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Lesson plans for ages 15-18 in Civic Education: Refugee Women and Girls

Teaching Tools, 23 October 2006

© UNHCR/F.Fontanini
UNHCR's gender leadership training at Browns Town IDP camp, near Monrovia.

LESSON 4: Empowerment Helping Refugee Women to Help Themselves


"Within this agency, there are two opposing attitudes. There are people who believe that the organization should not interfere with refugee customs. According to this school, we are not there to change people's culture or mind-set, and we should respect the traditions of refugees, whether this means the veil, forced marriage, failure to educate girls, genital mutilation, or lack of access to family planning. To this school, I respond that respect for human rights is also part of UNHCR's mission". Ann Howarth-Wiles, former UNHCR Senior Coordination for Women, quoted in Christiane Berthiaume, "Do we really care?", Refugees, no. 100, 1995, p. 12-13

Discuss the issues raised in this quotation. Background reading materials for the essay are listed in the Resources column of the Unit Plan