”I can’t remember the last time I just looked up at the sky. I haven’t done that since I was a child.”
– Workshop participant, Kenya
Ideally, the workshop venue should be in a natural setting – near a forest, a body of water or mountains. If this is not possible, make sure that the venue is, at a minimum, in a safe area (see Choosing a workshop venue for more information on venue safety).
During the workshop, encourage participants to spend time walking and exploring the setting. For many women human rights defenders who work in restrictive, insecure environments, taking a walk—or a swim—without fear, in a beautiful space is a rare opportunity.
Try to organise exercises and sessions outside. Consider how to incorporate the natural setting into your workshop design. In Kenya, we ran half of day two in an adjacent jungle (part of a golf course), combining a silent meditation walk through the jungle and a session on integrated wellness in a meadow along the route. In Turkey, participants from the Middle East were given an afternoon to explore the island where the workshop was held—to wander in pairs, groups, or alone and experience time for themselves, without structure. It is important to ask participants to reflect on their experience in the group, to remind them that, sometimes, just a few hours in nature is a resource and a safety strategy—that it can bring peace, calm and perspective.