At MRA, we take a human rights approach to our working methods and relationships with local partners. As we strengthen partner’s capacities to implement holistic women’s rights programs, we also pay close attention to ensure that we foster alternative models of relationships and strategies that don’t reproduce existing power dynamics. We seek to cultivate transformational practices in our movements for women’s rights, in our ways of operating and behaving in our work and in the methods we build with our partner NGOs.
We operationalize our values through the following specific practices:
Knowledge creation and production of concrete tools: Through participatory action research and the development of manuals, guides, posters, videos and other tools, we prioritize the development of practical resources for the promotion of women’s rights by local actors. In contrast, we don’t do “talk shops” or “photo opps” with no strategy or specific and concrete outcomes.
Wide Sharing and Distribution of Information and Resources: We place a high priority on creating a culture of sharing of tools, knowledge and experiences among a broad range of stakeholders working to promote women’s rights.
- We systematically distribute information, our practical resources, tools and other project materials via post, e-mail and social media to more than 4000 diverse stakeholder contacts, including local NGOs, public officials, lawyers, and the media.
- All of our resources, tools, reports and other documentation are publically accessible and available for downloading in on our website.
- The core local partner NGOs in our projects serve as regional coordinators, resource persons, technical assistance providers, and peer evaluators for additional local NGOs in their respective regions. A major component of our collaboration with these core partners involves them repeating all of our training workshops for, distributing our program resources and materials to, and implementing project activities jointly with, their own local networks of associations. This ensures a wide reach of our programs through a snowball effect to benefit a larger number of associations across the country.
- Appreciative Inquiry
- Most Significant Change
- Open Space Technology
Strengthening local systems: Likewise, our approach goes beyond merely building the capacity of NGOs, by working to strengthen the local systems within their communities of which they are one actor. We support local NGOs to build relationships and play an active role working with diverse local law enforcement, justice system and health care services actors to optimize the effectiveness of the whole local systems for responding to women’s rights issues.
Citizen-centered advocacy: Our strategic approach combines grassroots level mobilization to promote best practices, with bottom up national advocacy for national law reform. In this way our advocacy aims both to reform national laws and policies and transform power dynamics and decision-making processes.
Hands-on learning by doing: Our capacity building approach goes beyond formal trainings to create opportunities for practice and on-going collaboration. Situated within broader initiatives, workshops are just the starting point for real world use, application and implementation of new skills. We don’t hold one-off activities but rather working meetings with preparatory work, strategic objectives, tangible outputs and outcomes.
Engaging in deliberate learning: We build opportunities for on-going reflection and innovative impact assessments into all of our projects, in an on-going cycle of action and reflection. By deliberately learning from what works, we build on successes to design responsive future initiatives. See our Guide to Innovative Impact Assessments (in Arabic) in the Resources section.
In this way, through our work we aspire to:
- Promote “scaling across” instead of “scaling up,” to encourage adaptations to local contexts and the creation of new approaches;
- Create a widespread community of practice among grassroots level activists and organizations across the countries where we work;
- Support organic movements for women’s rights.