The humanitarian project led by ActionAid Arab Region has been targeting women and the youth in Lebanon from Jib Janine and Baalbek between 2018 and 2021.
During the four years programming, ActionAid Arab Region and its local partners (the Lebanese Democratic Women’s Gathering - RDFL) worked on empowering women and young people through building their capacities and skills, as well as raising their understanding of the humanitarian and protection related topics. The trainings enabled them to act in a collective way with all stakeholders to reduce vulnerabilities in their communities. Through the Women Safe Space (WSS) and psychosocial regular activities, women felt more confident to take actions and ability to change for a better situation.
”Being a part of a social work or association work is no longer considered a hobby, but rather a case of proof of freedom especially for women and girls” said a Women Safe Space user.
Women Safe Spaces
It is worth to say that in COVID-19 pandemic and strict lockdown in Lebanon, AAAR noticed a high demand from women to re-open the safe space and continue the regular activities. These requests show the interest of women to have a safe space to visit and gather and its importance for them.
Furthermore, the WSS in Lebanon are located in areas where no other WSS exist, even with the presence of other organizations. The WSS also played a role of incubator for women and youth by providing several types of services that supported them on various personal and social levels.
The project started with the mobilization of the women force. The targeted category included an age group ranging from 18 to 60 years old. The women attended periodic awareness sessions about GBV, discrimination, and violence. In addition to the activities carried out at the center, training sessions were also organized for the women and the youth. They benefited from these sessions and became qualified to lead other sessions. The Youth project included photography, computer, and English courses for the youth. Overall, this project had a great impact on women and youth. They became empowered, and some were able to find jobs.
“When I first came to Lebanon, I didn't know anyone and I wasn't getting out of the house, until I got to know about Action Aid and the services it provides, ranging from psychological and economic support to women empowerment. At the beginning, I was very shy, never participating, not talking to anyone, but after several sessions, my capacities started to improve and I started breaking my hesitance through my participation and interaction during sessions. For me, the trainings were useful and helped become stronger and bolder, which was also reflected on my family and daily life. Action Aid supported me a lot and I can say it made me the person I am now (a strong, conscious, bold, educated, influential and advocate for women rights)”. Women Protection Action Group member from Syria, 37 years old.