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Three Palestinian NGOs nab gender equality award co-organised by Jordan’s commission for women

By Rana Husseini - May 15,2016 - Last updated at May 15,2016

AMMAN — Three Palestinian women organisations have won the Manara Award for Gender Equality, the organisers announced on Sunday.

The candidates were chosen from 60 applications that were shortlisted to nine organisations from Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon, reviewed by a regional jury of activists and gender experts over the past few months to find the most qualified.

Each of these initiatives was invited to present its work to an audience at a ceremony, held under the patronage of HRH Princess Basma.

The Manara award 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 in partnership with the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW).

It aims to highlight good practices in the area of gender equality by showcasing positive initiatives from the Middle East through a regional competition and encouraging gender advocates to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

The award, which lists three categories, targets individuals and organisations that conducted gender equality projects in the social, political, economic, research and filming/documentation fields with the aim of supporting and promoting the local community and to focus on the positive image of women.

The prize consists of 10,000 euros for the three initiatives.

For the category “Women as active citizens — capacity development for decision making”, the winning organisation was the “Shadow Councils”, a Palestinian initiative that seeks to empower women in 30 countries to learn how the decision-making process works, through involving them in discussions with decision makers, and exposing their achievements via traditional and social media.

In the second category that focuses on creative ways to increase decent and gainful (self) employment of women, the Palestinian initiative “Carpentry House for Women” implemented by the Association of Women’s Action for Training and Rehabilitation won.  

Its project focuses on introducing women to the marketing, production and development of intelligent furniture through training.

The last category “rethinking gender equality and women’s rights in contexts” was clinched by the Palestinian organisation “Initiatives for Change”, which is led by the society of women graduates in the Gaza Strip and seeks to enhance the societal participation of young Palestinian women through capacity building and providing them with social media platforms to voice out their issues. 

Earlier in the day, Minister of Labour Nidal Katamine spoke the finalists from Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, saying that women in Jordan and elsewhere in the region “have fought hard to learn and be productive within their communities and families.”

However, Katamine added that female economic participation in the Arab world was 30 per cent and in Jordan it stood at 12.6 per cent according to reports from 2014 and 2015.

“We realise that the percentage of Jordanian women's economic participation falls at the bottom of the ladder worldwide and we have adopted several measures to improve the situation,” the minister said.

Some of the measures, according to the minister, include sending inspection teams to hundreds of private sector companies to make sure “they are abiding by Article 72 that calls for the provision of crèches in the workplace, and help companies realise the importance of such facilities”.

The ministry also established several factories in 15 remote areas to encourage female participation, “since some studies indicated that one of the reasons women are not participating in the labour market was because of living in remote areas”.

“These factories succeeded in hiring 3,400 women and the plan is to build more factories to increase the number of female workers to reach 5,000,” Katamine said.

GIZ Country Director for Jordan and Lebanon Michaela Baur also addressed the finalists, saying that every society in the world “has a deficit in gender equality”.

“It  is hereby crucial to understand that different societies should have the opportunity to follow different paths in their pursuit of gender equality, but their basic aims should be the same,” Baur told the gathering.

Gender equality is not just women´s business, it has impact on both, women and men alike, Baur added.

"We are proud that Manara’s framework was created in partnership with regional actors, and that Manara rewards local initiatives in Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories.”

JNCW Secretary General Salma Nims said the award works to encourage the sustainability and continuity of many similar projects in the region.

 

“This award will help secure a better future for gender and social equality,” Nims added.

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