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On January 28, 2023, Joyce Azzam was announced as UN Women Lebanon National Goodwill Ambassador. The elite mountaineer, motivational speaker, and activist is a role model for women in sports and a symbol of hope and strength for women around the world. In partnership with UN Women, she will be supporting efforts to advance gender equality and women's rights in Lebanon.
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Ramzieh Hammoud, 52, is a Lebanese farmer from Nemrine in Akkar, the Northmost governorate of Lebanon, 119 Km from Beirut. At 33, Ramzieh faced the tragedy of losing her 3-year-old son to a fatal fall. Devastated, she resorted to agriculture to cope with her grief in her own way, and found hope in growing life in soil.
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Jana Abi Morshed, 58, has used theater to give a voice to girls in Lebanon for many years. She teaches performing arts, and uses it as a method to address the wounds of violence in Lebanon; to spur dialogue, to build peace and to support community harmony. In doing this with communities, she has witnessed first-hand the impact of violence and conflict on people’s lives, both at the national and local level. After leading a peace march in 2019, she decided to shift her work – from theatre to working exclusively on issues of cross-community dialogue and peace. Through a one-year scholarship from UN Women, in November 2021 she began a mediation with the University of Saint Joseph's Centre for Professional Mediation.
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UN Women and ESCWA jointly launched a report on women’s political participation entitled “Women at the Table: Insights from Lebanese Women in Politics”. The report analyses a set of seven in-depth interviews with female Lebanese political actors and explores the challenges and opportunities they faced in office.
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Today begins the global 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) (25 November - 10 December). On this occasion, the United Nations System in Lebanon, the Gender Working Group (GWG), the Gender-Based Violence Working Group (GBV WG) and the National Commission for Lebanese Women (NCLW) are joining forces, to create awareness and momentum to prevent and eliminate Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) and catalyze change.
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When women work, economies grow. Lebanon has a host of well-educated and talented women; empowering them to participate equally in the economic recovery presents an opportunity that Lebanon cannot afford to miss – it is “smart economics”. The socio-economic crisis has brought Lebanon to the brink of total collapse and deepened disparities in a country that was already one of the most unequal countries in the world . Those hit the hardest by the crisis are women and children in poor and vulnerable communities.
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Salma*, 26, a Lebanese mother of 3 girls, was 13 years old when she eloped with her 16-year-old next door neighbor. Looking to escape her abusive stepmother, she thought marriage would offer her liberty. Instead, it opened a door to further abuse and violence.
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The provision of care is changing in many different and profound ways around the world. Perhaps nowhere has the scale of change been as rapid and dramatic as in Lebanon where, traditionally, families have relied on under-paid workers through Lebanon’s kafala system to meet their care needs – but where this is becoming increasingly difficult with the country’s economic collapse.
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The Ambassador of Japan to Lebanon, H.E. Takeshi Okubo, UN Women, ACTED and social enterprise Roof & Roots, jointly inaugurated a women-led manufacturing unit in Jabal Mohsen, Tripoli, which is producing quality, low-cost sanitary pads for women and girls within the area. The manufacturing unit aims to provide a local and sustainable solution for meeting the increased demand for menstrual hygiene products that has been generated by Lebanon’s current crisis, while also promoting the Lebanese economy and women’s engagement in the labour market.
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Women are essential actors of peacebuilding. Although the efforts of women in building peace often go unnoticed, women across conflict-affected countries in the Arab region have been instrumental in diffusing tensions and mediating conflicts in their own communities. In Lebanon, women contribute to fulfilling peace in different ways. While Ruba seeks peace through leading a calm and happy life at home, Nada focuses on raising peaceful children who are supportive of women empowerment, and Raneen prioritizes hindering the spread of fake news to sustain a peaceful community.
