After the success of the WiMDP pilot programme in 2018, the MCB has resolved to continue running this vital leadership and development programme. Our second ever intake of women leaders has completed Phase 1 of WiMDP 2019, with Phase 2 in the offing. Moreover, we’re striving to expand the usage of Women In Mosques Conversation Toolkit, collating the feedback received from local focus groups to help begin implementation o Your support will prove invaluable in ensuring sufficient resources can be afforded to our Women In Mosques work stream; from WiMDP workshop delivery and design and project facilitator procurement, to long-term support services for our WiMPD graduates, your donations will help us ensure Muslim women leaders continue to empowered, women’s access to our Mosques continues to be improved, and our Mosques, and the communities they serve, continue to be transformed.
The “Women in Mosques Development Programme” (WIMDP) was launched on UN International Women’s Day in 2018 and is run by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the UK’s largest and most diverse Muslim umbrella body. It is an annual leadership development programme that aims to develop upcoming female leaders in British Muslim communities to become the mosque trustees, committee members, volunteers and centre managers of the future.
Research by the Charity Commission of England and Wales in 2017 found that men outnumber women in all charity management committees by two to one, and anecdotal evidence suggests that the figure is even more unequal in Muslim-led charities such as mosques. This is largely due to misinterpretations of Islamic teachings about the role of women in public life or cultural understandings of the mosque being largely a space for men as practiced in some regions of the world, rather than a community hub for both men and women as it should be. With many Muslim women in the UK excelling in other voluntary associations or third-sector organisations, this programme seeks to encourage this talent to contribute to the UK mosque sector too.
The programme consists of: Phase 1 – a bespoke mosque-focused leadership trainings delivered over a series of residential events and, Phase 2 – in which a mentor who is an existing mosque trustee, volunteer or committee member, provides tailored guidance and support for their mentee as they work to deliver a real-world project and chart their course in the realm of mosque leadership. The programme is open to any Muslim woman based in the UK of any age, ethnic background or school of thought to apply, recognizing the incredible diversity across Muslim communities in the UK.
Applicants are shortlisted and must successfully undertake a telephone interview and reference check before they are offered a place on Phase 1 of the programme. Participants who successfully complete Phase 1, and who wish to take their learning further, can then apply to have a mentor during Phase 2.
In its inaugural year in 2018, 17 talented Muslim women graduated from the programme, and in 2019, 20 Muslim women took park, with a third applying to Phase 2. In addition, 10 mentors (experienced mosque committee member, volunteer or trustee, male or female) have offered to act as a mentor to the participants. Moreover, since April 2019, 4 mosques across the UK have offered a voluntary placements opportunity to WIMDP graduates and more are planned to engage with the programme in this way in 2020 and beyond.
One programme graduate based in London worked with her local mosque, Finsbury Park Mosque, to host the first ever ‘Autism Hour’ in a mosque in collaboration with the National Autistic Society in June 2019, which has since evolved into a national campaign, with mosques across the country hosting ‘Autism Hours’ for families in their congregations.
Another graduate has taken a leading role in organising the MCB’s ‘Our Mosques Our Future’ conference, a national conference that brings together 400+ mosque leaders and volunteers to share in best practice from across a range of disciplines. We strive to offer our graduates tailored support and guidance upon graduating, ensuring they can continue to affect change in their respective communities.
In 2019, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) and Cardiff University’s Islam-UK Centre ran an online survey on “Women’s Perceptions of the Mosque” which received responses from across the country. A significant finding was that many women wanted to participate in mosques, access spiritual guidance and support the management and running of mosques, but faced barriers which prevented them from doing so. In turn, the #WomeninMosques Conversation Toolkit was launched to encourage community members to hold focus group sessions, fostering discussion on how to improve women’s access to Mosques, and generating practical solutions to do so at a local level. The Women In Mosques Conversation Toolkit remains a vital supplementary resource in MCB’s drive to increase women’s participation in Mosque leadership and improving women’s access to our Mosques overall.
Help deliver online training & support classes for our 2019 cohort
Contribute to delivery costs of an annual International Women's Day conference
Contribute to delivery of enhanced facilitated workshops & more tailored 1-1 mentorship sessions
Contribute to costs of our intensive weekend residential training for WiMDP participants
Enable us to hire a dedicated Project Officer & contact more expert facilitators [wages in-line with MCB's Living Wage pledge]