CEDAW for Change

CEDAW for Change Training Program

Costa RicaThis unique educational institute brings feminist perspectives and an activist orientation to the inextricably related issues of peace, human rights and life-sustaining development. Participants will gain an understanding of the global economic, ecological, legal, cultural and political contexts of this work, as well as of the groundbreaking work that is currently being done and has been done over decades by women and men around the world.  Participants will develop a practical understanding of the UN Human Rights system and how to apply a women’s human rights framework to a multiplicity of issues.  Participants will also develop practical facilitation skills to help them become human rights educators in their own regions and organizations.

Important milestones such as the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, The African Protocol on Women’s Rights, the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women, UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Jakarta Principles, among others,  will be featured as resources for social change. Effective ways of using them as tools for education and practice will be explored.

CEDAW for Change July 24-28, 2017

  • CEDAW for Change one week Institute: Summer 2017 – July 24-28, 2017. Arrive in Toronto by July 23rd

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CEDAW for Change

This six-day women’s human rights education institute is designed to cultivate a better understanding of the principles of non discrimination and substantive equality as enshrined in CEDAW (UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and each State’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfill women’s human rights.  The core principles and functions of CEDAW as tools for activism and feminist analysis will be explored, ensuring that all participants will be able to ground diverse women’s issues in a women’s human rights framework.

During the training we will learn through activities focused around identity and interconnectedness, the complex nature of discrimination, the impact of culture and religion on women’s rights, and activism against discrimination. We will examine case studies that have come before the CEDAW committee and will explore ways in which CEDAW can be used to support local and national level activism through the submission of Shadow Reports by NGOs and through the CEDAW Optional Protocol.

CEDAW for change Costa Rica: The 2016 CEDAW for Change Institute was be held at in Costa Rica in English. The program was held on the beautiful campus of the UN University for Peace, in Ciudad Colon, close to the capital of San Jose and not far from the international airport.Offered by the WHRI in collaboration with the Centre for Women’s Studies in Education of the University of Toronto and the Fundacion Justicia y Genero of Costa Rica. In partnership with the UN University of Peace, Costa Rica.Taught by WHRI Founder and Expert Member of UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice, Alda Facio, With Professor Emerita Martha Morgan and WHRI Executive Director Angela Lytle

Note:  The 2017 CEDAW for Change Institutes are offered as stand alone courses.

CEDAW Indígena

The CEDAW Indígena, also known as the CEDAW Week for Indigenous Women, is a training program that looks at CEDAW through the lens of Indigenous women’s experiences and activism, and in conjunction with other important UN documents, such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, among others.  This training first developed in collaboration with WHRI alumna, Wayunkerra (Karmen Ramirez Boscan), and is executed as a collaboration between the WHRI and partner organizations.

The first CEDAW Week for Indigenous Women was held September 23-30, 2012 in Colombia in collaboration with the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu, in the ancestral lands of the Wayuu, in La Guajira, Colombia. The Fuerza has since gone on, in collaboration with other regional and national women’s organizations in Colombia, to coordinate the crafting of a Shadow Report to CEDAW which was submitted at the Oct 2013 CEDAW session, and continues to build movement and offer training on CEDAW and Indigenous Women’s Human Rights.

Please contact us if you are interested in collaborating on offering a training focused on Indigenous women’s rights and organizing, or are seeking Indigenous women’s human rights defenders for consulting or training initiatives.

The CEDAW course was nothing short of enlightening for me. Through the course, I expanded my perceptions of women’s struggles and achievements across many cultures and I understood my own objectives and challenges as a woman, mother, and feminist as part of a much broader, collective project for women worldwide.

One important “take away” for me from the course is that women’s rights are human rights, not just in an abstract sense but also in a very concrete documented form. I learned how the articles of CEDAW can be used to defend and articulate women’s rights through research, writing, activism, teaching, feminist mothering, and international law. In my own case, the course has prompted me to ponder ways that I can integrate CEDAW principles into my PhD research about sexualization of girls occurring in competitive dance.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I was given through the CEDAW intensive to join a community of such intelligent, insightful, self-aware women who intuitively seemed to know how to share the space and the available time so that everyone could participate in listening, learning and contributing to discussion. I was delighted that the faculty was so open-minded about body-based approaches to learning and I found that our forays into various forms of dancing led by different members of the group added to my sense of personal and collective agency.

I am so glad to now be carrying a knowledge of CEDAW with me. It is a valuable tool which will inform and shape my efforts towards improving women’s lives and my vision of a more equitable world for all.

I will recommend the CEDAW intensive to my colleagues without reservation.

Lisa Sandlos, Participant of CEDAW Intensive – June 2015, Resident of Erin, Ontario (small town, 90 minutes north-west of Toronto)

Tuition - $1000 USD

The cost of tuition for CEDAW for change 2017 does NOT include accommodations, travel costs or incidentals. Please read the website carefully for information on costs. To hold a space, a $250 deposit will be required by April 15, 2017 (extensions granted). Full payment is required by May 17, 2017.

Application deadline

Applications are open Sept 1st – Jun 1st 2017, however we can accept rolling applications based on space. We require a completed application form in order to issue an acceptance letter or other supporting documents. This course is limited to THIRTY (30) participants so please apply early and submit your deposit to ensure that your application is considered.

CEDAW Application


The reduced Student/Unwaged tuition amount is $1000 USD. Unfortunately we are not able to offer any full tuition scholarships this year, however some partial funding may become available and will be awarded on a needs basis to those who have secured their deposit and travel arrangements.

More information on funding opportunities in the Tuition, Funding and Scholarships page.