By Jill Andrews,2014-05-16 15:28
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    UK Charity (no 1123885)





4. PROGRAMME 2009 6





    Follow the Women, established as a national Charity in the UK started with the crazy idea of bringing together women from across the globe to cycle through the Middle East for peace. The idea quickly gained momentum and has become a well-known international peace movement of committed women, gaining media attention, and respect from the thousands of people we meet in the countries we cycle through. We raise funds for youth and children’s projects that contribute to a happier life for children in the West Bank, Gaza and Palestinian refugee camps in other countries.

    The bike ride is an active and environmentally friendly way to bring together women from over 30 different countries from all corners of the world. It proves to be an amazing journey of awareness and discovery which never fails to inspire and motivate the women that take part. They return to their countries with a clearer and more informed view of the Middle East, along with the determination to work together towards peace, equal rights and the hope of a better life for the women and children of this region. Pedalling together for peace is an empowering and symbolic way of crossing borders that breaks down stereotypes and cultural barriers and builds strong bonds of friendships, support and understanding.

    This unique non-violent action of committed women contributes in a creative way to a more tolerant, just and peaceful life for all.

Detta Regan

    Founder and Director of Follow the Women

    Detta Regan has been a youth and community worker for 30 years, and through her work, became involved in international cultural and social youth exchanges. In her role as a trainer travelling the world, she made frequent visits to the Middle East where a desire grew to raise the profile of women and children in the region. As a keen cyclist, Detta was told that she could not cycle in the Middle East as people would look at you. Thus she realised that

    she could use the bicycle as a vehicle to get noticed and in 2003 ‘Follow the Women’ was




    Core Purpose

    Follow The Women is an international women’s peace organisation whose core purpose is to empower women to take action to improve the lives of the people in the Middle East and support human rights for all.


    Raise awareness of how conflict in the Middle East affects the lives of people in the region, especially women and children.

    Increase intercultural understanding and the commitment to achieve peace and an end to discrimination, violence, oppression and war through dialogue and non-violent action.

    Provide a platform for women from the Middle East and around the world to share their experiences and points of view.

    Provide opportunities to gain firsthand experience of the human realities in the region: Come, See, Tell and Act”.

    Empower women through mutual support and inspire them to take an active role in achieving a just peace.


3. Project Description

FOLLOW THE WOMEN is an international movement of women who organise and

    participate in women’s cycle rides for peace with the aim of raising awareness and focussing media attention on the current situation in the Middle Eastern region, and how the conflict affects the lives of women and children. It aspires to promote peace and cross-cultural understanding.

    In each of the previous four FTW bike rides (April 2004, September 2005, April 2007 and May 2009) around 220-280 women from 35 different countries pedalled approximately 300km for Peace in the Middle East starting in Lebanon, through Syria, Jordan and into

    Palestine (since 2005). In October 2009, women aged 18-70 from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds will unite again for 2 weeks for a common purpose: to raise awareness for the urgency of a just peace in the Middle East that is based on security and equal human rights for all.

    FOLLOW THE WOMEN demonstrates practical cross-cultural solidarity between women, and highlights their shared humanity. It advocates for peace, freedom and security as the basic precondition to enjoy their rights. Participating women show that they care and are willing to put their lives, jobs and families on hold while they exert all efforts to cycle for a cause they believe in.

    The previous FTW bike rides changed hearts and minds of participating women and encouraged further active engagement. News of the organization and its objectives spread as the cyclists returned to their home countries talking about their new perception of the 4 hospitable countries they had passed through, and how this unique experience changed their misconceptions about Arabs and Muslims. Women participants from abroad also shared their insights and the empowering experience of women solidarity, creativity, and willpower to overcome barriers, and unite to make a difference for a better world. As hundreds women cycling together is not a common sight in Middle Eastern countries the WOMEN ONLY BIKE RIDE attracts media and world attention, and highlights in a unique symbolic way the need for freedom of movement as a basic human right, and the joint serious international efforts needed to overcome the obstacles in the uphill work for real peace and security. By cycling together, women show solidarity, make friends across cultural, religious and geographic divides, and stress that women want to be part in decision making and finding new solutions for a better future for all.

