Culturally sensitive materials facilitate discussion on women's rights by Muslim women

Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) uses an informal educational model that allows Muslim women to easily identify universal human rights concepts in terms of local cultural traditions, myths, texts and local languages. This model facilitates the transmission of the human rights concepts inscribed in major international documents to grassroots populations in Muslim societies.

Since 1995, SIGI has been actively designing, developing, and testing this flexible, culturally relevant women's human rights education model that can be used anywhere women gather - both in public and private - as necessitated by the cultural environment. This model consists of three manuals:

  • In Our Own Words (Facilitator Training Guide)
  • Claiming Our Rights: A Manual for Women's Human Rights Education in Muslim Societies
  • Safe and Secure: Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Muslim Societies

These manuals are carefully designed to promote human rights awareness among women at the grassroots level, particularly those living in Muslim societies, and provide concrete guidelines aimed at promoting dialogue among women about themes relevant to their daily lives. The themes in the manuals reflect the concerns articulated during the Fourth World Conference on Women convened in Beijing in September 1995, such as women’s rights to education, political voice and bodily integrity. The goal of the education program is not to convey a 'right' answer in terms of women's human rights. Rather, the goal is to provide a forum for women, regardless of their intellectual sophistication or political and social awareness, to define, discuss and reinterpret their rights in the context of their respective personal and public spheres of life. 

In order to ensure the local relevance of the workshops, the manuals are piloted with local women, and facilitators provide feedback. SIGI rarely recruits facilitators, as community members typically recommended individuals for the role. SIGI invites those who appear to have the most credibility in the community to participate in facilitation training sessions. This prepares them to run their own local workshops in homes or in other places where women gather.

The program has resulted in greater solidarity among Muslim women as well as increased action on behalf of human rights on the part of the participants.


New Tactics in Human Rights does not advocate for or endorse specific tactics, policies or issues.