The Gibran Chair has won an award to promote women’s leadership and gender inclusive policies in the Middle East and North Africa. Women as Partners in Progress (WPP) works with women leaders— both established and emerging—to help them amplify their voice on issues important to them. The U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) at the U.S. State Department funds this two-year project that began in October 2017. WPP is located in the Gibran Chair’s new International Development Program, a complementary project to the longer standing Academic Program.
Arab women in the Middle East know what they need and what needs to change. With a collective voice, they are making progress across the region. In support of Arab women’s initiatives, WPP has partnered with three organizations in the three regions of the Middle East. In Morocco in the Maghreb, we partner with Joussour; in Jordan in the Levant, with World of Letters; and in Kuwait in the Gulf, with Abolish Article 153.
WPP is unique in its starting point: we begin with a gender analysis that synthesizes research on women in the Arab World and specifically in Morocco, Jordan, and Kuwait. In each country, we will hold a Knowledge Seminar with 30 selected established and emerging women leaders who use this research to identify priority issues in their country that they wish to work on together. The second unique feature is that WPP, with our local partners, support these women in their choice of the two or three issues they want to work on together. With us, they develop a strategy and action plan for this collaborative work. To further support their work, WPP designs and facilitates a Leadership Training workshop in strategic decision-making and results-oriented alliances. As progress unfolds, WPP and local partners work with the women to design and carry out social mobilization campaigns. A campaign may include TV and radio interviews; posting on forums, blogs, Facebook; talks at conferences and universities; meetings with government ministers, business leaders, NGOs and other influential people; and developing and placing social marketing messages to address mindsets as well as policy.
The women leaders and allies who worked with them will gather in Jordan in September 2019 to forge a broader network to promote women’s issues—a network that can include men and women government officials, NGOs, community leaders, national leaders, media, policymakers, and private sector decision makers. In their ongoing work together they will be supported by WPP’s virtual hub with its interactive platform and resources.
Tweets from our partners: Abolish Article 153, and Mayyada Abu Jaber, CEO and Founder of World of Letters.
By project end in September 2019, WPP expects that 90 Arab women leaders and their allies will have changed mindsets and have influenced policy related to gender roles and women’s rights through their strategic actions on chosen research-driven strategies in their own country and the region.
About our partners:
A photo from a Jossour/MEPI training session on advocacy techniques (23-24 January 2016) in Rabat, Morocco.
World of Letters (Jordan):
A photo from an Environmental Concepts in the School Curriculum Program in Jordan conducted by World of Letters. Read more about the program here.
Abolish Article 153:
The below video captures this NGO's efforts to abolishing antiquated laws on women in Kuwait and protecting women's rights through advocacy education and training initiatives.
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