After five years of preparation, the 7 project partners finally met for the first time in person at a kickoff meeting in Giessen, home of our German partner Unvergesslich Weiblich. The two-day meeting (30 and 31 January) was the opportunity to get to know each other, build a shared understanding of the administrative and practical details of the project and find markers for the international teamwork that will be involved. Tasks were distributed, deadlines fixed, directions determined. The two foremost topics concerned the first implementations of the project.
From March 2020 to May 2021, more than 30 feminist self-defence teachers from Belgium, France, Germany and Poland will participate in a theoretical and practical training by the Lydia Zijdel Foundation. Lydia la Riviere Zijdel,an internationally acclaimed martial artist, self-defence trainer and disability activist, will share her experience and knowhow in five training modules, together with her colleagues Pyrrha Singerling and Sandra. At the coordination meeting, we discussed the recruitment, access conditions and logistics of the training that will take place in Charleroi, Belgium.
In addition, we started to work on the safety guide that will be published by the end of the year. To reach out to women with disabilities who cannot participate in the workshops that we will organise later on, the project partners put together their expertise in the prevention of violence against women with disabilities. We decided on contents to integrate in the guide, as well as a timetable that allows for the translation, adaptation and publication in four languages.
Looking back, it is impressive that we managed to do so much in only two days. It goes to show that in-person meetings are always more efficient (and pleasant!) than e-mail exchanges and video calls. We are very much looking forward to the many opportunities this project hands us to meet, network and do amazing things together.