16 Days of Activism

 In Allgemein

The “International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women”, November 25, is the annual day of action to combat discrimination and violence against women and girls. At the same time, it is the start of the “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence”. All over the world, activists create visibility for the issue of violence against women.

One of filia’s funding partners in Georgia, the Merkuri organization, is also very much in the public eye these days. We have been in contact with our colleagues at Merkuri since 2012 and hear what the most pressing issues are for girls and women in this rural region of Georgia.

Recognizing and naming violence is the first step

“A survey on women’s issues in the Samegrelo region that we (…) conducted showed us that women in rural areas still have difficulty recognizing violence, despite major mental changes in society. And that the fear of society and public opinion is still greater than the fear of the perpetrator(s). So our society still needs awareness campaigns to improve the situation,” Merkuri colleagues write to us.

Merkuri does just that: the organization conducts workshops with young people on domestic violence and empowers participants to organize workshops themselves. “We were very happy to see that the young people were very motivated to organize these actions, even though it was a voluntary work. They understood the context of violence very well and very often connected domestic violence with social problems and bullying at school. We are proud that we not only gave them information that violence is something bad, but we gave them real tools and ways to act in case of Domestic Violence. (..) We understood that young people may not be emotionally ready to call the police to report Domestic Violence, but they are starting to realize their own power, for example, because they can do public actions to inform people. They use different methods to bring the idea of nonviolence to life, from seminars to theater performances to making short videos.”

Economic empowerment remains challenging

The many years of filia funding have now come to an end. What’s next, we asked our partners: “Continuing to work against domestic violence is our most important challenge. The increased number of applications for help to our organization shows us that the services we offer meet the needs of the target group. For this reason, we will continue to operate the women’s shelter.” Merkuri relies on strategic local cooperation partners who can help finance its activities in the long term. “Our strategy is to find a long-term donor for the shelter (…). However, women’s economic empowerment remains a major challenge for our organization. To solve this problem, we are looking at the entrepreneurial capacity of our organization and will create a plan for social entrepreneurship in the Merkuri Association.”


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