Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation
This needs assessment, conducted over the period of July-November 2013, outlines the capacity needs of women’s organisations and activists in the West Asia region in the face of continuing conflict following the revolutionary upheavals of 2011. Based on both primary and secondary research, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) presents here some of the obstacles to the development of women’s organisations in ten countries in this region, as identified by participants in this study, and presents recommendations as to how it can help address these deficits in future programmes.
As one of the leading transnational feminist networks operating in the Global South, WLUML is expertly placed to undertake such an assessment, and was able to garner information from our vast network of women’s rights activists working within their local contexts. Here, we discuss the changes the region has been experiencing over the past nearly three years, looking specifically at the ten countries under assessment, and how these changes have affected women’s rights activists and activism. We also give a background to the work of various women’s organisations and new-comer initiatives within these contexts; those who participated in this study.
Through a discussion of our objectives, methodology and challenges, this assessment puts forward not only the specific goals and how we sought to achieve them, but also the inherent obstacles to collecting data during this transitional period. These sections are followed by a brief background to all the countries under assessment, what they have specifically gone through during the so-called ‘Arab Revolutions’, and what is the landscape of women’s rights organisations in that context. Following on, we go into a detailed analysis of the data collected during the interview phase, and present recommendations based on the findings.
Prior to undertaking this needs assessment, WLUML undertook a scoping study of the region, which identified the main actors in women’s rights activism in the ten countries, the international conventions each country is a party to, and the main trends impeding women’s rights across the region. This was a crucial step to understanding our starting point, and formed the first phase of this three-phase project; the third of which will be to propose activities based on the recommendations of this assessment.