Who can carry your banner? Educate leaders and potential allies

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Centro Mujeres partners and supporters carrying a banner at a pro-choice demonstration.

From the beginning, Mónica and Teresa were clear about their convictions, but they also knew that they could not impose their ideals on others. They knew they needed to reach out to, teach, and develop allies incrementally over the long haul.

Rather than providing direct services – Mónica says, “We are not the Red Cross” – Centro Mujeres focused on outreach, education, and “promoting a critical mind and understanding of human rights.” They prioritized educating and cultivating leaders in the community and among policymakers so they could act to promote sexual and reproductive rights.

An example of Centro Mujeres’ developmental approach is their Health Education and Reproductive Justice (HER) educational course. This “mini-master’s program” provides training for judges, prosecutors, and other government officials on reproductive health, sexual rights, and human rights.

“We keep forming and forming and forming, and people we have touched keep popping up all over the place,” says Mónica.

Of course, educating individuals and changing policy is marathon work. “We are constantly putting out the same message for years and years and years and years,” says Teresa, and, “It’s the same message whether we are talking with community members or policymakers.”

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About WomenStrong International

WomenStrong International provides trust-based funding, capacity strengthening, and a peer learning community to grantee partners addressing some of the most critical needs of women and girls: keeping girls in school, accessing lifesaving reproductive health care, preventing gender-based violence, and creating pathways to economic security. Learn More