CAPACITA (“Empower”) is a project promoted by PpDM – Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights, in partnership with EMPA – Portuguese Association of Women’s Studies, financed by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA Grants) within the context of the Program Active Citizenship conducted by the Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian.
The aim of the project is the structural strengthening of PPDM and its member organizations (as well as others that might participate at the project), by empowering and strengthening their management capacity, financial power and sustainability. On the other hand, the project aims at training and qualification of leaders, employees and volunteers by developing their knowledge related to Gender Equality, Human Rights, Democracy and Citizenship. In the same way, CAPACITA seeks to improve the effectiveness of actions of the PpDM’s member organization and the PpDM itself as a Portuguese umbrella organization in the area of promotion of gender equality and women’s rights.
The Components of the project CAPACITA
1. Groups of Action
The Groups of Action represent a model of participatory intervention, which is more effective, transparent, practice-oriented and independent. These groups are activist groups consisting of NGOs from various areas that will work together as a part of the project. Each Group will focus on one topic related to Gender Equality and Women’s Rights. In total, eight different NGOs will form the Groups of Action: Democracia Paritária; CEDAW; LEM; Tráfico de seres humanos; Violência contra as mulheres; Trabalho e Independência Económica; Mulheres migrantes; Feminismos. The different members of the Groups will work together using informal education methods. Also, the Groups will have regular meetings which will give space for practical discussion of the issues in the Groups.
2. Technical Support Office (Gabinete de Apoio Técnico, GAT)
The Office will be responsible for the administration and management of the communication and distribution / dissemination of the Project. Also, it will provide support for organizations to create applications for funding sources. GAT will work together with the Groups of Action to provide administrative support and to create a sense of empowerment and personal development of individuals and groups linked to the Groups. The Office will provide the Groups with relevant information concerning their work as well as with support in communication, publication and dissemination of the results.
3. Network of Volunteers
The House of Association will form a network of Volunteers – This will include people from various areas of expertise and experience who are willing to give expert support to organizations on a voluntary basis. The Volunteers will be integrated in a database managed by the GAT; so they can take part in the Groups of Action or just provide support on the spot. They receive a certificate and will have access to the services of the House of Associations and the Office. Also, they can participate at trainings and awareness trainings of the Center of Digital Knowledge and Resources. Together with the members of the Groups of Action, the Volunteers will have meetings to share the experiences of the project.
4. Center of Digital Resources and Knowledge (Centro de Recursos e de Conhecimento Digital, CRCD)
In response to the collected expectations and needs of the member organizations, a Center of Digital Resources and Knowledge was created to share the specific know-how of each association. This Center is an Online Network to ensure regular access to continually updated knowledge of the specific areas of expertise of each organization. Also, it is a tool to strengthen and diversify the forms of education , especially for leaders and volunteers of the member NGOs. In this sense, the members of the associations will be responsible for the construction of digital content for the other members as well as for the construction and update of the Center of Digital Resources and Knowledge. In order to achieve this, educational distance learning (E-Learning) will become necessary.
5. Toolkit of Feminist Activism and Rethorics
Toolkit: In the second part of the project a Toolkit of feminist activism will be produced, integrating the experiences of the Groups of Action and the work of the GAT and CRCD. The purpose of this Toolkit is to give a “recipe” for feminist activism on an individual and collective level. The Toolkit will be published in print and digital format and will be disseminated among the target groups of the various organizations and among specific audiences.
Rhetorics: The Aliança para a Democracia Paritária (Alliance for Parity Democracy) will update their reasoning “What is Parity Democracy “, contributing to the theoretical debate on the issues of equality between women and men in political participation and decision making.
6. Initial and Final Seminar
The Initial Seminar, held on March 15, 2014, was intended to initiate collaborative work between organizations within the Project “Capacita”. The project will also have a final seminar to share experiences, disseminate the results and evaluate the project.
The Opré Chavalé is a project promoted by the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights in partnership with the Association Letras Nómadas, co-financed by the Program Active Citizenship – EEA Grants and administered by the Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian. The project is highly innovative, based on practices of positive actions aimed at the integration of Roma communities in higher education.
The overall objective of the project is to break the barriers that separate Roma people from the formal education system, particularly regarding their access to higher education, academic and technical courses. The entities that intend to promote the project have extensive experience in working together with Roma communities and possess awareness of the specific needs of the population.
This design is based on successful practices implemented in other countries, including the Eastern European countries that have great experience in this area. Portugal is not involved in programs such as the Roma Educational Fund and other measures of the Open Society Foundation, which supports the education of young Roma with scholarships and special programs throughout Europe. The project aims to operate at this level, making lobbying and requests for the extension of programs for Roma communities in Portugal, who are very similiar regarding the needs of education. At the political level, we intend to act by monitoring the National Strategy for the Integration of Roma (ENICC) implementing the Europe 2020 objectives, as well as putting pressure on the government in order to integrate post-2015 dynamics, when the present “Decade of Roma Inclusion” ends.
The difficulties of social inclusion of Roma communities are known in Portugal, the obstacles are evident facing young Roma in the process of entering the active life and the world of work. This is, of course, associated with low schooling of the Roma population, the high failure rate and the high rate of early school leaving of Roma children and adolescents. (ENICC, p46) The project contributes to Priority 21 of the National Strategy for the Integration of Roma to promote higher education among young Roma, their families and communities. The issue of formal education and, as a consequence, the inclusion in the formal labor market is a priority area regarding the integration of Roma communities. Early school leaving shows very high rates in the case of young Roma: On average, boys leave school in the 7th year. As for the females, due to the identification with the traditional social role of the female gender as one of the pillars of Roma identity, girls leave school when they start their life as a “woman” at the time of their first period, on average in the 4th grade.
The aim of the project is to create a replicable training program in which the participants work on their soft skills as essential competences for success in higher education. Because of socialization and the lack of examples through generations, young Roma face greater difficulties in access to learning throughout life. The program is innovative by addressing two areas: On the one side, the focus is on personal development by covering topics such as Human Rights and Gender Equality, promoting discussions and debates. Simultaneoulsy, the conciliation with the Roma identity is addressed.
With the Pilot Group, as an example, and the contributions of the Letras Nómadas in the area of intercultural mediation, the project aims to raise the awareness of Roma communities as well as of the key actors in the formal education system. An awareness campaign at the national level will be carried out using billboards, advertising panels and an audiovisual spot, created with the participation of the Grupo Piloto and disseminated widely within Roma communities. To inform and raise the interest of young people, a leaflet will be produced that shows possibilities and information in a graphic way. This leaflet will be distributed through the IPDJ networks, Pastoral dos Ciganos, intercultural mediators, schools, parish councils etc.
Novos Desafios no Combate à Violência Sexual
The Novos Desafios no Combate à Violência Sexual (New Challenges in Combating Sexual Violence) is a project sponsored by the Association of Women Against Violence in partnership with PpDM, the Public Health Department and the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences.
The ultimate aim of the project is to highlight the need for prevention and intervention on sexual violence on the political agenda in order to define new measures and specific public policies to combat this form of violation of human rights. The aim is to intervene both with professionals working in the area and with the victims. To do so, a service office will be created and quality standards and procedures will be established, allowing the definition of a model of integrated intervention that consists of a network of specialized support resources: health, public security, justice and psychosocial support. Furthermore, the project includes the implementation of a group of mutual support and self-representation, an online petition, sessions of training / information and the production of an information brochure.