Autonomy Foundation (Fundacja Autonomia) is a non-governmental, non-partisan Polish organization founded in 2007. Legal status is not for profit foundation.
Autonomy supports people to become conscious and active citizens by empowerment work, awareness raising, civic and anti-discrimination education, critical thinking, media literacy and civic engagement.
Our main goal is to create society which is able to stop discrimination and violence based on gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnic origin, age, disability or any other factor. Intersectional perspective is crucial. We try to adopt our actions to the needs of people with disabilities.
Autonomia Foundation’s projects are nationwide and local; we have also experience in projects’ implementation in Belarus and Ukraine. We are planning to expand our actions to Western European countries.
We are member of national coalitions and advocacy groups: The Coalition for Anti-discrimination Education, Coalition for Equal Rights, CEDAW Coalition in Poland, Antidiscriminatory Network in Cracow and WAVE – Women Against Violence Europe.
Among our team as well as collaborators are qualified and dedicated people. Our expertise is recognized and our essential achievements are acknowledged and valued. We cooperate with civic initiatives, academic centers and public institutions. We gain patronages and matronages from the most important human rights bodies.
OUR GOALS ARE OBTAINED IN THE ESSENTIAL PATHS AS FOLLOWS:
I. Education on antidiscrimination and human rights: educational complex project “Nobody is Born with Prejudice” – model of antidiscrimination workshop, school for the trainers, which 100 trainers had completed, www.bezuprzedzen.org website (title: without prejudices), 3 educational movies with manuals, Cracow’s edition of human rights film festival WATCHDOCS, conferences, meetings.
II. Preventing and counteracting of violence and discrimination, mainly based on prejudices also in education through:
1. Promotion of WenDo – method of empowerment, assertiveness and self-defense for women and girls.
2. Enhancing skills of staff in organizations combating violence and discrimination: Academy of WenDo Training forming 29 trainers to conduct empowering workshops for women, girls and other persons at risk of gender based violence.
3. 8 publications, for example: “Strength, courage, solidarity – empowerment as antiviolence prevention tool/method. Manual for NGOs and public sector”.
4. Creating and implementing programmes for educational institutions, for example co-authorship and implementation of the University Standards of Violence and Discrimination Prevention in Cracow’s Pedagogical University.
5. Raising consciousness and civic activity as well as civil courage in standing against violence and discrimination. Here we can name: workshops violence preventing, social campaigns, i.e. coordination of Polish edition of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence, courses for anti-violence women leaders, voluntary service.
III. Empowerment and emancipating education of persons at risk of violence and multiple discrimination or exclusion. Workshop and program models were created: WenDo (self-defense and assertiveness for women and girls), “Silence Is Not Golden” – empowering programme for non-heterosexual female leaders, “Nothing About Us Without Us” – project aimed at women with disabilities, “Strength, courage, solidarity – empowerment as antiviolence prevention tool/method” – programme aimed at social care and education staff dealing with gender based violence from official institutions.
IV. Advocacy (nationwide, local and non-governmental) aiming at inclusion of anti-discriminative perspective, including incorporation of anti-discriminative education into school curricula and anti-violence state programmes.
AUTONOMY’S LAST PROJECTS:
1. Projects “Anti-discrimination Perspective in Programmes Against Violence” and “Stop the Violence – a comprehensive system of support and therapeutic effects for people experiencing violence based on gender“(February 2015 – 2017).
This project deals with violence related to gender and other factors (such as ethnicity and nationality, disability, sexual orientation, etc.), which is considered as a violation of human rights and form of discrimination. The project aims to create tools for empowerment of women who are endangered by intersectional discrimination. It also introduces recommendations for anti-violence public services structures and government programs, so that they would encompass problems of gender and diversity.
Pillars of the project:
I. Enhancing skills of staff in organizations combating violence and discrimination (Academy of WenDo Training – Empowerment Against Gender Based Violence; handbook for antidiscrimination and anti-violence work based on the concept of empowerment; Mobile Educational and Expert Point devoted to prevention of gender based violence for NGOs and institutions; WenDo workshops for girls and women). We plan to publish first Polish handbook/manual for people working in social services, education and non-governmental organizations devoted to preventing gender based violence. The manual will be based on the concept of empowerment of women and individuals socialized to the role of women, particularly vulnerable to intersectional discrimination.
II. Advocacy for introducing gender and diversity perspective into anti-violence public services and programs (e.g. into “Save and friendly school” – program introduced by Ministry of National Education, in which gender and anti-discrimination perspectives are absent). We plan to form a coalition, prepare tools and recommendations for changes. We will also coordinate actions of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Campaign in Poland.
We work with 3 partner organizations: “Venus de Milo Zone” Association form Kraków, Poland (association of women with disabilities), Positive Changes Foundation form Bielsko – Biała, Poland (anti-violence organization) and Crisis Intervention Society from Cracow.
The project was supported by the patronage of Ombudsman Office, and service ngo.pl.
