By Maysoon Melek...et al. .
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Additional resources for Culture matters : working with communities and faith-based organizations: case studies from country programmes.
The advocacy process that led to these activities included the following: • A conference for elders, in which 295 people participated out of 300 invitees. During the conference, programme staff were able to identify allies and adversaries of the programme. They took particular note of one suggestion made by some women elders: that female genital cutting was a women’s issue and that women were best equipped to deal with it; • A two-day workshop was organized for women only. It was decided that the project should target youth primarily, including candidates for female genital cutting and adolescent boys, since this is the group that will have to decide eventually whether to marry uncircumcised girls; 32 Culture Matters • The next step involved one-day workshops at the subcounty level for about 100 people each.
A teaching guide on the subject was prepared, and 7,000 copies were printed for nationwide distribution. Booklets entitled “A Season to Blossom”, “Dealing with Children”, “Dealing with Adolescents”, and “Health of Infant Girls and Women” were published and used in literacy classes, which included more than 55,000 females. In 2002, there were also classes for more than 16,000 males, with a booklet specially prepared for male learners. Improving the Socio-economic Conditions of Women The other initiative introduced to enhance the status of women was to combine skills-development training with literacy and reproductive health education in three urban areas and six villages in Kurdestan Province.
The results of such activities strengthened the reputation of UNFPA as an organization with visible concern for the welfare of all Iranians. • Establish mutual trust. After the Islamic revolution, both the Government and most Iranians were, for a time, suspicious of foreigners, including foreign organi- zations. At first, no distinction was made between international organizations such as United Nations agencies and those organizations with direct links and affiliations to other Governments. Thus, trust was lacking, which made cooperation with the Iranian Government and its various organizations difficult.