Women in the Middle East are often treated differently and marginalised because of their gender, whether through sexual harassment, abuse, early marriage or enforced gender roles. In some cases, they even lack access to education and citizenship. In contexts where the daily pressures on women are increasing, where women are isolated and often told their lives are worth half of a man’s, our aim is to challenge the status quo in the Middle East which says women are worth less than a man. We want to build up women’s worth and value, to help them gain confidence and self-esteem, and to enable them to make positive decisions in their lives.
Our gender projects create a safe haven for women in their societies. These initiatives use media to connect with women who suffer gender discrimination and abuse at home or in the workplace, in ways which they can access easily. The following projects have also been developed into educational curricula used to equip trainers from other NGOs in their day-to-day work.
Nisa'a Women's Project
Targeting women aged 25-50 by using a variety of media, the Nisa'a Project seeks to challenge women’s core beliefs, attitudes and perceptions of themselves and others. We encourage women of all faiths and backgrounds to question inherited cultural patterns, empower them to undertake new endeavours and develop their skills, and inform them about gender equality, citizenship and human rights.
This project is made up of four interconnected strands - an online community which provides a forum for women's education and discussion, media production such as videos posted to the site to encourage women and reinforce messages of worth, an increasing offline community for women to meet together physically at events and gatherings, and the training of staff writers and freelance contributors to the website.
Blossoms gives a voice and inner healing to North African women through psychological training and art and drama therapy, to develop their emotional intelligence and enable them to express their heartfelt needs in creative ways.
The program includes workshops and lectures, group sessions and homework. In groups, participants are encouraged to speak up, learn how to listen and effectively communicate with others. Those identified as potential future leaders in their communities are empowered through training-of-trainers sessions, to be able to provide the same training in their own communities to other women in need.
We are also extending the project to work with Syrian and Sudanese refugee women in North Africa, as they have often lived through significant trauma and are in dire need of emotional healing and support, to work through issues such as grief, fear and forgiveness.