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Award for gender equality initiatives opens for applications

By Rana Husseini - Feb 08,2016 - Last updated at Feb 08,2016

Jordanian National Commission for Women Secretary General Salma Nims speaks at a ceremony in Amman on Monday to launch the MANARA Award for Gender Equality (Photo courtesy of MANARA Award for Gender Equality)

AMMAN — Local organisations and individuals in Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine working on projects in the field of gender equality have around 40 days to apply for the MANARA Award for Gender Equality, its organisers announced on Tuesday.

The award aims to highlight good practices in the area of gender equality and to promote sustainable development in the three countries.

It is a project under the umbrella of the Open Regional Fund, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German federal ministry for economic cooperation and development, according to a statement released by the organisers.

“Gender equality is a human right. As such, it is a central objective of the German Development Cooperation [GIZ],” said Nina Lutter, the development counsellor at the German embassy in Jordan, said at a ceremony held on Monday by the GIZ and the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) to officially launch the award.

The German official expressed hope that the MANARA Award would encourage civil society organisations in this field to continue their work and inspire others to follow their example.

Turning to Jordan, Lutter described the rate of female participation in the labour market as “surprising and disillusioning”.

“With a rate below 20 per cent, the share of women participation in the labour force in Jordan is the lowest in the region,” she said, adding that this low participation is impeding Jordan's economic development.

“If you think of the relatively high enrolment rates of girls in secondary and higher education, the costs to the society are enormous if we do not manage to have them participate in larger numbers in the labour market after completing their education,” she stressed.

JNCW Secretary General Salma Nims agreed, saying that “the economic participation of women in the labour market is a paradox”.

“We really do not know how we got to where we are now. We are going backwards on many levels, and we are unable to create the needed base to increase women’s participation in the labour market,” Nims said.

“We need to re-evaluate our strategies and at the same time face the extremist thoughts and ideologies in our society that could be a major contributor to the low female participation in the labour market and other social issues in general," she added.

Nims expressed hope that the award will contribute to change in this area.

Former Minister Asma Khader and Birzeit University sociologist Eileen Kuttab, who are among several jury members for the award, both said the prize would show women as capable of making a difference and creating positive initiatives, rather than merely as victims. 

MANARA is open to individuals and organisations that have found creative and effective ways to achieve gender equality within their fields and countries, the organisers' statement said. 

Up to three winners will receive capacity development support according to their needs. The competition will focus on economic empowerment, building capacities for decision making and knowledge production, according to the statement.

MANARA is managed and steered by a variety of pioneers in women's rights, former ministers, entrepreneurs and artists, who also form the jury for the competition from the three targeted countries, the organisers said. 

Applicants must be residents of Jordan, Lebanon or Palestine, aged 18 years or older, who are addressing gender inequality and can show a positive problem-solving approach.

They should have an ongoing initiative with finished results no later than two years away, according to the organisers. 


The application period concludes on March 20.

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