EFOMW organised a workshop entitled “Advocacy Training for Civil Society”, 8 November 2019 in Brussels.

The main aim of the training was to enhance Muslim women civil society organisations’ knowledge of advocacy and tools that can be used to counteract, challenge and fight against the intersectional discriminations they face.

Amongst participants there was a mix of representatives from EFOMW member organisations, Belgium based civil society organisations and activists, as well as activists from other EU countries working with intersectional discrimination, women rights and Islamophobia.

During the workshop we looked at different aspects of advocacy;  how to set common grounds to work as partners; and the current situation of Islamophobia in Europe and its gendered aspect. We reflected on how an intersectional analysis of multiple-bias discrimination could help deepen the understanding of how gender intersects with other protected characteristics, and how this might affect Muslim women’s vulnerability.

Workshop also aimed to improve participants’ understanding of how advocacy relates to challenging and combating intersectional discrimination.

These topics were covered by experts in Advocacy, Islamophobia and Social Entrepreneurship.

We also used this opportunity to invite a guest speaker MEP, Samira Rafaela, who gave a perspective of newly elected MEP and possibilities of advocacy activities inside the European Parliament. Her input provided the opportunity for the participants to make sense of links between grassroots on local or national level and policy making at EU level, offering more understanding of advocacy channels.

This trainig day was also opportunity to share ideas and to hear experiences from diferent European countries, and we hope it will inspire to new advocacy initiatives and to new coalitions.

From the discussions during the workshop, EFOMW’s experience and the latest reports, Islamophobia in Europe is increasing and therefore needs to be addressed more urgently.  Given the scale of the need and problem, there is still a lack of CSOs which tackle gendered aspects of Islamophobia and its impacts.

We recognise a great need for increase of advocacy efforts and for more awareness raising about situation of Muslim women in Europe – on all levels.

We plan to offer similar trainings to more of our members – to inform, engage and develop capacities of Muslim women organisations in advocacy process – which we hope will give them knowledge to better tackle discriminations and violence they face.

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