Evidence from all over the world shows that women's participation in peace processes creates longer lasting peace and safer communities. When women have access to secure and dignified work (not sweatshops) they lift themselves and their families up. Countries can expect to rank better on policies and legislations for gender-equality when women are represented in political institutions.
The impact of a political of exclusion not only affects women's lives and wellbeing, but also is an obstacle for national policies and legislation that are gender-inclusive. The ongoing conflicts of Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine are disproportionally affecting women, as men negotiating peace have no interest in gender-inclusion. In fact, long before the recent wave of conflict, the national political systems of these countries were based on gender-biased laws and constitutions, which exacerbated structural barriers. While recognizing local and national nuances, a regional pattern does exist: sidelining women and feminists women movements, negatively affects the prospects of an inclusive and sustainable peace.
THE SAWT PROJECT
The SAWT project is funded by the European Commission (EC) with the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) as the lead partner and implemented through a consortium of partners consisting of the Center for Inclusive Business and Leadership for Women (CIBLW) in Lebanon with a regional scope. Together We Build It in Libya, the Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies in Yemen, Citizenship League for Syria, the Culture and Free Thought Association in Palestine, and the Iraqi Al-Amal Association in Iraq.
SAWT (Voices in Arabic) stands for Supporting Arab Women at the Table. The project aims at:
> Quantitatively and qualitatively increasing women's meaningful inclusion in peace processes in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
> Improving women's ability to influence outcomes and establish post-conflict gender-egalitarian frameworks.
Reinforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and widening its reach, SAWT will facilitate the effective participation of emerging MENA women leaders and grassroots activists in political spheres. It will also build their capacity and ensure their voices are heard through national, regional and international platforms for knowledge sharing, evidence-based advocacy and policy- making. Thus, enabling an inclusive women-owned homegrown approach and vision for what a feminist peace looks like.
REGIONAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
The American University of Beirut's Center for Inclusive Business and Leadership for Women (CIBL-W) will be leading on the project's regional fellowship program with the following strategic objectives:
1. Equip a cohort of women from the countries of intervention with the leadership skills and advocacy strategies to gain a seat at the table and influence peace and security in their context.
2. Promote a regional women-owned agenda for peace and security that is gender-inclusive.
3. Mobilize multi-sector national and transnational coalitions of women's groups and allies to promote an inclusive and feminist peace in the region.
4. Regain control over the narrative of peace and security by giving a name and a story to the women advancing gender-inclusive policies and practices.
The fellowship will consist of online modules and a week-long in-person courses on AUB campus. Fellows will consist of a pool of women activists and advocates who are engaged in impacting communities through work within/or across the public, private, nonprofit sectors and social movements working towards gender equality in countries of intervention.
This program will form three cohorts of women trained in (1) negotiation and mediation skills, (2) policy-writing and analysis and (3) advocacy and media skills – equipped with skills, knowledge and confidence to participate more meaningfully in political and peace processes, as well as policy influence.
More details soon...
MEET THE TEAM
> Principal Investigator and Project Director: Dr. Carmen Geha
> Project Advisor: Dr. Charlotte Karam
> Senior Program Manager and Research Affiliate at CIBL: Sarine Karajerjian