Iraq: Apr ‘09

Training session focuses on developing women’s management and leadership skills.

Iraq: Apr ‘09

Training session focuses on developing women’s management and leadership skills.

Thursday, 28 May, 2009
IWPR Women’s Media Initiative programme held its first women in leadership training in April, boosting the confidence and skills of six civil society representatives and five media specialists.

The former were made up of community leaders, human rights activists and educators, while the latter included a senior regional newspaper editor and a photojournalist.

The training session, held April 6 to 8 in Sulaimaniyah, drew women from Baghdad, Basra, Diwaniya, Kirkuk, Kut, Nasiriyah and Sulaimaniyah.

The training focuses on helping to build women’s management and leadership skills in an effort to create female “change agents” – or community catalysts for change. It also tries to address the media’s negative reporting of Iraqi women, which tends to view them as victims rather than role models in their communities.

The initiative is part of IWPR’s women in leadership programme, designed to empower women by offering training in media and public relations, decision-making skills and management capacity building. The programme partners female leaders and media specialists.

In addition to building the women’s organisational and management skills, the April course also offered alternative ways of thinking to boost decision-making skills. The latter involved a number of role-playing exercises.

“I gained an enormous amount of knowledge from this course,” said one of the participants Almas Fadil Kamal, a member of Kirkuk’s provincial council and a women’s activist. “All of the topics were very good.

“I would like to participate in similar courses because I see myself as a leader and I need every bit of information to develop and use my skills. In addition, I believe that media can play a positive role in the issues affecting our world today, especially in peace building and coexistence.”

Kamal said IWPR’s leadership courses provide her with the skills “to strengthen my experience on the ground”.

Another participant, Kaniaw Chato Rauf, a project coordinator for the Women’s Empowerment Centre in Sulaimaniyah, said she developed her management and media relations skills through the training, as well as learning how to set goals.

“I have suggested to my boss how to use strategic planning in our organisation and the benefits it carries,” she said.

“I would like to learn even more as we lack women’s leadership in this country. Such trainings will be very helpful in strengthening the capacity, skills and efficiency of women leaders.

A second training session, an intensive and interactive course that develops women’s peace building through media, is scheduled for June. Six women peace-builders will be taught how to use community-based media as an advocacy and educational tool.

Melinda Witter is IWPR Iraq’s deputy country director.
Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq
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