Meet Dina Al Maghraby - Dedicated Trainer and Women's Rights Activist

Thursday, March 24, 2016 - 17:54

 - By Dana Del Vecchio, training & change lab intern at GP in Jordan

A training course in Human right's approach (HRBA) at ActionAid in Jordan gave Dina Al Maghraby, a young 31-year-old activist, a new gender perspective and dream. In her future Dina wants to fight for more gender equality and put women issues on the agenda in Egypt.

Dina has recently become an Associate Trainer at ActionAid in Jordan, teaching women how to be active change makers in their local communities through digital filmmaking. This year, she participated in three trainings, including Women’s Rights, Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA), Opinion Maker and Training of Trainers (ToT). During the HRBA training, she also learned how to analyse:“People are not just born with a certain identity, you also need to look at their job, gender and position” - said Dina.

Before the training, Dina felt she was more judgemental and affected by the stereotypes in her society. For Dina, growing up in Saudi Arabia meant that there was one limited way to be a girl. In addition, while in Saudi Arabia, she lived under many restrictions separated from boys and with a conservative lifestyle. For example, she was advised to only socialize with girls, and wear loose, black clothing that does not attract attention. This lifestyle changed after a few years when she moved back to Egypt and faced different religious, social and more moderate people. Interacting mostly with Muslims, she believed that all Egyptians were Muslim, unaware of the diversity in Egypt. “I was judgmental and evaluated people and was one of the girls who blamed other girls for being harassed” - she admitted.

After Dina graduated from the University of Cairo, she started working at New Women’s Foundation (NWF) as a Web Editor. “It was a turning point in my life,” she said. Employees at NWF often discuss topics that are taboo in her conservative community, topics she never imagined talking about in public. “I engaged in discussions and exchanged opinions with my colleagues” - said Dina.

“In the beginning, I heard shocking, new ideas, such as abortion being a woman’s full right and decision, as opposed to my previous belief of this being a mutual decision between the husband and wife” - she recalled. Instead of judging other women, Dina is now a critical thinker who engaged her parents in similar discussions to challenge their perspectives. Ultimately, her goal is now to understand and empower women from different backgrounds. Dina wanted to continue her personal and professional development and joined Global Platforms trainings in Jordan and Egypt.

During the Opinion Maker training, Dina’s first training at Global Platform Jordan, she practiced making promotional videos and documentaries about women’s rights. Last month, Dina participated in a two week Training of Trainers (ToT) course. “In ToT, participants learn how to create a training, prepare for a training, define a trainings’ goals and also engage and connect with the participants,” said Dina. Dina then highlighted that she learned the most from practicing the process of delivering trainings. In particular, Dina is eager to implement the ASK framework, which “outlines the Attitudes, Skills and Knowledge gained from a training” - she said.

Following ToT, Dina started using her training skills as an Associate Trainer at Global Platform Jordan. In the future, Dina dreams of opening a union for young women in rural Egyptian communities that should concentrate more on women’s issues. Through discussions, movies and readings on women’s rights, Dina hopes to mobilise her community, challenge the gender stereotypes and encourage community members to analyse women’s position in society.

Dana felt happy that she could participate in delivering the annual Video Activist training, which is just the beginning for her: “When I return to Egypt, I want to design and organize trainings around women’s rights with three other Egyptian ToT participants,” she said. Because she is already a member in NWF's feminist school, she will also lead some of NWF’s trainings, including the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) training and the Women from Unions training.

ActionAid Arab regional Initiative works to strengthen the capacity of youth and activists in the Arab world through innovative trainings and capacity development for individuals, youth groups and local organizations that wish to take positive action in their societies. We use the ‘Human Rights Based Approach’, mobilizing communities to act as the agents of change and ensuring that power is placed in the people that we work with.

Between 2013-2015, ActionAid has trained 5,5561 youth across the region through our Global Platform and community centers located in Jordan and Lebanon to be the leaders of change in their communities.