The Young Women’s Development Groups Project (YWDG) is an intensive, rights-based extracurricular programme for teenage girls that brings international best practices on working with girls to the North Caucasus. The project, which commenced in September 2012 is running its fourth year in 2015/16, involves eleven local NGOs and 30 staff and had reached some 2,500 girls by the end of the 3rd year. Its curriculum was built by local NGOs around jointly agreed goals of equality, leadership and women’s human rights. The project unites local women’s, youth and human rights NGOs around empowering girls for a more equal future and through “learning by doing”, educating local youth workers in best practices and innovative methods in youth work. Now reaching the end of its first year, the project has already had a transformative effect on the ten NGOs involved and the girls attending the programme.
Peacebuilding UK, which together with its partners draws on 18 years of educational and psychosocial work with children and youth as well as human rights defence in Chechnya, has since 2012 been engaging in one of Chechnya’s most urgent human rights issues, that of women’s and girls’ rights. While providing a broad-based program to empower Chechnya’s most vulnerable demographic – teenage girls, the Young Women’s Development Groups project also aims to strengthen Chechen civil society at a time when NGOs are facing persistent pressure and threats from the authorities and find themselves weakened and isolated. The project brings together NGOs working in different areas in a sustained manner. By making young women confident and aware of their rights and through institutionalizing genuine cooperation between NGOs, the Young Women’s Development Groups project offers an alternative to some of the Chechen government’s most harmful and illiberal policies. 26 social workers conduct workshops in schools, from 11 local partners: Centre for Developing Technologies, Centre for Peacebuilding and Community Development, Denal, Doveriye (Trust),Niiso, Resurs, Union of Women of Chechnya,Women for Development,Zhivaya Nit’ (Living Thread), Zhivoy Rodnik, Zov Serdtsa (Call of the Heart).
The project aims:
– To strengthen Chechen civil society and expand its role in community development through improving the technical and professional capacities of 11 key local women’s, youth and human rights NGOs.
–To build a movement of women’s NGOs with strengthened links and shared objectives, institutionalizing sustained and comprehensive collaboration and coordination between them and providing experience in working together to further their common goals. .
– To provide training in social work for vulnerable and marginalised girls and young women to 26 social workers and the leaders of 10 Chechen women’s, youth and human rights NGOs;
– To develop a curriculum based on international best practices in girls’ and young women’s social work;
– To institutionalise cooperation and coordination between local women’s, youth and human rights NGOs;
– To provide 1000 vulnerable girls and young women (aged 11-18) in Chechnya each year with an extracurricular course on life-skills, confidence-building, personal development, health, human rights, and economic independence;
-To provide 1000 vulnerable girls each year with access to individual psycho-social counselling, health and educational support.