This program examines the role that civil society actors play in shaping and making policy. Specifically, the program focuses on the following aspects: how civil society actors organize themselves into advocacy coalitions; how policy networks are formed to influence policy processes and outcomes; and how policy research institutes contribute their research into policy. The program also explores the media’s expanding role, which some claim has catalyzed the Uprisings throughout the region.
Previous work of the program involved conducting several research and knowledge dissemination activities related to women’s status and rights in Lebanon and the Arab world. For instance, the program led a multinational project to explore the impact civil society organizations’ advocacy targeting policies related to women’s rights in Morocco, Lebanon, Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia, and Egypt. In Lebanon, the research team focused on studying Law 293 and the efficacy of this law in protecting women from domestic abuse. Other studies investigated the effect of civil society activism on establishing policies related to child marriage in Yemen, and women’s rights to inherit lands in Morocco. The project also included case studies about economic empowerment of women in Egypt, health rights of women in Tunisia, and granting nationality for families of women married to non-Jordanian men in Jordan. These case studies analyzed the process and the nature of policy-making as well as religious and patriarchal influences on women’s rights. These studies also explored the effects of the Arab Uprisings and the impact of political uncertainties on developing policies to promote women’s rights.
Conduct a systematic analysis on issues relating to the role of civil society in the Arab countries that witnessed political and social changes.
Explore the effect of the civil society on tracing policy change and improving public awareness in relation to social, political and economic rights.
Facilitate communication between Arab civil society actors and the governmental entities responsible for current issues.
Trace policy research institutes’ role in translating knowledge into policies.
Accomplish rigorous research on issues related to gender and women’s rights in the Arab world.
Fatima Moussawi, Program Coordinator