Time and location

Monday, 20 March 2017, 7 - 9 pm
C3 - Centrum für Internationale Entwicklung, Alois Wagner Saal
Sensengasse 3, 1090 Vienna


Presentation of the VIDC study “The perception of gender relations and gender-based violence of Afghans living in Austria” (in English)
Ali Ahmad, researcher and consultant for the VIDC

Experiences and lessons learned from the intercultural gender competence workshops
Philipp Leeb, head, poika - Association for gendersensitive work with boys in education and teaching
Shokat Ali Walizadeh, head, Association Afghan Youth - New Start in Austria

Opening: Madga Seewald, Gender consultant, VIDC

Chairperson: Nadja Schuster, Gender consultant, VIDC

Languages: German and English (no interpretation)

Registration kindly requested: schuster@remove-this.vidc.org

Melting the ice, not breaking it - gender competence in the Afghan community

© Shokat Walizadeh, Montage: sanja.at
© Shokat Walizadeh, Montage: sanja.at


Gender sensitization of men is vital to achieving gender justice and freedom from violence. The VIDC, “poika - Association for gender sensitive work with boys in education and teaching” and the association “Afghan Youth - New Start in Austria” developed the idea to offer intercultural gender competence workshops for male Afghan refugees. In these workshops, topics like masculinity, gender-specific violence, one’s own and others’ stereotypes, and gender roles are discussed. Broadening gender competence allows participants to practice gender democracy in their daily lives and develop an identity that is based on equality. Taboo subjects like sexuality and sexual diversity are also addressed using culturally sensitive methods. Two trainers, one Afghan and one Austrian, make it possible to establish a respectful atmosphere free of prejudice. These workshops have been held since 2016 using educational games, theatre pedagogy, and movement education, primarily in refugee homes.

Parallel to the workshops, a small microsociology study (see below "information material") was conducted in 2016 on gender relations in the Afghan community in Austria. The study also includes recommendations in the form of integration measures.
What experiences did the participants have with violence as children and how did these shape their views on gender justice and roles? What kind of social and familial pressure are Afghan men under in general and refugees in particular? How can Afghan men become feminist agents of change? How do men and their social environment benefit from greater gender competence - also in terms of integration?


Ali Ahmad

studied medicine in Afghanistan and graduated from the European Peace University from a master’s program in peace and conflict research. He is currently working on his Ph.D. on the radicalization process in societies affected by conflict at the Institute for Political Science at the University of Vienna. Ahmad worked as a journalist and researcher in Afghanistan. He has been a freelance consultant for the VIDC since 2014 and has published his work internationally. Ahmad was the lead researcher in the VIDC study, responsible for conducting and analyzing the focus groups with Afghan men.

Philipp Leeb

worked with children and youth with differing needs from 1996 to 2010 as a certified special needs (specializing in integrative and progressive education) and speech therapy teacher. He is the founder and head of “poika - Association for gender sensitive work with boys in education and teaching” and offers gender sensitivity workshops for children and male adolescents. Furthermore, Leeb works also as a certified gender expert for training teachers and for the Federal Ministry of Education, the AMS job center, and the teaching academies in Vienna and Salzburg. Besides, he e is a journalist, writes non-fiction, and performs as a clown.

Shokat Ali Walizadeh

came to Austria after fleeing Afghanistan in 2008 and founded the association “Afghan Youth - New Start in Austria” in 2010. The organization aims to help develop a peaceful atmosphere between all Afghan ethnic groups, strengthen cooperation between associations, and support young refugees in their integration into Austrian society. Walizadeh worked as a refugee counselor for the Arbeiter-Samariter Bund from 2015 to 2016 and has been an integration advisor for “Context - Impulse am Arbeitsmarkt”, a partner project of the AMS, since October 2016. He is a coordinator and gender trainer for the intercultural gender competence workshops.

Nadja Schuster

is a sociologist, feminist, and responsible for the areas gender, gender sensitization of men, and fighting human trafficking at the VIDC. She was in charge of designing the study and preparing the interview guidelines and questionnaires. Magda Seewald, also a gender advisor at VIDC, actively supported her in this role. Schuster conducted three interviews with Afghan women as part of the VIDC study. From 2002 to 2007 she aquired extensive experience in the field of qualitative sociological research in non-European countries (Sri Lanka, India).


Information material