30 Sep 2002
The Launch of the Regional Strengthening Seminars

The first seminar on capacity building in the rehabilitation and prevention of torture was launched on September 2, 2002 in Nairobi by the Danish Ambassador to Kenya, Mr Finn Thilsted, and the President of the IRCT, Dr Maria Piniou-Kalli. The 4-day seminar was the first of five regional seminars to be held in 2002, as part of the IRCT's Regional Strengthening Programme Phase 2 (RSP2). The IRCT has invited participants from 101 centres and programmes in the developing part of the world to participate in these regional seminars.

During the seminar, 23 representatives from rehabilitation centres in Sub Sahara Africa participated in two parallel workshops focusing on Rehabilitation and Organisational Development, respectively. The RSP2 is an innovative project which aims at developing minimum working standards in the fields of Rehabilitation, Organisational Development, Documentation and Advocacy. The implementation of working standards will promote institutional capacity building and ensure long-term sustainability of the rehabilitation centres fighting against torture.

The Rehabilitation workshop focused on the need for systematically gathering existing expertise, knowledge and guidelines on rehabilitation of torture victims. Although this expertise exists in rehabilitation centres at the individual level, it is recognised that there is a need to consolidate this experience and to establish guidelines at both regional and global level. The Organisational Development workshop covered the implementation of the Logical Framework Approach for project design and development, as well as donor analysis and fundraising.

The second regional seminar covering the Asian region took place on September 9-12 in Kathmandu, Nepal. At this seminar, 26 participants – representing 16 centres from the region – joined two workshops dealing with Organisational Development and Documentation, respectively.

The success of this project is contingent on the continuous collaboration between the IRCT and the partner centres. Following the regional seminars in Sub Sahara Africa, Latin America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States, and the Middle East and North Africa the partner centres will assess how their own local guidelines can be adapted to the presented minimum working standards. Later, the IRCT will bring together regional resource persons in order to review the progress made in 2002 and to finally agree on the working standards which will be implemented at the regional and global level. RSP2 is supported financially by the EU as well as by the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Foreign Ministries.

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