The three-day on-line advanced training programme for CSOs in the Western Balkans and Turkey on Mainstreaming Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) and Gender Equality (GE) has been implemented in the period 14 – 16 June 2021. The training was attended by 22 participants representing CSOs actively working on the provision of support and protection of vulnerable and marginalised groups of citizens from across Western Balkans region and Turkey but also covering issues like protection of the environment and climate change.

The training covered the key principles of HRBA and built specific competencies for mainstreaming HRBA and gender equality in the work of CSOs. The training also included examples and best practices of applying HRBA and GE by different types of CSOs.

How do we understand human rights? Are there human rights more valuable than others? These were the questions that opened the regional training and inspired the discussion among participants.

“The political context might change. However, the changes at the political level always bring new challenges and that is why we have to continuously assess the respect of human rights”, emphasized during the training Ivana Krstić, Senior Expert and Trainer for HRBA and GE.

The first day of the training provided a theoretical overview of the definitions of human rights and related instruments and the role of different types of international and EU institutions and bodies in providing support, protection and monitoring. Also, the specific session was dedicated to human rights limitations, including examples of derogations and limitation clauses. The influence of the COVID- 19 pandemic on the vulnerable groups was reviewed as well.

The second and third day of the training were dedicated to the review of different types of case studies from practice and exploring the opportunities of applying HRBA and GE approaches to strengthen the organisational development of CSOs.

In stimulating atmosphere, CSOs representatives shared their practices, experiences and observations regarding the HRBA and GE approach. One very descriptive  example was shared by the Foundation for Women’s Solidarity from Turkey, which transferred experiences and observations on gender-based violence during the year of COVID-19 pandemic into a detailed document link.

A set of guiding questions has been presented to be used while developing CSO practices and incorporating new approaches into institutional aspects. Also, assessment tools and sources of information on different check-lists were presented to the participants so they can use them for further improving their organisational approaches in mainstreaming HRBA and GE.

One of the training conclusions is that mainstreaming of the HRBA and GE approach is primarily the question of implementation and actual application of what was incorporated into CSO organisational policies.

Additional HRBA and GE trainings were held on national languages in the WBT region. You can find particular web stories for each of the trainings on national languages on the following links:

North Macedonia:

Bosnia and Herzegovina/Montenegro/Serbia/ 1st training:

Bosnia and Herzegovina/Montenegro/Serbia/ 2nd training:




“Thank you so much! These three days have been amazing, and it is both empowering and heart-warming to see how much work is being done despite everything.”

Kejsi Gaxa, from the Gender Alliance for Development Center, Albania

“It was a great training and good experience!”

Isidora Isakov, Group IZADJI from Serbia.