Are IVS activities effective to promote gender rights, sexual and personal bodily autonomy? What is the IVS impact on gender issues?
Considering the amount of approaches available on these themes, it is legitimate to reflect about the contribution that workcamps and intercultural projects can offer to make steps forward on this topic. Among the instruments that can be used to promote change, non-formal education (NFE) has a strong potential to trigger awareness processes, which can lead to concrete actions and transformation in society. Since NFE is the most used approach by IVS organisations, we can definitely say that the impact of their actions is powerful. Discussions about gender require involvement, critical thinking, creativity and an environment where everyone feels safe to express an opinion freely. And all these criteria are ensured by the NFE approach promoted by IVS organisations.
In order to strengthen this dimension and increase awareness on gender issues, the networks of Alliance and SCI have recently created 2 working groups, specifically focused on Gender and Sexuality. Alliance approved in 2016 “GEWG” (Gender Equality Working Group), while SCI launched one year earlier “Gender Blender”. Both groups aim at promoting gender equality, mostly among young people, by providing educational opportunities, awareness rising strategies and possibilities to join campaigns, activities and seminars.
The main added value of the activities carried out by the 2 groups is to bring people together to work on gender related issues, thus reinforcing the impact of their activities. Acting alone, single individuals can be victim of racism, discrimination, inequality, hate speech, but joining like-minded activists, their messages and actions become stronger and have the power to involve other people, starting a real multiplying effect. Within the IVS framework, participants become aware that their commitment do have an impact and might produce real change.