    We aim to raise funds for building playgrounds for the traumatized children in Gaza, as a sign of hope and international solidarity, along with providing positive action towards helping to relieve some of the suffering they encounter in their daily lives.


4. PROGRAMME for Follow the Women Peace Ride 2009

    Day Date Country Description

    Thursday 08-Oct Lebanon Arrival of all participants in Beirut/Lebanon

    Friday 09-Oct Lebanon Beirut - Bike set up. Opening ceremony. Dinner

    Saturday 10-Oct Lebanon 2 Regional bike rides (2 groups)

    Free evening

    Sunday 11-Oct Leb/Syr Ride in the North of Lebanon.

    Crossing borders into Syria, Arrival in Tartous, overnight night in hotel.

    Monday 12-Oct Syria Cycle in Tartous area.

    Bus to Homs, overnight stay in Deir

    Tuesday 13-Oct Syria Ride in Homs area

    Travel to Busra. Stay overnight in camp.

    Wednesday 14-Oct Syr/Jor Cycle ride from Busra to Jordan Border (Jaber)

    Crossing into Jordan, overnight in Amman

    Thursday 15-Oct Jordan Amman Cycle & Meetings @Jordan University

    Cycling to Citadel (Flying Peace kites & Cultural Evening)

    Friday 16-Oct Jordan Cycle to Dead Sea/Jordan Valley

    Evening at Dead Sea

    Saturday 17-Oct Jor/Pal Crossing Over bridge

    Cycle into Jericho and stay overnight.

     Plan A Plan B

    Sunday 18-Oct Palestine Hebron Nablus

    Monday 19-Oct Palestine Gaza Qalqilya

    Tuesday 20-Oct Palestine To be Decided Al Ram, Ramallah

    Wednesday 21-Oct Departures from Allenby Departures from Allenby

    There are currently 30 Country Coordinators who are responsible for organising the national teams of women cyclists who participate in the Cycle Ride representing: UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, Denmark, Spain, Austria, Italy, Poland, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iran, UAE, Japan, Australia, Canada, USA, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Belgium, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, the Balearics, and Iraq. The last year has been one of great growth and development for Follow the Women (FTW), both for the organisation and its communications strategy.

    Follow the Women now has a presence in over 30 countries, with regular activities taking place under this brand name in many of these. FTW coordinators decided to cooperate in a developing a centralised approach to marketing communications including messaging, press releases and sponsorship support. This will ensure that one consistent message is promoted for Follow the Women worldwide.


5. Budget Breakdown and Sponsorship Opportunities

    While the expected 250 women participants from as far as Japan, USA, Canada, Australia, and Europe will struggle to fund the expenses for their own air tickets, as well as the participation fee and the bike hire, FTW needs to find private, corporate, media and NGO sponsorship and governmental support to realize this huge endeavour. In particular, we require sponsors who cover - in parts or in total:

- Accommodation for 20 nights for the 250 300 women cyclists

    and the supporting technical team (hotels, tents, mattresses, etc) - Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) &

    - Refreshments at Pitstops every 10 km (water, dates, fruit & energy bars)

    - Transportation & Logistics support (buses for participants, trucks for bikes, pick-ups

    for media & individual bikes (ambulances are usually provided by the countries

    security forces)

    - PR & Media Banners in streets and on accompanying buses & trucks , leaflets for

    public awareness, daily press releases, TV, Press, Radio coverage - Promotional Clothing for Participants: T-Shirts (at least 2 per person per hosting

    country, bags, helmets)

    - Bike Hire Costs for Lebanese, Jordanian and Palestinian cycling teams (at least 20

    each) and additional women cyclists in the national rides. Arab women need special

    encouragement and cannot shoulder the high costs for participation, as they already

    face enough obstacles in order to participate. Participation of diverse Arab women is

    very important as the rides provide numerous opportunities to share their views

    with the other participants, and contribute to changing perceptions.


Please find below the breakdown of the estimated costs for the FTW bike ride 2009. It is

    these costs for which we need to obtain sponsorship.

    NOTE: All costs in Syria are covered by our sponsor, MTN.

