The foundation has developed various projects and has a broad area of activity. VOAW’s methodology differs per each project. Nevertheless, there are certain core elements of all projects that are characteristic of VOAW’s methodology.
Working with the concept popular education
From 2015 to 2018 VOAW partnered with Movisie to train and educate a group of community workers from VOAW in the popular education methodology and in 5 techniques that encourage communities to improve the health situation of their respective community. Community workers can be considered as key actors in a community. They are able to start a dialogue because they are able to quickly get to the root of an issue. There is an equal relationship between the key worker and the community and the lived experiences of the communities are put at the centre of the meeting and topics are picked together. Popular education is furthermore characterised by activities that require active participation such as the creation of art or music. These two aspects of culture and community are an integral aspect of VOAW’s methodology and is implemented in almost all of VOAW’s projects.
Our dialogue meetings are characterised by an informal setting. Through the popular education method, trainers seek to discuss topics in a series of meetings. With each subsequent meetings, the conversations become more open and more profound.
After the conclusion of each project a trajectory of personalised after care is applied. VOAW and its trainers and volunteers actively stay in touch with the project participants. VOAW has discerned that this period of after care is crucial because many participants still require guidance and coaching after the ending of a project. Through this process of after care, VOAW is able to further assist the participants and provide sustainable results.
Though VOAW aims to achieve the emancipation of women and girls, VOAW maintains an inclusive approach when recruiting participants for projects. In this regard, VOAW has learnt from its past and has changed its methodology. In the past, VOAW was faced with women who would participate in their projects for several years but would not make any visible change. VOAW discovered that this was partially due to the homogeneity of the demographic of the project participants and partially due to the environment of these women not changing along with them and resisting the process of change of these women. This has influenced VOAW’s approach. It is important that the environment and surroundings of women and girls are open to the emancipation of women and the subsequent required changes that will be necessary to achieve that emancipation. VOAW therefore believes that men, boys and entirely families need to be involved in this process. That’s why VOAW believes in the importance of also educating men and boys and in the importance of having men and boys participate in dialogue meetings.
Cultural sensitive approach
VOAW has a large network of volunteer and trainers from closed and marginalised communities. Our organisation uses the lived experiences and knowledge of specific customs and traditions in our approach.
Lived experience as expertise
Our trainers and volunteers have faced the same problems, issues and barriers as our target group. Consequently, they are able to use their experience to connect to our project participants and to use this as a basis to assist them.
VOAW applies an intersectional approach. We examine which forms of oppression, exclusion and marginalisation can take place as a result of certain power structures and include several aspects in our examination. An example are refugee women that are illiterate. This group can face social exclusion, discrimination, marginalisation and oppression on the basis of their gender, on the basis of their illiteracy and on their basis of their refugee status. The combination of these factors, makes women that fall within all these categories more vulnerable and requires a specific approach. VOAW looks at all these aspects when developing projects.
Bottom-Up/Grassroots and participative approach
VOAW´s approach is characterised by the lived experience of our trainers and volunteers and their subsequent expertise in combination with a bottom-up and participative approach. Because of the bottom-up and participative approach we engage our target group rather than just speaking about them. It is of importance that our target group is actively involved in the emancipation process in order to not overlook crucial aspects. VOAW seeks to give a voice to its target group.
Partnership and collaboration with other institutions and organisations
An important aspect of the approach of VOAW is partnership and collaboration. VOAW partners with other organisations and institutions that are active in the area of the emancipation of women from marginalised communities.
Learning route for professionals
VOAW offers coaching and advice about marginalised and closed communities to institutions and organisations.
In the yearly work programme, the goals and method are elaborated by using the SMART concept to define activities, the reach of our target audience and the desired goals.