2. “Anti-semitismis not an opinion” (2014-2015)
Jewish Association Czulent, together with Autonomia Foundation, implementing the project “Anti-semitism is not an opinion”, is undertaking innovatory actions, which in effect would raise awareness on prevention of anti-semitism, name it and get to know its forms in Poland.
3. “Nobody is born with prejudice” – educational project on anti-discrimination (4 editions started in 2008)
The ‘Nobody is Born with Prejudice’ program implies the existence of mutual roots and connections between different forms, reasons and manifestations of prejudices and discrimination. This perspective, which points to the problem of building social relations on the basis of a system of domination (power) and submission, allows to act against inequalities and discrimination more effectively.
Activities in the project:
Creation and expansion of www.bezuprzedzen.org website which is the biggest source of information and materials in the field of anti-discrimination education in Poland. One of its main advantages is its complexity: it contains information about discrimination on different grounds (of gender, age, (dis)ability, race, nationality and ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion).
Preparation and distribution of 3 educational movies: Blue Eyed, Killing Us Softly 3. Advertising’s Image Of Women , Tough Guise. Violence, media and the crisis of masculinity, dealing with the issues of gender-based violence, racism and sexism. Movies are equipped with Polish subtitles and supplemented with teaching materials (handbooks) in Polish, to be used with the films series of trainings, workshops and other forms of educational events preparing for conducting gender and anti-discrimination classes using the above mentioned films publication of Cultural Etiquette. A Guide for the Well-Intentioned by Amoja Three Rivers, a brochure complementing the Blue Eyed guide arranging on anti-discrimination and anti-prejudice action addressed to NGO activists that deal with groups subject to racial, ethnic, age, sexual, gender, (dis)ability discrimination, NGO trainers, educators, teachers, people interested in committing to anti-discrimination actions, NGO volunteers issuing leaflets and posters translation of texts and materials on anti-discrimination education. Movies were distributed to schools, universities and other educational centers.
4. WATCH DOCS Film Festival. Human Rights in Film’ of Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (2008-present, yearly event)
WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film is one of the oldest and largest human rights film festivals in the world, which annually garners 70 000 viewers in the whole country.
We organize the local edition in Krakow – Traveling Film Festival WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film. We pick up films from the repertoire of the last edition of the international WATCH DOCS festival held in Warsaw. We also prepare our own program of side-events – meetings with experts, panel discussions, NGO forums, photo exhibitions, concerts, etc. Entrance to all screenings and accompanying events is free of charge.
5. “16 days of activism against gender violence” – international campaign (2007-present, yearly event)
We participate in international campaign, which is organized each year by Women’s Global Leadership Institute between 25th of November – International Day Against Violence Against Women and 10th of December – International Human Rights Day.
The project overall aim is preventing violence against girls and young women (physical, psychological, sexual and harassment) by anti-violence training – WenDo method and by information and lobbing campaign.
• informational and educational campaign – meetings, film screenings, leaflets, posters. We are also trying to spread the idea in Poland by organizing trainings for volunteers from the whole country to educate and stimulate them in organizing events in their own local environment, which we coordinate.
• trainings for women who work with girls and young women (WenDo and education on violence based on gender, tools for engaging in to the campaign activities);
• WenDo workshops for girls and teenagers;
• conferences and seminars for decision-makers and experts
6. Anti-discrimination standard for universities (2014 – present)
The model of university anti-discrimination standard has been developed as part of the University Standards of Violence and Discrimination Prevention project. The aim of the project team was to present solutions of systemic nature which allow combating, diagnosing and reacting against displays of violence, unequal treatment and discrimination in academic environment.
The standard, as a document by which a university commits to taking actions aimed at combating violence and discrimination accompanied by actions fostering equal treatment, is addressed to the whole academic community.
Stop the violence – a comprehensive system of support and therapeutic effects for people experiencing gender based violence – detailed description
“Stop the violence – a comprehensive system of support and therapeutic effects for people experiencing gender based violence” is a project implemented by the Autonomy Foundation, whose overall aim is to reduce gender based violence. The result of the project will support entities implementing therapeutic programs for people affected by GBV.
The project is comprehensive, with the impact to different target groups, e.g..: staff of therapeutic, socio-therapeutic and educational institutions, as well as girls and young women exposed to violence based on gender. The impact of the project will be covered by their environment, community, decision-makers.
We plan to use various forms of interaction – course for trainers, antiviolence and therapeutic and educational workshops, publications and meetings of experts, consultative – advisory point on the prevention of violence based on gender, educational campaign – information, Internet media.
Organization of training for trainers course for assistance and educational staff – Wen-Do method- violence based on gender prevention.
This activity will be adapted to the specifics of Polish model WenDo training course program (method of preventing discrimination and violence for people who have experienced violence because of gender) with the development of training materials.
To participate in the training program were recruited women associated with therapeutic, sociotherapeutic, aid and education institutions, which will be trained and prepared to conduct empowerment and antiviolence classes for girls and young women at risk or experiencing violence due to gender.
