RDF announces its 2019 project - promoting women's roles in conflict prevention and resolution

RDF is delighted to announce the winner of its second call for proposals - UN Women, for its proposal “Fostering Stabilisaton and Social Cohesion in Lebanon through Women’s Engagement in Conflict Prevention and Management”.

The Foundation received over 70 proposals, which were reviewed by RDF directors and external international development experts with regional experience in a three-tier review process. A large number of the bids received were of very high quality, so selecting a project to support was a difficult decision.

The winning project aims to promote women’s roles in promoting social cohesion and conflict management through mediation. Throughout 2019, it will provide skills training and on-the-ground support to 100 women mediators, selected from diverse groups including Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian refugees, people with disabilities, and youth in South Lebanon. The aim is to create networks of women mediators at the local level in conflict-prone regions of Lebanon to ensure the inclusion of gender perspectives in conflict management to decrease tensions and promote peace, stabilisation and greater social cohesion.

UN Women will carry-out this project in collaboration with UNIFIL (which has outreach to communities in South Lebanon), UNRWA (whose mandate is to support Palestinian refugees) and the Center for Professional Mediation at the University of Saint Joseph. The project will also collaborate with women’s civil society organisations, municipalities and governorates, political parties, the national women’s machinery and the Lebanese Ministry of Interior.

The Foundation is very excited about this project, not only because this type of project - one that aims to increase women’s participation in dispute resolution forums - is relatively new in Lebanon, but because Rebecca herself was deeply concerned about the causes of conflicts between people and communities, and passionate to find ways to heal them. We feel this project reflects Rebecca’s deep commitment to peacemaking.

Into the Light - private view

Patrons the Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP and His Excellency the Ambassador of Lebanon Rami Mortada, and Dr. Ghattas Khoury, the Lebanese Minister of Culture, representing the Lebanese Prime Minister, welcomed guests to the private view of Into the Light on 13 December 2018. Nearly one year following Rebecca’s senseless loss, friends, colleagues and supporters of the Foundation gathered for an evening of inspiring artwork from artists Tom Young and Ed Jonkler, heart-warming speeches from our patrons, and uplifting seasonal music from the Peace and Prosperity Trust.

We are incredibly proud of and grateful for this event. It was a beautiful tribute to Rebecca and, in the words of the Secretary of State, the care she had for people and love that she felt.

Delighted to announce the 'Into the Light' exhibition catalogue

The exhibition will run at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery from 10-15 December 2018, with an artists’ evening taking place on Monday 10th December from 6pm.

To learn more about the exhibition and the beautiful artworks on display please find by clicking here ‘Into the Light’ catalogue.

Exhibition Invite

We look forward to welcoming you next week at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery on Pall Mall.

Funds raised through the exhibition will be donated to RDF.

Into the Light - an art exhibition in aid of RDF

Almost a year on from Rebecca’s tragic death, the Foundation is hosting an exhibition displaying paintings of the places she loved and photographs of the humanitarian work she was passionate about, by artists Tom Young and Ed Jonkler. The exhibition will run at the Royal Opera Arcade Gallery from 10-15 December 2018, with an artists’ evening taking place on the opening night.

The show will celebrate Rebecca’s work in Lebanon by two artists who knew Rebecca during her time there. Young’s paintings, intricately layered with glazes of watercolour and thick layers of impasto oil, are inspired by the places Rebecca fell in love with, from the Cedar forests of the Shouf Mountains to the ancient Qadisha Valley. Jonkler’s never before seen photographs, taken earlier this year, show the great variety of life in Shatila and Bourjel-Barajneh camps in Beirut. Rebecca ran numerous programs aiming to improve the living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Shatila.

Patron of the exhibition MP and Secretary of State for International Development and Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt says:

"I am honoured to be the Patron of ‘Into the Light’, celebrating Lebanon and its enduring friendship with the United Kingdom. The exhibition will bring into the light the beauty and resilience of Lebanon. In this way, it is a fitting tribute to Rebecca, who dedicated her life to helping communities overcome great adversity. I am proud to support the Foundation, which carries on Rebecca's important work.”

Funds raised through the exhibition will be donated to RDF.

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100 run for Rebecca in the 2018 Great North Run, Newcastle

On 9 September 2018, over 100 of Rebecca’s friends and family travelled to Newcastle to take part in the world’s biggest half-marathon, the SimplyHealth Great North Run, for the Foundation.

