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The Gender Reconciliation program fosters new dimensions of transformational healing and reconciliation between women and men. No society on earth is free of gender imbalance between the masculine and feminine. Both women and men are afflicted by gender injustice, and each needs the other for a true and complete healing.
Glimpses of Satyana Institute's Professional training programs
on Gender Reconciliation in Cape Town and Soweto, South Africa
|Developed over the past 18 years by Satyana Institute and its precursors, more than 60 intensive training workshops have been conducted on five continents—bringing women and men together to jointly confront gender injustice. These gatherings have been held in the United States, Canada, South Africa, India, Croatia, and Australia. Results from these gatherings are inspiring and are documented in the recent book Divine Duality: The Power of Reconciliation Between Women and Men (Hohm Press, 2007). Satyana’s Gender Reconciliation program builds upon the important advances of the women's and men's movements, yet goes beyond them both by developing skillful new ways for women and men to work together in jointly confronting gender injustice and fostering deep healing and reconciliation between the sexes. The premises of this program are that the gender crisis is a collective spiritual crisis, and that transforming relations between feminine and masculine dimensions of human society is fundamental to creating lasting, positive social change.
Satyana's Gender Reconciliation work has expanded to South Africa, where the new Constitution guarantees gender justice as a fundamental human right. In collaboration with Nozizwe Madlala Routledge, former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and Phaphama Initiatives based in Johannesburg, we are exploring avenues to strengthen the implementation of gender equity by introducing Satyana’s Gender Reconciliation work in South African society. At the invitation of Ms. Madlala-Routledge, Satyana Institute offered a six-day intensive training, November 9-14, 2006, to introduce its Power of Reconciliation program to a group that included senior government officials and Members of Parliament. Additional pilot programs have been conducted across the country for diverse audiences including social activists, the South African Council of Churches, Quaker peace activists, youth in townships, prison inmates, community organizers, and university students.
A detailed assessment of the scope and efficacy of Satyana’s Gender Reconciliation workshops in South Africa was conducted by Phaphama Initiatives, a South African NGO with a 20-year history of non-violent activism across the country. Their final report was released in June, 2009, and concludes:
"It is clear from the success of these workshops that there is a great need to roll-out Gender Reconciliation work on a much broader scale in South Africa. Not only does this work have the potential to heal relationships between men and women; it is a powerful tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS; in fact, the only tool that addresses the root causes of HIV/AIDS rather than just the symptoms."
In response, Satyana Institute is now conducting two simultaneous professional trainings for South African facilitators on Gender Reconciliation; one in Cape Town and one in Soweto outside Johannesburg. A total of 35 professionals are enrolled in these initial training programs, which began in March, 2010 and will be completed in 2011. The trainees span a broad spectrum of backgrounds ranging from mental health professionals and community organizers to religious and government leaders. Bios and photos of each trainee are currently being gathered, and will soon be posted on this site.
Gender Reconciliation is now poised to “go to scale” in South Africa. Satyana Institute was recently invited to introduce this training in the Congo (DRC). We are responding by launching a Gender Reconciliation Initiative in Africa in collaboration with Phaphama Initiatives.
For a short summary of how gender reconciliation actually works in practice—with vivid examples of how the healing process unfolded in workshops done in South Africa and India--see the recent article published in Kosmos journal.
Gender Reconciliation Initiative
I have been looking for a long time
-- Nozizwe Madlala Routledge,
Satyana Institute’s Gender Reconciliation Initiative
““We have not even begun to deal with the gender issue in South Africa!” exclaims Nomfundo Walaza, Director of the Desmond Tutu Peace Center in Cape Town. “We’ve made significant strides forward in terms of racial integration since Apartheid ended,” she continues, “especially through the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, despite its inevitable flaws. But we have barely scratched the surface on the massive issues between women and men in this country.” Nomfundo’s impassioned words are well taken. Stricken by the highest incidence of reported rape and sexual violence in the world, coupled with the worst AIDS crisis on the planet, South Africa is in dire need of transforming gender relations between its women and men.
The Satyana Institute is launching a new form of social transformation, called gender reconciliation, in several key sectors within South African society. The project is being implemented in collaboration with Nozizwe Madlala Routledge, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and Phaphama Initiatives of Johannesburg, a national network of non violent activists and trainers.
Numerous successful pilot programs in gender reconciliation were conducted in South Africa by the Satyana Institute between 2003 and 2010 for diverse groups including Members of Parliament, the Quaker Peace Center, leaders in the South African Council of Churches, prison inmates in Pollsmoor Prison and Leeuwkop Prison, high school students in Etwata Township, interfaith religious leaders in Cape Town, and senior students at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal in Durban. Financial support for these pilot programs was provided in part by the Kalliopeia Foundation.
As Reverend Keith Vermeulen, Director of the Parliamentary Office of the South African Council of Churches, described the results of these pilot programs: “This work is absolutely relevant for South Africa. It is the only practical tool I have experienced that has a realistic potential to heal and transform gender relations. I commend Gender Reconciliation work in the context of South Africa’s journey to realizing the promise of our Constitution.”
Based on the enthusiastic response from these programs, a steering committee of prominent South African leaders has invited Satyana Institute to launch the three-year Gender Reconciliation Initiative. Phaphama Initiatives has secured funding in the Netherlands for its role in this initiative, and the Satyana Institute is currently seeking funding to support its training and leadership role in the initiative.
The Gender Reconciliation Initiative is being implemented in three phases between 2009 and 2011. In Phase I (2009), introductory gender reconciliation programs were conducted in targeted sectors, as described above. In Phase II (2010 - 2011), year-long intensive training programs in gender reconciliation are being conducted in Cape Town and in Soweto (near Johannesburg) for qualified professional facilitators in South Africa. In Phase III (2011 and beyond), this cadre of newly trained facilitators will begin to implement Gender Reconciliation programs broadly within their own constituencies and networks across the country.
Testimonials from South African leaders about Satyana Institute’s pilot programs in Gender Reconciliation are summarized below:
“This workshop had many aspects that would benefit this country greatly. I think it can be used by individuals to reconcile with many different aspects of their lives - racism, sexism and the unfinished business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”
“This work is profound. To embark upon the work of Gender Reconciliation is to rattle the very foundations of every major cultural institution in our society, because
--Jeremy Routledge, Phaphama Initiatives, Alternatives to Violence, Former Director of Quaker Peace Center, Cape Town
The love that unfolded was incredible!!
This is the first time I have
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