Fostering Stabilisation and Social Cohesion in Lebanon through Women’s Engagement in Conflict Prevention and Management (2019)

On 25 March 2019 RDF announced the winner of its second call for proposals. This was UN Women, with a proposal entitled “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.

The winning project aims to promote women’s roles in promoting social cohesion and conflict management through mediation. 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 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.

Protecting Victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence and promoting Women's Empowerment at KAFA's Shelter (2018)

RDF’s first project took place between June and December 2018, in collaboration with Christian Aid and local Lebanese women’s NGO KAFA. The project provided support to victims of sexual and gender-based violence (“SGBV”) and promoted women’s empowerment at KAFA’s Shelter and Support Centre. It was awarded pursuant to a two-round bidding process involving the review of a total of fifteen applications by panels comprised of RDF directors and external international development experts.

The primary objective of the project was to ensure the long-term provision of protection services at KAFA’s safe Shelter in Mount Lebanon, a space dedicated to SGBV survivors including victims of sex trafficking, labour trafficking and emergency cases of domestic violence. The services included empowerment workshops, medical care, legal assistance and counselling. Significant refurbishment works were also undertaken at the Shelter, including the installation of a new power supply and air conditioning system. Throughout the project, a total of 47 female victims of SGBV were supported at the Shelter, including 39 women who had been trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour.

The project also secured vulnerable women across Lebanon with access to a 24/7 emergency helpline. During the duration of the project, the helpline helped address 194 urgent calls related to the potential trafficking of women in Lebanon.

The project also funded group support activities and protection services, including social counselling, therapy sessions and legal assistance, for girls at high risk of SGBV 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. During the project period these services were provided to a total of 39 survivors of SGBV, including 10 cases of early or forced marriage.

On 16 August 2018, RDF hosted a webinar with Christian Aid and KAFA at which those working on the project on the ground explained the impact the project was having on women's lives. A podcast and slides can be found here.