Partners for Justice

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April 5, 2022

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:

Since 2019, Search for Common Ground (Search) is implementing the Partners for Justice project which aims at reducing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Lebanon by transforming attitudes of women, girls, men, and boys towards patriarchal norms that define masculinities, and addressing the root causes of VAWG in public and private spheres. In close coordination and collaboration with grass-root civil society organizations (CSOs), this is being accomplished through 1) empowering men and boys to positively engage with women and become allies and champions of gender equality and prevention of VAWG, and 2) promoting a shift in communities’ attitudes in target areas around the permissibility of, and assumptions related to VAWG.

Representatives from CSOs, youth leaders and media stakeholders built their skills and capacities on mainstreaming gender sensitivity and positive and equitable masculinities in their work through a series of organizational and programmatic training workshops. They then leveraged those across a number of activities including a youth-led research, a stakeholders’ mapping, a national awareness raising media campaign, and grass-rooted initiatives on gender, masculinities and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

In the project’s third iteration, implemented from October 2022 to December 2023, local CSO partners and their representatives of youth leaders will leverage the acquired knowledge and skills by conducting a mapping and engaging key stakeholders, especially male members, in the development and implementation of community-based action plans to ensure the creation of real males allies across Lebanon who support women and girls in the prevention and response to VAWG. This will enshrine and operationalize the identified gender and masculinities’ priorities within communities which will foster the project’s sustainability. Furthermore, and building on the results of the above-mentioned activities and following different consultations with CSOs and key mapped stakeholders, Search will develop policy briefs to draw engagement from higher levels of governance in Lebanon such as ministries and institutions in the men engagement and masculinities’ work that is being done.

Those activities and their synergies will ensure an in-depth horizontal and vertical engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the prevention and countering of VAWG in Lebanon, creating bottom up and top up collective movements for change.

CONTEXT:

Despite the various efforts made in Lebanon to achieve gender equality and end violence against women and girls(VAWG), the picture remains bleak. In 2022, Lebanon ranked 119th out of 156 countries in the world on the global gender gap index, and 2nd among 19 MENA countries. Patriarchal social structures and practices, as well as communities’ lack of awareness on women’s rights, limit women’s access to economic resources and leadership positions in the political and social spheres, while simultaneously codifying discrimination in public policy. Furthermore, traditional social images of male superiority and power imbalances still foster attitudes and behaviors that sustain gender inequality, violence, and discrimination.

THEORY OF CHANGE OF THE PROJECT:

IF men and boys are provided with safe spaces where they can deconstruct and change their own perceptions and attitudes around the socially built norms of masculinities that push men and boys to play the role of “protector” and “controller” of women and girls in the public and private space, AND they understand and embrace the role men and boys can play to contribute to shifting communities’ perceptions and attitudes toward the permissibility of VAWG, THEN they will become women’s and girls’ allies, model positive and equitable behaviors, ultimately contributing to changing negative social norms around violence against women and girls in Lebanon.

This will be achieved through implementation of the following key activities:

  • Research and baseline assessment of leaders of youth-led and youth-focused organizations and community members on research and media skills and on exploring and analyzing narratives of masculinities;
  • Training of selected leaders of youth-led and youth-focused organizations on the Common Ground Approach;
  • Training of selected leaders of youth-led organizations on Gender Equality & Equitable Masculinities followed by mentoring & coaching sessions;
  • Training on safe identification and referral of cases of violence that youth leaders may encounter on the ground;
  • Participatory youth-led gender & masculinities research followed by a research sharing knowledge workshop where the youth leaders will share and jointly reflect on the findings and recommendations of the research;
  • Cascade of youth-led training on gender and masculinities in targeted communities;
  • Youth-led initiatives that aim at raising awareness of community members on VAWG and equitable masculinities, including the equitable and positive role that men and boys can play and adopt in topics related to sexual and reproductive health and rights;
  • Media for social change workshop where youth leaders and media stakeholders will be equipped with gender sensitivity and non-adversarial awareness raising skills to create and develop a national campaign that promotes equitable partnerships and masculinities and the reduction of VAWG;
  • National awareness raising media campaign which will include theater plays and films’ public screening that will trigger and unite discussions in communities around themes such as gender identities and roles, VAWG, male allies and role models (equitable masculinities), etc. Multiple screenings will raise awareness in communities and convene community members, policy makers, political party representatives, and authorities;
  • CSO-led stakeholders mapping that will foster CSOs and youth engagement and provide skills for youth employment. The identified community stakeholders will be part of the project’s broader community mobilization through the CSOs’ implementation of grants which will include the implementation of dialogues, action plans, cafe chats for men and collaborative initiatives; and
  • Roundtables and policy briefs emphasizing crucial bottom-up and top-down engagement of men and boys as allies in combating VAWG and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The policy briefs resulting from the above-mentioned discussions will be circulated among donors, civil society actors and authorities to draw engagement from higher levels of governance in Lebanon such as ministries and institutions and share lessons learned and best practices about working on men engagement and masculinities in protection programming.

