“Before I came to this training, I must say I knew very little about international women’s human rights, especially the CEDAW convention.  After the six weeks, I feel very confident and I now have the basic understanding of the conventions and am ready to move to the next level in my work.  (Developing) an in-depth understanding of CEDAW was very useful for me having worked with grassroots women for many years and not knowing that such mechanisms exist.  I also enjoyed the sessions focusing on self-care as an activist.”   Participant from Kenya

“At my current position in the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, an NGO in Sri Lanka, I utilize much of the knowledge gained through the course.  For example, in researching the criminal justice systems of the countries of South Asia, I have been enriched by my knowledge of international human rights instruments and standards gleaned through the course.  These instruments, such as the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, form an international standard by which I have analyzed the justice systems of these countries.  Also, I have been able to look at the human rights regime in Sri Lanka through a gendered lens gained through the instruction of Alda Facio. This gendered perspective will be useful in my later work in law school as well.”Bernadette Maheandiran

“I knew really very little about the UN and international women’s human rights before the institute, and now I understand: UN mechanisms, the CEDAW, the Optional Protocol, UN Special Rapporteurs, UN bodies and a lot more about international law generally. This is all very useful for my work. Learning about capitalism, globalization and neocolonialism with Dr. Angela Miles was very important because it helped me to put everything in context and to make links for resisting oppression against women.  The yoga sessions, working with the body and looking at the body as political, were very important for me.  Linking the body with human rights and with all the other issues was very powerful and changed my way of thinking.”   Participant from Honduras

“As for the info I acquired during the last session, the one that I put to use immediately was the Human Rights component. I have done a visual presentation for our member agencies on CEDAW and it applicability to Canadian NGOs. There were 19 individuals present from a variety of agencies that serve survivors of sexual violence. It was well received and what amazed me was the lack of knowledge around CEDAW and international processes in place.” Kiruthiha Kulendiren

“I think the CEDAW for Change one-week institute was a very rich experience. Having new people in the classroom was amazing. The learning was also incredible. We USED CEDAW and that is the best exercise one can do with law to make people realize it’s there for everyone to use it, and it’s not something alien to them. Also, (facilitator) Martha Morgan was great. (As a lawyer myself,) I’m amazed at how well she explains law to laypeople without losing discipline or accuracy.”  Participant from Mexico

“I am working on the linkages between climate change, adaptation and vulnerability and gender. I’ve got very valuable inputs regarding human rights and women’s rights… Because the convention on climate change is based under the UN framework, the lectures around UN and Women and possibly entry points were very useful.” Livia Bizikova

“One of my first projects as an intern at the Mongolian Gender Equality Centre was to develop and produce a gender equality informational pamphlet and poster that would be directed at university students in Ulaanbaatar. The purpose of the pamphlet and poster was to engage  students in discussion and dialogue about concepts such as gender, sex, gender stereotypes, gender discrimination and gender equality and to complement a gender studies curriculum that was in development. The feminist and human rights theory I learned during the institute served as an incredibly helpful foundation for this project and the group discussions we had about effective and creative strategies and methods for communicating and sharing these ideas and encouraging dialogue greatly influenced my approach to the project. Also, in 2008, Mongolia reported to the CEDAW committee and myself and several colleagues from MGEC had the opportunity to contribute a short, supplementary shadow report on human trafficking in Mongolia to IWRAW Asia Pacific. Having just recently completed the institute, I was so excited to be able to share some of what I’d learned with MGEC and to use CEDAW as a tool for change in collaboration with other women’s organizations in Mongolia.”  Bridgitt Sloan