Strategic reflection and discussion meeting 29-30 November 2014 in Zagreb

CONTEXT

Based on their own experiences, the founders of the Mediterranean Women's Fund know that it is very difficult for women's organizations to take time to share their analysis of the situation in their own country, think together, assess the strengths and the weaknesses of their movement and consider their needs and the strategy they should implement.
Therefore, the Mediterranean Women's Fund offers women's organizations a space for discussion and strategic reflection at the national level; it is a kind of think tank with no obligatory result expected to be produced at the end of the gathering.

A first strategic reflection meeting was held in November 2013 with 18 Croatian women's organizations. This new meeting was organized to create a space for working discussions in order to follow up their strategic reflection.

ORGANISATION

22 women activists representing 16 Croatian women's organizations (coming from 6 different towns) participated to the workshop, amoung them 6 women were under the age of 30. To facilitate communications with the Mediterranean Women's Fund, Croatian/English translations were planned.

The first part of the meeting was dedicated to review the challenges identified in 2013 and evaluate their relevance one year later. The participants confirmed the challenges, added precisions to their initial analysis, and added a highly topical concern: the defense of Croatian women’s reproductive and sexual rights.
After that, they reviewed the principal priority retained in November 2013 and discussed the current priorities. Finally they ordered the main challenges for the coming year:
• civic education
• defense of sexual and reproductive rights
• consequences of the Vatican agreement (Concordat).

At that point, three groups were formed to analyze in depth one of the challenges and to brainstorm to identify possible responses.

Several questions were provided to facilitate the brainstorming:
- How to convince?
- What to do?
- How to do it?
- How much it will cost?

On each question, the groups brought answers and actions.

The work done and the process of the two day meeting were evaluated with a round table at the end of the gathering. The evaluation showed that the meeting was very inspiring for the women activists present, who were happy to have had the opportunity to talk and reflect in such an easy atmosphere. Some participants remarked that the obligation to speak into the microphone for the translation was a good way for them to take time to think before speaking and to listen better to each other.
The participants expressed the wish that another meeting would be organized soon by the Mediterranean Women's Fund – within a year – and mentioned that they felt empowered and stronger after these two days. The assembly welcomed that so many young women participated and could find their place among the many older women leaders in the room.

For the Mediterranean Women's Fund, it was a great opportunity to learn more about the work, successes and difficulties of women’s organizations in Croatia. It also was a new challenge because it was the first time that it offered a gathering as a follow up to a previous one. The relevance of such meetings was again confirmed, as was the ability of the Mediterranean Women's Fund to organize strategic reflection workshops for women's organizations in different Mediterranean countries.