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A.L.E.G. winner of WITH AND FOR GIRLS international award

Association for Liberty and Equality of Gender (A.L.E.G.) is one of just 20 organisations from around the world to receive a With and For Girls Award this year. As part of the award package, ALEG will receive US$15,000 of flexible funding and capacity building support.

The With and For Girls Awards is a global initiative to identify and support strong local organisations working with and for girls.

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Based in Sibiu, Romania –A.L.E.G. is recognised for its work providing support services for victims of violence among girls and young women in Romania, particularly those from disadvantaged families.

In 2015, an 18-year-old girl was gang-raped by seven boys in the eastern Romanian county of Vaslui. Despite the fact that three of the perpetrators admitted to the crime, a court released the boys from arrest. The case shocked public opinion, casting a shameful light on a culture of gender discrimination and violence in Romania. According to A.L.E.G., 24 per cent of Romanian women have suffered from partner violence and 14 per cent were exposed to violence by a non-partner. Women have little access to specialised services and evidence suggests that less than one per cent of offenders are punished.

ALEG also runs educational projects on sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as the Gender Equality Festival, a yearly gathering aimed at campaigning against gender stereotyping in Romania. The organisation has helped 1,431 people in the last two years, more than 60 per cent of whom are girls.A.L.E.G. works to tackle the core of the problem through lobbying and advocacy while offering direct support to the victims of violence and abuse. The organisation provides information, psychological counselling as well as social and legal support. In response to requests from survivors, A.L.E.G. set up an online counselling platform on its website where girls can discuss their concerns anonymously. Thanks to ALEG, survivors have reported gaining a better understanding of their rights and for the different forms, causes and effects of abuse.

Camelia Proca, the director and founder of the organization will be attending the award ceremony to take place on the 2nd of November in London, as well meetings with the rest of the winners and the donor organizations. “For A.L.E.G., the award is first of all a sign of recognition for our unique approach, emphasizes prevention and involves teenagers, particularly girls – in transforming power relations in family and society, towards sharing of power which means being stronger together, the opposite of overpowering. This is nothing but gender democracy and change begins with each girl that has respect for herself and demands respect from others. Everything we achieved in 12 years of work – from social service innovation to legislative changes like rape crisis centers – is the joint effort of a team that remained true to values of the organization despite the lack of state funding. This team always included girls who have grown up at the same time with the organization while building up new girl leadership.

 Muna Wehbe, CEO of Stars Foundation: “These 20 outstanding organisations demonstrate the power of grassroots movements and girl leadership to effect change, both in communities and in the world at large. The Collective is proud to be supporting the With and For Girls Award winners with flexible funding, which is still a rare asset for most grassroots organisations. We want to encourage more funders to trust and invest in girls to address the challenges that they face in their everyday lives. By doing so they are changing the future for the millions of girls worldwide who face discrimination simply for identifying as a girl.”

Further Information

  • The With and For Girls Collective is a group of seven organisations that share the belief that girls are vital agents of change.
  • In 2016 the Collective committed US$1million to a global awards process to identify and support strong local organisations working with and for girls.
  • The With and For Girls Collective is made up of: EMpower, Mama Cash, Nike Foundation, NoVo Foundation, Plan UK, The Global Fund for Children and Stars Foundation – the Collective’s convening partner.
  • The With and For Girls Awards do not focus on a particular theme, but instead are open to organisations with a range of development outcomes – from health and education to challenging negative attitudes towards girls in their schools, families and communities.
  • Recipient organisations with current annual organisational budgets between US$20,000-US$100,000 will receive US$15,000 of flexible funding. Winners will also receive capacity building support as part of the award package.
  • Recipient organisations with current annual organisational budgets between US$100,000-US$500,000 will receive US$50,000 of flexible funding. Winners will also receive capacity building support as part of the award package.
  • This year, 161 local organisations were nominated to receive the Award by 61 referral partners worldwide.
  • The 20 winning organisations are working with over 30,690 people across 17 countries.
  • With and For Girls Awards will be given out to organisations in five geographic regions – Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, The American Continent and the Caribbean, and The Middle East and North Africa.
  • Stars Foundation recognises and rewards outstanding local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working to improve the wellbeing and life chances of children.

Photography credited to Ioana Cirlig/Stars Foundation.