They come from different groups – including groups most sensitive / vulnerable to discrimination and violence based on gender (women from ethnic and national minorities, migrants, women with disabilities, from small urban centers and rural areas, women who in connection with their role mother dropped out of the labor market) or working in such environments (eg. who know sign language). This will allow better integration of the perspective and needs of women at risk of marginalization and exclusion in their efforts to build up adequate strategies to combat violence based on gender.
The antiviolence informational – educational campaign addressed to the staff of institutions and ngo’s
In 2015, activities will be carried out within the framework of the international campaign “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence”. This is a campaign carried out at the moment approx. 160 countries worldwide by more than 2,000 organizations – NGOs, informal initiatives, institutions and international and national organizations. We plan the involvement of the participants of the course trainers in local activities in the field of countering violence based on gender.
Antiviolence and therapeutic workshops for girls and women Implementation led by Wen-Do trainers
We will organize workshops for different groups of girls and women. They will have a therapeutic in nature for people who met with violence based on gender.
Girls and women participating in the workshops will come from different regions of the country – “diploma” workshop will be realized in places of residence of participants of the training program. They work will be supervised by certified Polish WenDo trainers.
The organization of a series of meetings with antiviolence experts addressed to aid, care and educational institutions.
Meetings are acquiring / deepening of knowledge on violence based on gender, support for victims, correctional activities with the perpetrators, preventive action, the presentation of good practices, Polish and foreign film screenings, exchange of experience, support in the form of peer supervision.
Creating a publication “Gender based violence – a manual for assistance and educational institution’s staff ” (working title)
Development, publication and dissemination of publications addressed to the staff of institutions of assistance and education dedicated to the issues of GBV – its sources, ways of preventing, containing a number of measures aimed at victims and perpetrators, recommended literature and filmography – usable for therapeutic treatment and educational purpose, contacts for organizations and institutions with expertise in the area of violence prevention. The publication will be available free of charge both in paper form and in electronic form.
Consulting, Advisory and information Point in Krakow
Point will operate regularly, on certain days of the week, in the premises of the Applicant in the city center, we will be able to arrange a direct meeting to talk by phone or email. In addition to advice or assistance we will also hire educational films, reading materials and publications on the prevention of GBV. As part of the activities we will distribute regular antiviolence newsletter.
Monitoring and evaluation of the project
This will include two elements. The first will be the monitoring of project activities conducted on a regular basis throughout the duration of the project. Monitoring will serve, among others, rapid and coordinated between individuals realizing a project responding to the needs or difficulties related to the activities carried out.
The second element of the evaluation will be conducted by an outside expert.
Project No. 171 / NMF / XII / N “Stop the violence – a comprehensive system of support and interaction therapy for people experiencing gender based violence “, implemented under the Small Grants Fund for the Programme PL14 “Prevention of domestic violence and gender based violence’ co-financed by the Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2009-2014.
Projects 171 / NMF / XII / N and E3 / 0851 are consistent in terms of known issues, set objectives, planned activities and results. The activities in both projects overlap, others are complementary to each other.
In 2010 we have been working on:
– “Nobody is born with prejudice – 4th edition” – educational project on anti-discrimination-in cooperation with Konsola Women’s Association
– festival od humar rights movies “Watch Doc” which will take place in October
– ant-violenece campaigne “16 Days of Action Against Gender Based Violence” which will take place from 25th November to 10th December
In 2009 we have been running following projects:
– “Nobody is born with prejudice” – educational project on anti-discrimination-in cooperation with Konsola Women’s Association
– “Women’s path – prevention of violence against young women and girls” – WenDo workshops, educational materials, street actions, campaign
– We co-organised festival od humar rights movies “Watch Doc”
In 2008 we have been running few projects:
– “Silence is not a gold” – against discrimination and violence based on gender and sexual orientation
– “Prevention of violence against young women and girls” – WenDo workshops, conference, educational materials, street actions, campaign
– “16 days against gender based violence” – international campaign
– “Nobody is born with prejudice” – educational project on anti-discrimination-in cooperation with Konsola Women’s Association
In 2007 we have been very active working together with Crisis Intervention Society from Krakow in 2 projects:
– Wandering women – collecting histories of women who had to “wander” because of political reasons (wars, new borders etc.), empowerment and workshops for those women and their daughters
– Facing Hate Crimes – education on hate crimes for police, teachers and youth leaders
As members of groups and initiatives, we worked on several projects:
– Lesbian empowerment I and II – series of empowering workshops for lesbians
– Co-organization of Equality and Tolerance Days an Equality Marches in 2004-6 and co-ordination of legal action against banning of the Equality March in 2005. We have won a case against President of Poznan for banning the March (Pride).
– Co-organizing summer feminist camps for women (including lesbians) and their children. So far we organized 6 camps in years 2002-2008 (300 women as participants).
– Educational antidiscrimination program “Nobody is born with prejudice” including workshops, training materials, transferring educational movies (Blue-eyed, Tough Guise, Killing us Softly III) and big internet data base at www.bezuprzedzen.org
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