The third WID/GAD gender training with World of Women Social Union was held on Saturday, May 12th in Khachmaz.  Peace Corps Volunteer Kelsey McShane’s organization, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), hosted the main event.

This training was smaller and more personal with a total of 10 participants between the ages of 17 and 31, as well as six non-WID/GAD committee PCVs and three Peace Corps staff members.  The training was conducted by Gunay Gasimova and Gulshan Yunisova, with the assistance of Aysel Aliyeva.

The IREX training participants were individuals who already had a base of knowledge regarding gender issues and the state of gender in Azerbaijan.  Gunay and Gulshan addressed this and encouraged the attendees to use the information presented to conduct similar trainings in their community.

In addition to the presentation at IREX, World of Women also conducted a training at Lira Young Talent Society, PCV Lannea Russell’s organization.  Twenty women aged 16-43 were in attendance, most of whom had never discussed the term gender.  One of the main topics covered was domestic violence; something that is usually concealed within families.  After the training, Lannea received feedback from the participants.  One woman said that all of her thoughts were changed because of the presentation.  Another stated that it was important to talk about domestic violence since no one ever discusses it in Azerbaijani society.  The women were informed about resources available and were given contact information for the World of Women trainers in order to continue communication.  In addition, the PowerPoint presentation and videos used for the gender trainings are now available on computers in the centers, so the participants can access and use this information in the future.

Special thanks to the Khachmaz Peace Corps Volunteers, Rashad Askerbeyli – Coordinator for the IREX center, and Fargani Aliyev – Director of the Education, Leadership, and Development Center.

Training at IREX

World of Women and Peace Corps



The second WID/GAD gender training with World of Women Social Union was, yet again, a huge success!  This particular training was completed on Saturday, April 14th in the city of Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second largest city.  Peace Corps Volunteer Brad Kessler’s organization, Bridge to the Future (BF), hosted the event. The presentation was held in association with BF’s own youth leadership academy training series, a project funded by the National Democratic Institute.

A total of 43 students between the ages of 17 and 25 were in attendance as well as 4 non-WID/GAD committee PCVs and a number of Azerbaijani staff from BF.  The training was conducted by Gunay Gasimova and Gulshan Yunisova, with the assistance of Gunay’s older sister, Vafa.

From the moment the workshop began, the three women once again captured the attention of their audience. The event was three hours long and topics discussed were similar to those from the Yevlakh training including: gender equality, the differences between gender and sex, gender and family, gender and society, gender stereotypes, and gender in Azerbaijan.  However, the trainers worked hard to adjust the presentation in order to be appropriate and beneficial for the older and more experienced audience.

The training was so successful that the three women were invited to give a second training the following morning to another group of university students!

Special thanks go out to Brad Kessler, Orxan Abbassov, and their organization, Bridge to Future, for hosting the event and including us in the wonderful work they are already doing.  It is an honor to be related to such a great program and organization.  Also, thank you to the animated students of Ganja for attending and engaging in the training with such energy and passion!

Training of Trainers

The WID/GAD Committee held a Training of Trainers (ToT) with World of Women Public Union on Saturday, January 28th at the Peace Corps office.  In addition to the dedicated members of World of Women and a local journalist, WID/GAD was also joined by our new staff representative, Training Manager Khayal, as well as Youth Development Program Manager Sevinj and TEFL Program Manager Shahla.  Our latest project includes a series of six gender trainings to be held this spring in Yevlakh, Ganja, Bilasuvar, Ismayilli, Khachmaz, and Balaken.  The entire project will be funded by our Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP) grant and the generous in-kind contributions from World of Women and PCV resources at site.  

At the ToT, we discussed presentation technique, cultural sensitivity, legitimate sources of information, interactive activities, and logistics.  It was a long but incredibly productive and enlightening day, and we all learned a lot from one another.  The result of WID/GAD and World of Women’s hard work is a culturally sensitive training that will address the current state of gender in Azerbaijan, foster ideas of gender equality, prepare the younger generation for a life free of female marginalization, and stimulate the creation of a more open-minded society.  Additionally, this project will create the opportunity for networking and communication between the Baku-based World of Women Public Union and smaller community-based organizations throughout the regions of Azerbaijan.
We are excited for trainings to begin and anticipate that this project is the first of many great things to come!