The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Project
The WILPF MENA project operates on the Middle East and North Africa, and is divided into four broad interlinked components, or expected outcomes. Each component is part of an integrated approach that will enhance the capacity of civil society organisations to translate their reality into human rights terms, to promote peace, justice and disarmament from a gender perspective at the national and regional levels, and to produce evidence-based analysis of women’s peace and security concerns that will not only enhance local knowledge but also contribute to emerging debates and analysis at the international level. The aim is further to strengthen the way women civil society organise, directly participate and provide accurate information to early warning, during conflict and transition processes into relevant mechanisms at the national and international level.
In the MENA project, we engage with partners in eight countries: Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon and Morocco. We have one national partner in each country, except in Syria where we have worked with 10 organisations to draft the summary report for the Universal Periodic Review of Syria.
We engage with our partners in the following ways:
Ending Discrimination and Reinforcing Women’s Peace and Security in the MENA Region:
Since the start of the WILPF MENA project in 2012, rapid political changes have taken place in the region, and with severe implications for the work of women civil society organisations and women’s rights activists. Common for women activists and women civil society organisations across the region is that they continue to be targeted, discriminated against, excluded in decision-making processes, both in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and political transition processes.
During the project, country specific strategies are developed closely with our partners and the approach is a combination of direct conflict crisis response and engagement in more long-term processes to enhance and strengthen the women peace and security agenda at the national, regional and international level.
Cross-conflict exchange and feminist movement building:
Over the past three years, WILPF has brought women from different conflicts together to share experiences and lessons learnt, to develop their abilities to organise for change, and to bring their voices into the debate at all levels.
We have brought women from Syria to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and from Iraq and Syria to Turkey, to work together and share experiences. This type of initiative has a multiplier effect: it builds solidarity and understanding and reenergises the women who participate, including those of us who do not live in conflict zones. It provides vital information as to the reality of their conflict and so helps to indicate opportunities and mechanisms for problem solving and eventual resolution.
Research on disarmament and the impact of weapons:
We work very closely with our disarmament program to develop and translate materials on how arms transfers and different types of weapons increase the volatile security situation in the MENA region and affect women disproportionately. Check our publications page to read our publications in English and Arabic.
Engagement with treaty bodies:
We train and support our partners to engage with the international human rights bodies in the international fora, such as the different treaty bodies and the Universal Periodic Review. Read more about our engagement with our Syrian partners in the Universal Periodic Review of Syria.