We Need Education to Build Healthy Relationships!

Press release

„In order to build healthy relationships, we need education closely connected to the problems in the lives of young people, and the involvement of schools is essential” – this is the conclusion of the Gender Equality Festival,  after 3 days dedicated to the prevention of gender-based violence by promoting equality between women and men.

On Friday, October 14th, the counsellor of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Eugen Crai, and the State Secretary representing Ministry of Labour’s National Agency for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men, Ms. Andra Croitoru participated at the Conference Equality and Prevention of Gender Violence in Education”, listening to the thoughts and recommendations of the 10 high schools which tested the educational module proposed by A.L.E.G. in the school year 2015/2016. Premiere concurs Dezvatam violentaIt was no ordinary class, i.e. we did not sit at our desks listening to scientific theories. We were involved in role plays, encouraged to express our own opinions and to find solutions to actual cases of partner violence. All youngsters should go through this module, since we never talk about these things at home”, states Andrei-Gabriel Stupu, a former pupil of the “Anghel Saligny” Technical High School in Bacău, presently a pupil of the “Jean Monnet” Theoretical High School in Bucharest. Andrei and his colleagues in the 10th grade also won the grand prize of the video production competition “Unlearning Violence”. Some of their conclusions were: in a healthy relationship, the two share power, and jealousy is not proof of love! To see the video, access: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9a_m8SgBP8. A special prize went to the pupils of the “Octavian Goga” National High School, Sibiu. During the project “GEAR against Intimate Partner Violence II”, funded through the European Union Daphne Programme, A.L.E.G. Trained 55 teachers and school counsellors to implement the module; subsequently, 274 pupils in Brăila, Bacău, Cugir, Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and Slobozia went through the 13 hours of interactive activities. The A.L.E.G. Trainers also held a module with a group of 12 youngsters from the Sibiu “Gulliver” State Complex (including their educators), because the young people in the child protection system are vulnerable to repeated violence.  The children’s and teacher’s manuals can be downloaded at www.gear-ipv.eu. 14639833_700776973412281_4898310991858518588_nThe representatives of the two Ministries states in Sibiu that such materials and good practice examples are very necessary in Romania, which, starting this year, has the obligation to integrate violence preventive education in all levels of education, in accordance with the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

In parallel to the conference, in the centre of Sibiu, volunteers holding huge letters challenged passers-by to find the “Ingredients of a Healthy Relationship”, during the activity “Choose your words!”. Over 80 people were engaged, and the most common answers were “trust” and “communication”.

On Saturday, October 15th, at the Habitus Book Store, over 80 young people, and some parents participated at the forum theatre performance, in an attempt to change the ending of a theatre play – Chalet Party – created by A.L.E.G. volunteers and inspired from real events in high school pupil’s lives. This year’s performance brought to light some of the peer pressures that nowadays young people have to deal with in their relationships, i.e. girls, having a boyfriend who supports them financially, and boys, not be seen as henpecked and break as many hearts as possible. These pressures cause trouble for the couple, and sometimes violence. In order to solve the conflict, the participants suggested changes through which the true friends of the main characters choose get involved before getting to a conflict. Coordinator: Doriana Tăut, vice-dean of the Faculty of Letters and Arts, the LBUS Department of Drama and Theatre Studies.

The film “Stockholm”, offered by Transilvania Film and the “Gender Treasure Hunt” which took place in the historical centre of the city also drew the attention of numerous youngsters eager to look beyond clichés and stereotypes regarding the role of women and men in society.

A.L.E.G. has been organizing this event for over 10 years, allowing teenagers to come up with and implement activities aimed at other youngsters. The project taking the form of a festival aims at offering teenagers access to education targeted at preventing couple violence and at promoting healthy relationships in which power is divided between the two.

The 11th edition of the Gender Equality Festival was co-founded by the Sibiu Local County and the Sibiu City Hall through the Community Agenda.

The conference Prevention of Gender Violence in Education” marks the end of the project „GEAR against Intimate Partner Violence II”, funded through the European Union Daphne III Programme.

The competition Unlearning Violence” is funded through the funds raised by runners and supporters during the 2016 Sibiu Half Marathon, a sports fundraising event of the Sibiu community organized by Fundația Comunitară Sibiu (Sibiu Community Foundation).