Empowering Palestinian Women Participation in Public Life in Marginalized Areas of the West Bank

 

E’tibar is a Palestinian University student living in the Jordan Valley. She is working towards a mathematics degree which, due to financial constraints she has not been able to finish.

Alongside her studies, E’tibar has volunteered in her community for the last ten years. She is the elected head of the Village Women’s Association which was established in 2007. With other women volunteers, her energy has been directed into many essential aspects of village life.

Impressed by her proactivity and success, the Community Resilience Development Programme (CRDP), implemented by UNDP with funds from the Governments of Sweden, Austria, and Norway, has given E’tibar a four-month contract to work as a full-time Gender Coordinator for the Hiwar Centre for Youth and Women’s Empowerment. This in turn will provide E’tibar with the financial resources to finish her degree.

Etibar will initially train with the Hiwar Centre, and then run training workshops in her designated area. Hiwar which means ‘dialogue’ in Arabic, is a Non-Government Organisation which works to empower women and youth in the community. Women are encouraged to participate in local elections. This is not a traditional role for village women, so they are being given training by the Hiwar Centre. Training includes education on the different roles in a village council, communications skills, laws of municipality, strategic planning and gender development. Village women are also learning how to identify needs, prioritise them based on available funding and deliver an effective argument for those needs. With these tools, the women are energised to take control of their own destiny.

Since its inception in September 2012, the Community Resilience and Development Programme (CRDP) supports the resilience of Palestinians living in various marginalized communities in Area C and East Jerusalem. Led by the Palestinian Government, CRDP is funded by the Governments of Sweden, Austria, and Norway for the amount of over USD 24 million, and implemented by UNDP. CRDP projects aim at improving access to public services, economic and social development, and empowering local institutions.

To date, a total of 499 women at least has directly benefited from economic empowerment activates implemented by an array of implementing partners through the CRDP. These women have in turn supported at least 2994 family members through permanent or temporary employment or income generating activities since 2013.