HUMANITARIAN ADVOCATES PROGRAM

Women-focused civil society organizations (CSOs) are unsung heroes in humanitarian settings. They are first responders, community leaders, and agents of change – but are still overlooked and underfunded when it matters most.

Women Deliver’s Humanitarian Advocates Program partners with five amazing women-focused civil society organizations from Lebanon who lead humanitarian activities for girls and women across the country. These five organizations receive training and speaking opportunities to become stronger and more visible advocates for girls and women in their communities.

WHY LEBANON?

The needs of refugee girls and women are immense. 

Lebanon hosts 1.5 million registered Syrian and Palestinian refugees, more than a quarter of the country’s population. Women and children make up 80% of the refugee population, yet services for girls and women – including for their sexual and reproductive health – are still largely out of reach or unavailable.

The power of local women-focused organizations is palpable.

The gender equality movement in Lebanon is vibrant and diverse. From reproductive care providers to community advocates, women-focused organizations in Lebanon are working hard to power progress and drive change. They are unsung heroes who must be engaged and consulted in all efforts to drive gender-sensitive humanitarian action at the local, national, regional, and global levels. 

The opportunities for real change and impact are irresistible. 

Women Deliver will use our role as a catalyst and connector, working with women-focused civil society organizations in Lebanon to access the platforms, people, and resources they need to unlock their full power. These organizations are already incredible change-makers – and it’s time to let them lead.

THE LEBANON FAMILY PLANNING ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENT AND FAMILY EMPOWERMENT (LFPADE)

LFPADE is the first and oldest organization working to expand access to family planning services and information in Lebanon. They provide sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, protection from gender-based violence, economic empowerment programs, and political participation initiatives for girls and women throughout the country, including refugees. LFPADE knows that access to SRH services improves the lives and futures of girls and women, and in turn benefits their families and communities – a message they want to bring to the global stage.

We want to highlight our work on gender equality and reproductive and sexual health not only in Lebanon but at the global level as well. Cecilia Chami, LFPADE

LFPADE’s work shows that providing safe access to reproductive health services is feasible, even in the most complex environments.

In communities, LFPADE conducts awareness sessions to promote safe motherhood and family planning.

THE LEBANESE WOMEN DEMOCRATIC GATHERING (RDFL)

The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering – or RDFL – is a feminist, grassroots organization working to advance gender equality through advocacy, networking, and mobilization efforts across Lebanon. RDFL focuses strongly on addressing the rising rates of gender-based violence (GBV) in Lebanon, including through the provision of legal and psychosocial services to support survivors. RDFL also currently leads a nationwide campaign to eliminate child marriage by pushing for a new civil law that raises the minimum age of marriage. With access to international platforms, they hope to share their expertise on GBV and build international support to eliminate child marriage in Lebanon.

Real change comes from the grassroots level, and this is what organizations like RDFL have proved through over more than 40 years of feminist struggle. Hayat Mirshad, RDFL

As a grassroots membership organization, RDFL works to enhance coordination and solidarity among women’s networks to create a more powerful feminist movement.

MARSA SEXUAL HEALTH CENTER

Marsa is a nonprofit sexual health center that provides comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and education in a safe, non-discriminatory, confidential, and inclusive environment. They serve anyone who walks through their doors, including LGBTQ+ individuals, youth, and refugee girls and women. Marsa has researched and documented best practices and solutions for providing safe access to SRH services in humanitarian situations – and hopes to share this expertise with the international humanitarian community.

In Lebanon, Marsa has become a local expert on SRH while working with women and girls. Diana Abou Abbas, Marsa

Within the gap of governmental coverage and support, communities have put their trust in Marsa, and they listen and cater to their needs within the local and often challenging environment.

PALESTINIAN WOMEN’S HUMANITARIAN ORGANIZATION (PWHO)

The Palestinian Women’s Humanitarian Organization (PWHO) is a grassroots organization that supports Palestinian and Syrian women and their families who live in refugee camps in Lebanon. Rooted in human rights principles, PWHO knows that refugee women are powerful survivors who can lift up their communities. PWHO is one of the few health providers working in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, where they operate health centers that provide services to anyone who walks through their doors. They also provide education programs for women, children, and youth, and leadership workshops to support women’s political participation. PWHO advocates for refugee girls and women to access the same rights as everyone else – a message they hope to bring to international audiences.

We want to raise awareness to the social, economic, educational, health, and cultural issues faced by refugees and refugee women in particular. Olfat Mahmoud, PWHO

PWHO’s education programs include remedial and accelerated learning programs for children and youth.

The women who work at PWHO come from diverse backgrounds and share an unwavering commitment to help advance the health and rights of refugee girls and women.

WOMEN NOW FOR DEVELOPMENT

Women Now for Development is a women-led, grassroots organization that works to empower girls and women in Syria and Lebanon. They provide services and programs that promote women’s public engagement and political participation, support women and families affected by trauma, build women’s independence and confidence, and elevate women’s voices. Women Now for Development also conducts research and advocacy on the gendered impacts of conflict and displacement. They know that meaningful engagement of girls and women is essential to achieving full and equal rights and a better future for Syria – and want this message heard by international decision-makers.

Women-led organizations give a powerful voice to local women, through which they can express themselves and play a part in the international decision-making process. Leadership Team, Women Now for Development

Through their participation programs, Women Now for Development provides resources and tools to help Syrian women participate in public and political life.

Women Now for Development also provides safe spaces for Syrian women and their families to learn and connect.

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