Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) will increase Syrian refugee women’s ability to create positive change for their communities through the Participation and Empowerment of Syrian Refugee Women in Jordan and Lebanon project, funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF). The initiative will work with individual Syrian women and with local organizations providing services to them.
Building on their work with refugee communities thus far, WLP Jordan/SIGI-J and WLP Lebanon/CRTD.A will conduct culturally adapted training programs for Syrian refugee women on leadership, human rights, and community organization. The workshops create an environment for women to recognize their rights, re-examine their concept of self, and collaborate with others. Afterwards, participants will carry out projects and step-down trainings to disseminate what they have learned to their families and communities with coaching from WLP Partners. Some Syrian women will be given the opportunity to be further trained as advocates for refugee populations in Jordan and Lebanon, which are rarely given a voice in policy or humanitarian circles.
To build the capacity of local organizations working with Syrian Refugees, SIGI-J and CRTD.A will also lead workshops for NGO workers in these sectors. The trainings will emphasize participatory leadership, women’s human rights, steps to end gender-based violence, community organizing, peacebuilding, and the understanding of women refugees as change agents. WLP is developing the training materials to fit the cultural context and is making them freely available online in the WLP Learning Center.
Strengthened communication among stakeholders in the refugee community is a core element of this initiative. The networks formed will allow for the knowledge produced during this project to be spread exponentially throughout the region. In the long term, this will translate into increased participation of refugee women advocates in policy dialogues at national and international levels.
The Partnership has already achieved success with this ground-up approach during a number of similar workshops conducted in Lebanon in 2017. WLP will continue to use this empowerment-focused methodology to catalyze progress for refugee women’s rights.
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When women are part of peacebuilding processes and negotiations, the stability and quality of that peace increases. However, according to UN Women and the Council of Foreign Relations, “between 1990 and 2017, women constituted only 2 percent of mediators, 8 per cent of negotiators, and 5 per cent of witnesses and signatories in all major peace process.” WLP is addressing this disparity in women’s representation at the peace table through leadership and capacity-building workshops with refugee women, grassroots activists, and local civil society organizations.