rights

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    • We know that in order to protect women from injustice, they must be aware of the laws protecting their rights and the community resources available for advocating and securing them.

      As program participants, women learn the difference between what the law states and the actual legal practices in their country, and the ways in which the legal system can protect women and children. They engage in discussions to enhance their legal understanding of marriage, divorce, child custody, domestic violence and rape, ownership, inheritance and the control of assets.

      As a result, participants are able to make informed decisions, take action and advocate for their families, communities and nations.

  • Creating Lasting Change

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    • When women understand and advocate for their rights, everything changes.

      Statistics show that women who go through rights-awareness training with WfWI are more confident and healthier. They actively participate in their communities.

      • 90% of women report having knowledge of their rights
      • Two-thirds report educating other women on their rights
      • 85% participate in key family decisions
      • More than half vote in local or national elections
      • 12% run for local leadership positions