CHANGE DONE SO FAR:

  • Youth-led and youth-focused organizations and relevant stakeholders are able to champion gender, masculinities and SRHR programming in a collaborative and inclusive manner
  • Targeted communities and actors are engaged in joint dialogues and reflections on gender norms, masculinities and SRHR in order to reinforce social cohesion
  • Media stakeholders and youth-led and youth-focused organizations are better able to address negative and unjust social dynamics that justify violence against women and girls

EXPECTED CHANGE WE ARE LOOKING FOR:

  • The public audience targeted in the media campaign shift perceptions toward gender identities and roles,masculinities and VAWG
  • Higher level institutions and academics are engaged with local stakeholders including municipalities, CSOs, and youth on issues related to VAWG, men engagement and masculinities

Download Project Description PDF


Check more about the project:

POSITIVE MASCULINITY IN ACTION!

WHEN YOUTH  ALL TOGETHER STEP UPFRONT TOWARD
#GENDEREQUALITY AND #POSITIVEMASCULINITY

WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN A TRAINING ROOM
IS NOW STARTING TO HAPPEN ACROSS THE COUNTRY


PARTNERS FOR JUSTICE – NATIONAL CAMPAIGN


Success Stories

Youth Leaders Champion Gender Programs in a Collaborative & Inclusive Manner Within Their Organization and Communities

May 2021 – Search for Common Ground (Search), and through its “Partners for Justice” project that is being implemented in partnership with ABAAD-Resource Center for Gender Equality (ABAAD), successfully engaged 16 youth and local civil society organizations (CSO) that operate in five different areas across Lebanon, including remote areas such as Wadi Khaled in the North and Arsal and Qaa in the Beqaa. These CSO are actively engaged in all the projects’ activities to reduce Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

Youth Leaders Have Access to a Neutral Dialogue Space

July 2021 – Search for Common Ground (Search) is implementing the Partners for Justice project in partnership with ABAAD – Resource Center for Gender Equality. The project engaged 30 youth leaders from 16 civil society organizations (CSO) from diverse backgrounds, including Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian, in a participatory, youth-led gender and masculinity research and in a knowledge-sharing workshop to jointly reflect on the findings and recommendations of the research.

A Media for Social Change Workshop Unites a Diverse Group of Youth to Fight Violence Against Women and Girls

July – August 2021 – Search for Common Ground (Search) is implementing the Partners for Justice project in partnership with ABAAD-Resource Center for Gender Equality (ABAAD). Under the project’s second specific objective of promoting a shift in communities’ attitudes in target areas around the permissibility of, and assumptions related to Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Search and ABAAD implemented the Media for Social Change workshop (MFSCW) to equip youth leaders and media professionals with gender sensitivity and non-adversarial advocacy skills to develop a national media campaign that promotes the reduction of VAWG by addressing social dynamics that justify violence against women and girls and/or perpetuate victim blaming.

