Empowering Syrian Refugee Women for a Better Future



o Human trafficking
o Child labor
o Child marriage
o Forced marriage
o Teen pregnancy
o Violence against women
o Limited access to reproductive and sexual health education and resources 

There are an estimated 4.5 million registered Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, the three main countries of refuge. Refugee women and girls disproportionately bear the burden of conflict and displacement, but have little recourse for engaging meaningfully with their host societies. They are often the targets of trafficking, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

Moreover, the horrific events that refugee women have experienced often lead to a disrupted sense of self, so that their previous identities are overwhelmed by that of “refugee.” Recognizing displacement as a condition--not an identity--is key to overcoming trauma and rebuilding one’s life.

To address these critical matters, WLP is adapting and extending our programming to realize the Empowering Syrian Refugee Women for a Better Future project. We bring our innovative template for collective action, leadership, and advocacy to the female refugee community in collaboration with three of our local partner organizations: the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action (CRTD-A) in Lebanon; the Sisterhood is Global Institute-Jordan (SIGI/J); and the Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (FSWW) in Turkey.


Our Objectives:

1. Provide refugee women with participatory leadership skills and human rights training that will help them build better lives for themselves, their families and communities, and society.

2. Enable a number of young Syrian women to develop their advocacy skills so that they can better engage local leaders and influence decision-making processes, particularly at the level of engagement with various peace processes.

3. Facilitate access to referral systems and service providers, especially in relation to sexual health care and social services for victims of violence.

4. Build the organizational capacities of emerging Syrian community-based groups that will empower women to organize and engage in peace processes and dialogues.


Our Strategy:

WLP’s approach emphasizes participatory methodology and our core values of equality, justice, human rights, and democracy. These ideals will be interwoven throughout the implementation of the Empowering Syrian Refugee Women for a Better Future project.

Curriculum for the trainings is being developed from a number of WLP leadership and advocacy training manuals, including Leading to Compassion, Leading to Choices, Leading to a Culture of Democracy, Beyond Equality, and Victories Over Violence. As we work with Syrian women refugees, we will refine and adjust our learning tools to meet the evolving needs of the refugee communities.

Other important components of our strategy include…

Separating the condition of refugee from self-identification. WLP will create a healing environment for Syrian refugee women that allows them to move from a state of trauma to a state of positive engagement with their larger communities. By reshaping their identify beyond just that of “refugee,” these women and girls can rebuild their lives by seeing themselves as valid and skilled leaders. To do this, WLP will address the stereotypes to which refugees have been subject and which have led to their social marginalization.  

Heightening refugee women’s awareness of their human rights, including legal protections, reproductive rights and services, citizenship and nationality rights, democratic systems and norms, and civic responsibilities. 

Addressing all forms of gender-based violence, including domestic abuse, child marriage, trafficking, exploitation, and prostitution. 

Equipping Syrian refugee women and their host communities with tools of healing. In addition to practical leadership skills, a deeper knowledge of compassion-oriented topics--such consensus building, tolerance, self-reliance, mutual respect, and peace--is vital to the success and wellbeing of refugee populations. 


Outcomes of the Project:

Refugee women will have the skills to make their voices heard and change their lives. As a result of our trainings, thousands of Syrian refugee women will have a voice in their communities and benefit from the support of local leaders who have decision-making power over the conditions that impact their lives. 

Refugee women will be better integrated into peace processes from which they are traditionally excluded.  In this way, WLP’s project will help advance the goals of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1325, which affirms the importance women’s equal participation in peace building processes.  

A strong methodology for addressing the needs of women refugees will be available for adoption in future crises. The training curriculum developed during the project’s duration will be a vital resource for future refugee emergencies around the globe.

The spread of violent extremism will be curtailed. When empowered economically, socially, and politically, women have the ability to play a key role in preventing the spread of violent extremism and be powerful advocates for equality, peace, and unity. 

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January 10, 2012
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