I am Raghda Da’boub, I was born on May 29, 1987, in Palestine. I am holding a Master’s Degree from Birzeit University in Gender and Development Studies. I have been working in the non– government development sector in Palestine for eleven years, where my main expertise revolved around youth and women programming. Currently, I am assuming the position of Gender Justice Program Officer at Oxfam, where I am leading on a women, peace and security project working with partner organizations to contribute to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 National Action Plan that includes women’s participation, protection and accountability. Likewise, I am leading on a project that addresses the issue of gender based violence in digital spaces.
Being part of KIT program “Professional development Program of Gender Trainers”, has been an inspiring experience! This training program is the most subversive knowledge that I have been encountered to in my academic and work experience. The training methodology that covered conceptual framework, feminist practices and skills has granted me the opportunity to be critically engaged in dialogue tackling theories and practice of gender, and constantly challenging my thinking in relation to gender work. After working for eleven years in the development sector, I am at a stage in my career where I am looking for new perspectives and experiences. As being so involved in a field of work often results in sidelining the political processes of challenging gender power relations, and reducing women’s rights work to buzz words and overlooking the transformative aspect of it. The training granted me with the space to detach myself and to critically look and reflect. What I really appreciated is the methodology adopted by the trainers in challenging our tacit knowledge, by taking us to studying feminisms both historically and theoretically to make sense of our individual experiences and how it is related to wider systematic oppression.
Working in a conflict affected area imposes many challenges to the field of gender equality, where women and girl’s rights in are lagging behind, as a consequence of the double burden of Israeli occupation compounded with tribal and patriarchal structures that consider women and girls as subordinate. Existing discrimination and unequal power relations reinforce traditional gender roles and relations rendering specific social groups including women and girls to be more vulnerable to crisis, while their rights continue to remain largely denied in conflict. Operating in a complex environment, requires me to critically reflect to the works that I am doing and whether it is transformative and result in real change! As such, this training made me realize that I have to be more accountable to my ways of working in gender, where now I am more aware of the social, political, economic and cultural structures that surround the work of gender and I will endeavor to keep challenging to create even if limited spaces for real change.
It has been almost a year since we started this course back in October 2019 in Amsterdam. Now that our core and final week of the training is over, and in looking back on this experience I believe that I was fortunate to be part of it. The KIT team have done massive work to adapt our last module to virtual training in light of the spread of COVID 19, the different approaches they utilized in terms of recording essential training sessions, small groups and plenary discussions have been effective in bringing us all together to continue our dialogue and learning.
In the past years, I have been intensively investing in my knowledge and skills at a national level. This training has offered me new international perspectives, knowledge and skills. The diversity of the trainees has opened up the space for cultural exchange where I come to believe that even though we operate in different context the challenges we face are one. I feel that I am part of a bigger network by encountering influential professionals from around the globe thriving to advance the work of gender.
I would like to thank Rabbani Foundation first for their scholarship program that creates rewarding opportunities for exchange, educational and professional growth. Second, for supporting me to be part of the KIT training program that enriched my knowledge and experience in the field of gender!