|03KUWAIT4961||2003-10-28 12:52:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Kuwait|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS KUWAIT 004961
1. Summary: Post requests a US speaker/specialist to provide
training recommendations for a Kuwaiti NGO focusing on
women's political activism for the period December 6-10,
2003, or for anytime in January if the December timeframe is
not possible. The speaker/specialist recruited should be
experienced in the planning and execution of successful
political action strategies relating to women's issues, and
be capable of assessing what training, resource and
organizational requirements a nascent women's NGO would
require to achieve a specific political goal.
Recommendations from this program will serve as a basis for
a more in-depth program in Kuwait for this NGO, perhaps in
the context of MEPI. End Summary.
2. (SBU) Under the leadership of Rola Dashti, a Kuwaiti
women's political rights advocate who was a participant in
ECA's Vital Voices program and other USG exchanges, a group
of women representing a cross section of Kuwaiti society are
planning to challenge the country's "social allowance law,"
which mandates that the monthly governmental allowance for
each child in a family be accorded to the father, even if he
does not have custody of the children. According to Dr.
Dashti, the inequity of the law (and the fact that the
children for whose welfare it is intended often do not have
the benefit of the stipend) is a source of resentment among
Kuwaiti women that cuts across lines of class, education,
and religious orientation. Dr.Dashti and her colleagues
believe that convincing Kuwaiti authorities to change the
law (so that whoever has custody of the children receives
the funds) would represent an important turning point in
raising political consciousness among women in Kuwait, and
has asked PAS assistance in bringing American experts to
teach her nascent organization how to mount an effective
advocacy campaign in this regard.
3. Before post commits funds for what will likely be a
series of complicated and expensive advocacy skills training
seminars, we think that an initial assessment of the needs
of this group by an expert in women's advocacy and political
action campaigns would make sense. The recommendations by
this expert would then serve as a basis for future action,
perhaps in the context of MEPI. The program itself would
involve a series of meetings and strategy sessions with the
NGO and with selected Kuwaitis who support the group's
goals. The specialist would also be consulted by PAO and
other mission officers.
4. Program dates: December 6-10, 2003. Recommend arrival
in country December 4; departure December 11 or 12.
Alternatively, anytime in January would be acceptable. The
weekend in Kuwait is Thursday-Friday--no programming is
possible on these two days.
5. Funding: I-Bucks.
6. Language preferred: English. (Note: NGO has told us
that they want a speaker/specialist from a US-based NGO for
this project, and have specifically ruled out inviting
someone from a regional Arab-world organization.)
7. SBU: Type of Specialist requested: Experienced women's
rights activist/political action campaign expert who can
assess the needs of a nascent women's NGO in Kuwait that
seeks to modify an administrative law that discriminates
against women and children. Specialist would be expected to
issue a report/analysis outlining recommended next steps in
terms of advocacy training (e.g., use of media in political
action campaigns, organization building, defining an agenda,
answering criticism, etc) that the NGO might need to
successfully wage its campaign. Post suggests IIP contact
the following individuals for possible leads on such a
specialist: State Department NEA/PI director Alina
Romanowski (tel: 202-647-1519; email:
RomanowskiAL@state.gov; May Taylor Doherty, NDI, (202-728-
5699, email MTDoherty@NDI.org)
8. Justification: Support for political empowerment of
women and advocacy for children's welfare are key mission
and MEPI goals. Post believes that this program could lead
to a broader action plan on these key issues.
9. Program Officer is PAO John Moran, (tel: (965) 539-0373,
e-mail MoranJG@state.gov) Thanks and regards.