Description Cost in US $

    Total Lebanon Jordan Palestine

     17.239 32.000 20,000 Accommodation

     4.905 5.400 6,000 Transportation

     24.000 33.000 25,000 Food & Water

     5.525 5.280 5,000 Marketing, PR and media

     3.675 2.800 3,000 Logistics

    51.500 Bike Hire & Maintenance

    14 days @165 Euro per

    participant x 250 PAX

     1.730 3.500 2,000 Clothing/merchandise

    51.500 57.068 81.980 61,000 Total per country




     The Bike Rides

Follow the Women's Pedal for Peace in the Middle East programme brings together women

    from all over the world to partake in an experience like no other. Women participate for different reasons, but all leave with a greater understanding of the region and its problems and with a desire to promote peace.

    Many of the women who take part in the rides have never ridden a bicycle before, much less taken part in an organised action, but they pedal away the miles together to promote peace and make the world sit up and take notice. Hundreds of women cycling together through the Middle East are quite a spectacle and one which attracts a great deal of interest from the world's media.

    In April 2004, the first ride was across Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. The second bicycle ride in September 2005 took the women from Beirut to Damascus, on to Amman and finally into Ramallah in Palestine. In April 2007, cycling began in Aleppo, Syria, continuing into Saida, Beirut and other regions of Lebanon, south to Mt. Nebo in Jordan, and finally through Israel's Allenby Bridge checkpoint into the Palestinian West Bank cities of Jericho, Beit Sahour and Jerusalem.

    In April 2008 the women cycled through Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan and in the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. More than 250 women from over 30 countries took part including a team from Japan, Estonia and a film team from Australia. The UK team of 12 was composed of women from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire.

    Throughout the route, visits were made to refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Palestine. These were particularly significant as Nakba was being commemorated it being 60 years since the dispossession of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian homes. The bike ride attracted world wide media coverage shown on many national television channels.

    The Follow the Women for Peace Bike rides gained the Patronage of the First Lady in Syria and Queen Rania in Jordan, governmental support of the hosting countries and were sponsored by a wide variety of private businesses and voluntary organizations, i.a.

    ; Lebanon: The Progressive Youth Organisation, Ministry of Cultural Affairs

    ; Syria: Patronage of Her Excellency Asma Al Assad, MTN

    ; Jordan: Royal Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, ARAMEX

    ; Palestine: Ministry of Youth, Right to Play


     The Playground Project

    Following the cycle ride in May, Philippa Ochonski founded the Follow The Women playground project. The aim is to use fund raising donations to build playgrounds throughout refugee camps in the countries visited by the cycle rides. The first one was completed in Aqbat Jabr Refugee camp in Jericho, West Bank. The second is planned in Al Ram near Jerusalem.

     Palestinian and Jordanian Cycling Clubs for young women

    These were set up as a direct response to the cycle rides and the groups have developed local initiatives, e.g. in Palestine, the women have been working in orphanages supporting activities with children. In Jordan, former participants form the FTW Jordan Team, encourage young women to learn cycling and participate actively in FTW voluntary work.

     FTW groups

    Women have been able to respond quickly to international incidents, and exchange latest news, events and in-depth information (400 women communicate via Yahoo group); others use the internet and its new tools to spread the women’s peace initiative in blocs and online

    communities. Many FTW country groups have set up their own websites, organise public events and powerpoint & film presentations.

     FTW UK initiated Euro-Med Youth Exchanges

    The following Euro-Med Youth Exchange projects came about as a direct result of Follow the Women activities and were supported by organizations such as The British Council and the European Commission’s Youth in Action programme:

     Girls United - Youth Exchange (Peace through Sport) brought together

    girls from the Middle East (Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Palestine) and European countries (UK, Sweden, Basque Country) to participate in sporting activities they would not normally be able to access.

    United in Diversity (international workshop series) looked at citizenship in different countries and challenged young people’s perceptions of different cultures. All the leaders were from within the FTW network in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey, Basque Country, France and the UK.

    Heritage to Here Youth Exchange between UK & Palestine offered the young people with Arabic, Pakistani, Afro-Caribbean and white British backgrounds the opportunity to examine how their heritage impacts on their life. The program’s climax was a visit to Palestine in

    August 2008 with the UK group experiencing life under occupation. During this exchange the group also painted a mural at the site of the new Follow the Women playground in Aqbat Jabr Refugee camp, Jericho, in preparation for the arrival of the new equipment.


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