The Bulgarian Centre of Women in Technology (BCWT) is happy to announce its participation in the “WE GO!” project (duration: 11.01.2016 – 10.01.2018). We find our involvement in this European project as a crucial step towards augmentation of economic empowerment of women victims of domestic violence. We believe that collaboration, exchanges and mutual learning events in a European level is helping our organization to increase its knowledge and experience.

 

The main objective of WE GO project is to: “strengthen support services for women victims of domestic violence in Europe, with a particular regard to training and advisory services that shelters/women’s centers offer to these victims. It focuses on the capacity building of trainers and officers of these centers and the development of new methods/responses to address the lack of economic alternatives for women victims. Thanks to WE GO! centers will become more responsive to economic needs of victims (often a secondary focus following legal support) who will be able to exit situation of violence as a result of being empowered.”

Project beneficiaries are:

  • At least 200 women trained, especially those with no formal job and lacking economic independence;
  • 35-50 Trainers/officers who work in the shelters/centres;
  • At least 50 practitioners/researchers involved in the analysis and exchanges;
  • At least 100 decision makers/institutions involved in dissemination activities;
  • 1000 from a broader constituency of stakeholders reached by the project’s results.

 

The main project activities include:

  • Comparative research analysis on the available information on economic profiles of women victims in eight countries and the types of current economic empowerment services to the victims. The main objective of the activity is to develop common methodologies and indicators on data collection and to test them in a pilot experience at European level with the involvement of 8 countries (six project’s partners Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Sweden, Cyprus, Spain) plus two other countries (UK and France), that will offer the opportunity to compare strategies and interventions with continental Europe. The 8 countries present different welfare regimes and approaches to gender based violence.

 

  • Mutual learning events for project practitioners to create space for exchange and knowledge-building among practitioners on best practices applied to women victims of violence in search of economic independence.

 

The first Mutual learning event between the partners have been held in Milan (02-04 February, 2016) where the roles and the tasks of each partner have been defined.  After this meeting it became clear that the strong internal communication between partners is the key to ensure smooth implementation of the project.  In this line of thoughts specific information tools and other sharing procedures have been established. A start-up workshop took place in Milan, where specific internal trainings have been provided to all partners – especially those with less experiences in EU-funded projects -regarding the EU applicable rules. At the end of September the second exchange between partners took place in Thessaloniki. It included Mutual learning events.

 

  • To test and/or to implement new services as a response to women victims, who are looking for economic alternatives that can help them in finding ways of exiting situations of violence. The activity includes conducting training sessions for practitioners and women victims in 4 countries.

 

  • Communication and dissemination activities, at national and EU levels, to disseminate WeGO! development: methodological visions, trainings and learnings, achievements and recommendations to decision makers.

 

  • Management and coordination of the project.

 

The Steering Committee meetings are leading the project from a strategic point of view. Thus during these meeting an implementation of project objectives and a detailed plan of what the next steps have been made.

The Mutual learning events gave the partners the possibility to foster the collaboration among practitioners (antiviolence centers). As the knowledge in the sphere has not been systematized, we made a clarification of definitions and concepts (foe ex. what is domestic gender based violence, definition of economic independence etc.). Each antiviolence center shared its good practices and examples.  Via role games and brain storm session we have identified some of the problems, challenges and needs in front of women victims of IPV:

 

  • lack of family and social network able to support them
  • mental, emotional and physical impact of violence
  • women are often mothers with young children (hard to find work with flexible working hours)
  • objective facts: economic crisis/lack of effective and specific public intervention (which can help women professional training, traineeships etc.)
  • need to work closely with enterprises offering job to people at risk of social exclusion

 

Having all this in mind we have tried to find reasons and the solutions of these problems. We went through discussion about the Gender pay gap. One of the partners talked about sexual division of labor which places women in the domestic sphere where activities are unpaid.  It turns out that women have double shift: women responsible for productive (outside work) and reproductive work (work at home).The statistics are showing that man are spending 1hour and 30 minutes for house work while women are spending 4 hours and 36 minutes, thus man have a lot more time to develop their personal and social lives.

 

During these sessions we have commented some studies, like “Redistributing care work gender equality and justice- training curriculum”; some concepts have been shared, like “Defining approach to adult learning”.

 

In order to address all the challenges in front of the women victims of violence we have developed a Toolkit module which will serve as manual for the trainers of women victim of violence. The final version of the toolkit will be ready till the end of the year. BCWT is responsible for the model ICT, which concerns the digital empowerment of women, so they can be better placed in the job market. Right now we are in a process of creation of the exact structure of our module, by making thorough research in the sphere, as well as via meetings with the target group in the face of trainers from victim centers like those from one of our Bulgarian partner organizations – Animus center.

So far we are really positive about the outcome of these project as we do believe that the  cross-border actions, the exchange of good practices as well as the work in close cooperation with anti-violence centers will contribute to the creation of an useful and practical Toolkit.

 

 

 

“WE GO! WOMEN ECONOMIC-INDEPENDENCE & GROWTH OPPORTUNITY”, REF. NO JUST/2014/RDAP/AG/VICT/7365, CO-FUNDED BY THE RIGHTS, EQUALITY AND CITIZENSHIP PROGRAMME OF THE EUROPEAN UNION”