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Two years after the deadly explosion that hit the Beirut Port on 4 August 2020, killing more than 200 people and displacing more than 300,000 men and women, people’s lives, including those of women and girls residing in the affected areas, are still severely impacted. To address the emerging needs of affected women and girls living in vulnerability, UN Women partnered with Mouvement Social, a national NGO, to provide vocational and life skills training for affected women as part of the “Emergency Livelihoods for Affected Marginalized Populations in the Beirut Explosion Area” project implemented jointly with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and generously supported by the Government of Austria.
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At 6:08 PM on 4 August 2020, two explosions hit the Port of Beirut, causing casualties and material damage and severely impacting residents. As women and girls with increased vulnerabilities are a sizable portion of the affected population, UN Women partnered with the Lebanese Union for People with Physical Disabilities (LUPD) to provide income-generating jobs to women with disabilities through “Access Kitchen,” a community kitchen established in Beirut. This work is supported by the Government of Austria as part of a joint project, “Emergency Livelihoods for Affected Marginalized Populations in the Beirut Explosion Area,” implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
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The Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) together with the United Nations in Lebanon has launched the second window of its financial support to eight women-led organizations in Lebanon that are working on community peacebuilding in Lebanon, as part of strengthening their institutional capacity and maximizing peacebuilding results.
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Fadilah Yassin Suleiman fled Syria with her family in 2016, 5 years after the war broke out. The 35 years old mother of two lost her husband two years after arriving in Lebanon and has been the sole caregiver for her family ever since. After joining a UN Women initiative as a manufacturing trainee in a unit producing quality and affordable menstrual hygiene items with the social enterprise Roof and Roots in Jabal Mohsen, Tripoli, she has since regained her confidence to trust in herself to succeed and felt empowered to stand up for herself and better protect her children.
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The Government of Australia and UN Women in Lebanon have signed an agreement to provide $2.5m Australian Dollars to deliver humanitarian assistance to support vulnerable women of any nationality, and their families, to access emergency livelihood opportunities, while ensuring access to protection support and basic sanitary necessities.
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Committed to being better prepared for disasters in future, Major Fadi Touma and his platoon participated in the ‘Disaster Management Accountability’ project, which brought together ISF members and women affected by the Beirut Blast to develop disaster management improvement plans. The project was led by civil society organization Auberge Beity, funded through the United Nations Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) by the Government of Germany, with technical support provided by UN Women.
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Itab Bayoud, 46, a Lebanese woman and mother of four has dedicated her life to caring for her family. Determined to gain independence and help make ends meet, she took a job with the social enterprise Roof and Roots in Jabal Mohsen, Tripoli, which was starting a new line producing quality and affordable menstrual hygiene products. Trained as a manufacturer, Itab reflects on her work and challenging social taboos around women’s reproductive health.
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(UN Women, Centre Professionnel de Médiation (CPM), Government of Finland)- UN Women and Centre Professionnel de Médiation (CPM) at the Saint Joseph University (USJ) in Beirut, Lebanon today launched a manual for training women peacebuilders working on conflict prevention and management in Lebanon, developed with the generous support from the Government of the Finland and the Rebecca Dykes Foundation. The launch took place at the Social Sciences Campus of USJ in Beirut, gathering over 50 representatives of the international community in Lebanon, civil society, mediation and peace building networks, and academia.
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The Government of Japan and UN Women in Lebanon have signed an agreement to provide $1,294,388.00 USD to support vulnerable Lebanese women and Syrian refugees to meet urgent socio-economic needs. This support will allow vulnerable women of any nationality, and their families, to access emergency livelihood opportunities, while ensuring access to quality affordable sanitary products and hot meals.
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Hiba Mohammad Hussein, 34 years old, is a mother of two from Tripoli, north Lebanon. In 2015, she took over as the family provider when her husband was hurt in clashes. She had been working to make ends meet as a driving instructor, but this had become difficult with the increasing price of fuel. In 2021 she began working with a joint social enterprise led in partnership with the Lebanese NGO, Roof and Roots Association, UN Women and ACTED, making sanitary products and raising awareness on reproductive health.