Young Media Professionals’ Engagement in Gender and Masculinities Concepts Training

July 2021 – Search for Common Ground (Search) is implementing the Partners for Justice project in partnership with ABAAD-Resource Center for Gender Equality (ABAAD). Since the project’s start, Search and ABAAD have successfully trained 10 young media professionals from across five regions in Lebanon, and multiple nationalities, including Lebanese, Palestinian and Syrian, on Gender and Masculinities Concepts.

Success Stories: Partners for Justice

Under the Partners for Justice project, Search for Common Ground (Search) and ABAAD-Resource Center for Gender Equality (ABAAD) are working together to address the root causes of violence against women and girls, and change the perceptions of men, women, and children hold toward patriarchal definitions of masculinity. Though significant progress has been made toward gender equality in Lebanon, many members of the community – especially men and boys – still believe in a male superiority that reinforces systematic disenfranchisement. Private and public policing of women and girls by men and boys serving as “protectors” denies equality and preserves historical notions of power. This tradition, alongside sparse information regarding women’s rights, is the primary challenge faced by advocates working at both the local and national levels.

Challenging The Perceptions & Attitudes on the Permissibility & Justification of Violence Against Women and Girls Through Art & Media

November 2021 – Search for Common Ground (Search) is implementing the “Partners for Justice” project in partnership with ABAAD-Resource Centre for Gender Equality (ABAAD). Under the project’s second specific objective, promoting a shift in communities’ attitudes in target areas around the permissibility of, and assumptions related to violence against women and girls (VAWG), Search and Abaad implemented the Media for Social Change workshop with youth leaders and media professionals and equipped them with gender sensitivity and non-adversarial advocacy and campaigning skills. Following the activity, third youth leaders and ten media professionals implemented together four initiatives in five different regions in Lebanon with the aim at promoting the reduction of VAWG by addressing social dynamics that justify VAWG and/or perpetuate victim blaming. The initiatives created safe spaces for community members to reflect on the perceptions and attitudes towards masculinities and the permissibility or justification of all types of VAWG in target communities.

Creating Youth Allies for Gender Equality And Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Across Lebanon by Raising Awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Gender-Related Issues

The socio-economic crisis that Lebanon has been facing for the past few years, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, augmented the deterioration of the living conditions which led to an unprecedented rise in the number of domestic violence victims. Moreover, access to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) services including family planning became more difficult and unaffordable to the average Lebanese family. In this alerting context, the need for raising community awareness about SRHR) and VAWG is necessary more than ever.

Creating Gender Equality Allies Through The Partners For Justice Project. The Story of Ali

Ali’s participation in the Partners for Justice project has left a mark on him and helped him discover his passion for advocating for gender equality. Although his pre-existing passion for humanitarian and social work was his biggest motivation, his participation in the project allowed him to learn more about gender and masculinities from a new perspective. As a result, he has decided to pursue his graduate degree in gender studies.

Rethinking Gender Norms In Fatherhood – The Story Of Mohammad

Since joining the Partners for Justice project, Mohammad has changed the perceptions he holds regarding gender roles and norms. By learning about sex and gender through a scientific, logical lens, his comprehension has grown, as has his desire to share his newfound knowledge with others around him, especially his wife. Partners for Justice provided Mohammad with opportunities to dive safely and deeply into the complex topics of sex and gender.

Creating Gender Equality Allies Through The Partners For Justice Project – The Story Of Qamar

Through her participation in the Partners for Justice project, Qamar started rethinking her role as a woman living in a conservative community. She was engaged in the capacity building and development program and attended consecutive informative sessions about gender and masculinities, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and safe identification and referral of cases of SGBV along with receiving training of trainers (ToT) about gender training facilitation skills, all of which motivated her to play the role of a gender equality ally in her community surpassing all traditional and cultural barriers.

Creating Gender Equality Allies Through The Partners For Justice Project – The Story Of Suzan

Suzan’s participation in the “Partners for Justice” project increased her chances to participate in community interventions, as she became well-capacitated with the skills and knowledge needed for her to deliver awareness-raising sessions about gender, masculinities, violence against women and girls (VAWG), and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). In fact, the civil society organization (CSO) that she works for has now listed her as one of the best candidates to lead any youth-related project.

 

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