This annual training course teaches participants to develop their knowledge and understanding of their own culture and identity, sustainable development, and project planning and implementation skills. One of the outputs of the course is to participate in a social action project, working together to improve their community. A key part of the programme is to share and build relationships with an international partner, widening their network of influence and learning about community in both a local and global context.
Active Citizens acts as a catalyst to bring the elements of our training together, offering women the opportunity to broaden their horizons and build different perspectives.
We have trained over 100 women across Wales in this project and connected with community organisations in countries including Jordan, Egypt, India, Burma, Sudan and Poland. You can see more about their internatinonal activites in the articles below.
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Seven Active Citizens participants visited the Visegrád Countries of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to attend conferences. There was one visit to each of the four countries:
Slovakia and Hungary between 13-19 October 2013
The Czech Republic and Poland between 20-25 October 2013.
As most of you know - for the last three years, WMAD has been involved in the British Council's Active Citizens project. As one of only five National Partners, we have been able to offer our participants many amazing chances to become involved in International Study Visits, International Conferences and most recently a trip to Sudan. Our WMAD Active Citizen, Aimee Hopkins, tells her story of visiting Sudan recently.
"I was chosen along with Helen Cahill to participate in the Active Citizens trip to Sudan in April 2013. We had both recently completed the Active Citizens course with Women Making a Difference in Cardiff. The basic purpose of the trip was to meet Active Citizens in Sudan who had also completed the training and to share experiences and learn from and about each other.
Find out more information about the course here and follow Anna and the rest of the Active Citizens each week so see how this international programme of training develops:
"I held my breath as I opened the door at my first meeting of Active Citizens. I wasn't sure what to expect, what to wear or whether I should just turn around and drive back home instead. But I needn't have worried.
Once inside the airy room overlooking Cardiff Bay I knew my horizons were about to be expanded. I found a warm welcome and an exhilarating atmosphere created simply by such a diverse group of wonderful women gathered together with the aim of improving the lot of girls and women both at home and abroad."
Some women were missing this week, as they were travelling to Poland and Hungary, and a third is now in the Czech Republic, all on exciting study visits sponsored by the British Council.
But we were reminded that the South Wales women taking part in this training come from over 20 different countries, so we can be 'globally connected' and have a huge variety of cultural encounters, without even leaving the room!"
Having ubuntu transforms the individual into a generous and supportive member of their wider community where their goals, lives and challenges are intertwined. The group, not the individual, is paramount, so that everyone celebrates and shares in the success of a member of the group, but equally, the whole group is diminished if any member suffers a setback or feels isolated.
It is a way of seeing the world in which people feel secure and know they belong, which enables them to play their part in wider society to benefit others."