Bringing ESD to Latin America

​​When we last brought you news about Aude Mulliez, she was hard at work using the skills and tools she gained at ESD Global's very first instructor training to bring ESD to her community in Costa Rica.

Now that she's established several successful programs in her own community, her vision has grown, and she's doing everything in her power to bring ESD training to communities throughout Central and South America.

Aude is here today to tell us about the invaluable work she's doing.

Welcome, Aude!

Q. Please tell us a bit about what you’ve been up to since attending ESD Global’s instructor training in 2017.

A. After camp, I realized I had something tangible to share with the communities I had had the privilege to work with previously. This was the UN Mandated University for Peace Masters Students, 9 of which were then trained as instructors in 2018. Those who missed the opportunity last year will be going to be trained this year. I believe more women from this global community, that I have the privilege to work with this year will also be going to the instructor trainings in New York, Greece and the one that I am coordinating in Costa Rica.

I've been lucky to learn from Renee Wentz, my mentor from my initial training in 2017. I had the opportunity visit her and learn firsthand from her about the specificities to her teaching in Belize.

Once I felt confident, I reached out to organizations in my community. With my background working over

10 years with women and community led initiatives, and my masters in Gender and Peacebuilding, I began facilitating groups of women survivors of domestic violence with the support of DV advocates and psychologists. Then, I began facilitating the ESD methodology for their friends. I had previously worked with groups of migrant women and have begun working within institutions that support them. Once women in these different areas participated in ESD training and realized that this methodology is truly effective in preventing, interrupting, responding and healing from violence, they referred me to other groups of women and girls. Many have also invited their coworkers to participate in trainings.

This month, I will be facilitating groups of teenagers and groups of women made vulnerable by patriarcal institutional and social structures.

Thanks to the webinars produced by ESD Global, I followed the advice of my fellow and much more experienced practitioners and began courses in order to become a domestic violence advocate and be more experienced with trauma reconciliation. A big thank you to all the women and humans who are willing to share their wealth of knowledge through this platform!

Q. When it comes to empowerment self-defense, what are the specific needs of the women in your community in Costa Rica? What special types of training should instructors receive in order to meet those needs?

A. A recent study by Oxfam states that the majority of young men from 15-25 years old in Latin America do not comprehend “no as no”. Therefore, when discussing with women and girls in this context how to communicate assertively and effectively, I assist them in thinking of different options or expressions like Enough or Stop or NO more. Future Costa Rican instructors will be more than aware of this reality due to their and others daily experiences.

This is why I am honored to be coordinating the week long instructor training in Costa Rica and to invite women from this region to learn this methodology in order to share with their communities all while having support from mentors and other women they meet at the instructor trainings.

Q. You’re working hard to bring empowerment self-defense to Latin America. What is your vision? Why is ESD so urgently needed in that part of the world?

A. According to UNDP and UN Women, “…the region registers the highest rates of violence against women outside the intimate partner and the second highest within the couple [in the world], according to data from the Observatory on Gender Equality in Latin America and the Caribbean”. My vision is for ESD to be a ‘best practice’ in the eradication of gender-based violence in the Central and South American regions.

My mission is to identify and support multi-sectorial and multilateral sustainable relationships in order to provide ESD training to the greatest number of women, marginalized gender identities and in the future, children, in Central and South America. I am convinced that this is where the train the trainer model is essential, especially when being inclusive to diverse populations, supporting them to be the experts in their own lives and communities.

There are many organizations and leaders doing powerful, admirable and effective work in Latin America, and I truly believe that what we have to share can only be beneficial. The methodology is proven to work, the conversations and actions promote healing and a sense of personal value that you do not find in a lot of trainings, it is trauma-informed and it shares sensible tools that can be remembered and then utilized. There needs to be more work done researching how the methodology can work in the Latin American context.

Q. What tools have you gained through your training through ESD Global that will help you as you work to make your vision a reality?

A. Since becoming an instructor myself, I have clearly seen the impacts that assertive communication has in all of my relationships, either personal, professional or political. Being able to name what is happening in a conversation or in an event, say how I feel about it and then direct and repeat what I want to happen, with confidence and compassion, are also usually the biggest takeaway of the participants of the trainings I provide.

The applicability of the methodology is huge! Additionally, the network of incredible women and humans that ESD Global has provided me with also brings me confidence to say, “I don’t know but I’m sure I know someone who does."

Q. Of all of the exciting projects you’re working on, is there one in particular that you’d like to tell us about?

A. Coordinating and bringing to my community the ESD Global Train the Trainer event in the town where I live in Costa Rica is very exciting. Being able to reach out to all of the organizations I have had the privilege to learn from and about and being able to have something so extraordinary to offer them is exhilarating. Participating in bringing together incredible women and humans is what really drives me.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences!

* Apply now for one of our instructor trainings!

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