Among the runners was Government Minister Alistair Burt MP and a number of Becky's HMG colleagues who have all been left inspired by her work and share her ambition for a kinder and safer world, including one colleague who travelled all the way from Lebanon. Also running was Rebecca’s mother and cousin.

The runners raised in excess of £70,000 on the day. These funds will go towards RDF’s project with KAFA and Christian Aid to protect women in Lebanon who are victims or at risk of gender-based violence through funding activities at safe shelters such as counselling and vocational training.

The fastest of Rebecca’s runners, Jonathan Henderson, completed the race in an impressive 1:17, placing him 55th overall!

After the race, a large number of runners and supporters gathered at The Cluny pub for a well-deserved post-run snack and drink. Music was provided by Rebecca’s cousin, DJ George Hartshorn.

It was a very special occasion where those close to Rebecca were brought together some nine months after her death not only to remember her but to raise money for a cause that she was passionate about.

The Foundation is incredibly proud of and grateful to its runners, and wishes them all the best in their recovery from the gruelling race.

The Great North Run was broadcast live on BBC One on 9 September, between 9:30 and 13:30. Some of Rebecca’s runners were interviewed just after 12:00.

Podcast concerning RDF's project with CA and KAFA

On 16 August 2018, RDF hosted a webinar with Christian Aid and KAFA at which supporters were invited to listen to those working on ground in Lebanon speak about RDF's first project. The speakers discussed the issue of sexual and gender-based violence in Lebanon, and the impact that the project was having on the lives of the beneficiaries of RDF's project. A podcast and slides can be found here.

Project Summary and Webinar

RDF is pleased to release a summary of our project with Christian Aid and Lebanese women's charity KAFA to protect women at risk of gender-based violence in Lebanon. It can be found by clicking here

RDF also invites its supporters to a lunchtime webinar on 16 August 2018 at which supporters can speak directly to locally-based staff about the challenge of gender-based violence in Lebanon, and the work of RDF's project to address this.

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Queen's Birthday Party, hosted by the British Embassy in Beirut

On 21 June 2018, the RDF team attended the spectacular Queen's Birthday Party celebrations in Lebanon organised by the British Embassy. RDF shared information about its work with a new audience. It also unveiled our collaboration with Beirut-based British artist, Tom Young, through the exhibition of some of his paintings from a beautiful new collection inspired by Rebecca's love of Lebanon and London. Those paintings are now on sale in support of RDF and will be exhibited at exhibitions in Beirut and London in the near future.

Rebecca Dykes Foundation announces recipient of its first funding project in Lebanon

RDF has announced the successful first round of applications for funding.

The winning project is a collaboration with Christian Aid and local women’s NGO KAFA and will work to protect victims of sexual and gender-based violence and to promote women’s empowerment at KAFA’s Shelter and Support Centre. The project will work with both Lebanese and Syrian women in the Lebanon.

The project will take place in Lebanon between June and December this year. The primary objective of the project is to ensure the long-term provision of protection services at KAFA’s safe Shelter in Mount Lebanon, a space dedicated to sexual and gender based violence survivors including victims of sex trafficking (the majority being Syrians and Lebanese), labour trafficking and emergency cases of domestic violence. This includes empowerment workshops, counselling for residents and improvements to facilities. The project will also secure women across Lebanon with access to a 24/7 emergency helpline.

Activities will also take place at KAFA’S Adolescent Friendly Space and Support Centre in the Bekaa region – a region hosting the biggest number of arriving refugees in the Lebanon since 2010. The collaborative project will include running group support activities and protection services for girls who are survivors or at high risk of sexual and gender based violence.

The RDF team have worked with Rebecca’s colleagues and project partners to identify where the funds raised can have the most impact, and best further the causes and values Rebecca held dear. A call for proposals was sent out to a number of potential project partners in April and the Foundation received a total of fifteen applications for funding.

Harriet Maes, Rebecca’s sister and founder of RDF says:

Rebecca was committed to humanitarian causes and she worked tirelessly to make the world a kinder, fairer, safer and more stable place. Her work in Lebanon was focused on improving the lives of refugees and impoverished Lebanese people, and helping these vulnerable communities to become more peaceful and resilient.  The Foundation team are committed to continuing that support and are hugely grateful for the donations which have allowed us to start this process in Rebecca’s honour.