Mainstreaming Leading to Choices in the Nationality Campaign in Lebanon
The fourth in a series of Leading to Choices workshops was held on November 3rd and 4th, 2010, in Ta'alabaya, Lebanon in partnership with Najdeh Association. This village, with many mixed marriages, has numerous women who have been adversely impacted by their inability to pass on their nationality to their family members.
"Every single woman among us is a leader" – Tasneem 17-year-old girl engaged to a Palestinian.
"I think it is useless to hold such meetings and training workshops for women concerned in this village, because women have lost hope, and nothing is really going to change!" Fayzeh, in her mid-sixties, told the nationality campaign team on the first day of the training, November 3rd, 2010.
The following day, Fayzeh brought five concerned women all married to Palestinians to participate in the workshop on mainstreaming LTC in the nationality campaign.
On day one, the training started at 10:30 a.m, with six women attendance. Four other women joined the training later on. After the general introduction, the first session reviewed participant expectations. Almost all participants expressed their hope in being able to pass their nationality to their families. The facilitator introduced the agenda, its main highlights, and topics to be discussed. The objective of the workshop was to equip the participants with the needed skills (leadership, communication, setting a common goal, starting a common project) to be able to fight for their own right, and thus, realizing their hopes (those expressed as expectations by the participants).
On day two, 13 women participated in the workshop. Fayza had brought five of her relatives who are married to Palestinian men and therefore are unable to pass on their nationality. At the end of day two, not only were all participants expressing their interest in being active in the campaign, but they were also showing interest in starting their own campaigns for their rights in their local communities (through visiting local authorities, organizing sit-ins, participating in national events, etc.).
"I am convinced now that the only way to realizing my right is through boycotting elections. I will NOT vote for any politician, unless they committed to change the law. The 'key of change' is in my own hand!" Aysha – married to Palestinian.
Day after day, it became evident that holding such workshops and mainstreaming Leading to Choices methodology in the nationality campaign activities is crucial. This is the case for the following reasons:
- The importance of introducing affected women living in remote areas on the nationality campaign, its activities, vision, and achievements through direct interactive meetings, and workshops
- The importance of mobilizing concerned women to become fully engaged in the campaign through such workshops. This route takes time, effort and patience. However, it is crucial for any lobbying activity needed for making change a reality.
- Enriching the campaign with different views and plans from women in all walks of life. This will further contribute in shaping the campaign's future course of action.
Recommendations/future suggested course of action:
- The campaign will continue its regional Leading to Choices workshops, by targeting and mobilizing a wider range of concerned women
- The campaign will continue the communication training with participants who took part in previous workshops. It will further build on recommendations and follow up on the suggested course of actions in different regions.
- The campaign will consider gathering all women who participated in similar Leading to Choices workshops in Beirut (March 2010), Sayda (June 2010), Tyre (October 2010), and Bekaa (November 2010), through follow up and/or planning meetings.