Supporting Women Empowerment and Rights in Lebanon

MSI’s USAID-funded BALADI CAP is committed to advancing gender equality and the increased role of women in Lebanese CSOs and local municipal governance. A key aspect of this work is promoting women’s rights and ensuring that women’s voices are heard as part of empowering civil society.

Under BALADI CAP’s approach, the project awarded a series of advocacy grants through its Human Rights Advocacy Network, focused on addressing the discrimination and stigma faced by vulnerable women in the workplace. This includes women who are survivors of intimate partner violence, sex workers, former drug addicts and prisoners, and members of the LGBTQ community, through “know your rights” and advocacy campaigns, anti-discrimination labor policies, and more. These actions are considered a first within the Lebanese CSO community.

Through a partnership with “Soins Infirmiers et Developpement Communautaire” (SIDC), BALADI CAP supported SIDC’s launch of a one-year project, “Supporting Vulnerable Women’s Rights Activity,” comprised of 10 stories that reflect the real-life experiences of women who engaged in sex for money. This campaign raised public awareness about this vulnerable community for the first time in Lebanon and is geared to improve the rights of women sex workers. Public interest in this issue became apparent with over 5,000 shares on social media.

Furthermore, with BALADI CAP/USAID support, SIDC enhanced the institutional capacity of social service centers that provide services to vulnerable women. This included promoting the adoption of new or improved policies and practices in service provision to women in seven centers in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, that protected women from sexual and other forms of abuse when accessing health care and social support and helped improve their understanding of Lebanese laws that protect their rights.

“The project allowed this vulnerable community to raise its voice, so that they are not muted anymore. The outcomes of this project are key resources for people working in the healthcare and social services sector. These people should be defending those women throughout their work and not play the role of the oppressor”, said Dr. Huwaida Abi Ramya, head of the Social Work Department at Saint Joseph University in Beirut.

SIDC Chairperson Signing Grant Agreement with BALADI CAP COP Dr. Fares El Zein.

For more on the BALADI CAP, enjoy this interview with Chief of Party Dr. Fares El Zein.

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