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Lebanon is currently experiencing deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, air pollution from vehicular traffic and the burning of industrial wastes, pollution of coastal waters from raw sewage, and oil spills. Additionally, due to irresponsible consumption and failure of public authorities to implement effective environmental policies, the preservation of the environment is an urgent and vital matter in our societies. However, the efforts to raise people’s awareness and motivate them to participate in these issues are still limited. To further analyze this issue, the Donia for Sustainable Development association conducted a diagnosis on the role of women in the preservation of the environment and natural resources in the El Mina, El Qalamoun, Beddawi and Wadi El Nahla municipalities, in the Tripoli District. The diagnosis involved environment and social committees of the target municipalities, social, charity and educational associations (the Committee of Environmental Engineers), and several universities and media (radio and TV).
Thus, between June and September 2018, several activities were carried out such as six focus groups involving women activists, students and graduates from the environmental department in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Lebanese University, engineers and heads of associations. Information and data were also collected through a survey and meetings with ministers and international organizations (Ministry of Women, Ministry of Administrative Development and Ministry of the Environment), and the organization of a seminar to launch and discuss the study and to design the field project. The survey targeted 300 women and girls, 50 of whom were environmental specialists while the remaining 250 had different educational, professional and social backgrounds. It revealed that women’s weak involvement and participation in preserving the environment is due to several factors such as:
- Lack of work opportunities in the environmental sector.
- Women’s rare access to decision making positions.
- Women’s discomfort when it comes to entering the public sphere.
- Lack of knowledge regarding climate change, pollution, energy and water consumption and the consequences of human behaviors and household practices on the environment.
- Lack of awareness of women’s potential role in environment protection (the majority of the women surveyed had not participated in any community environmental activity so far).
- Fear of harassment, lack of time, fear of security authorities, mistrust and prevention of women’s family to take part in community activities were other reasons mentioned.
The study also found that most women are interested in participating in environmental activities. Thus, Donia for sustainable development has proposed to the different entities involved in the diagnosis to develop a project to enhance women’s preservation of natural resources in Tripoli. The project’s objective is to raise the awareness of 300 women on the importance of taking action in this field through information, networking and training activities. Moreover, it aims at promoting new partnerships among local associations, the media and local authorities to encourage women’s leadership and new initiatives on sustainable consumption and natural resources’ conservation.
A series of ideas for future projects to be implemented in 2019 have also been identified in partnership with local actors under the name of "Women’s Environmental Network", a project that has been set up during the diagnosis’ elaboration. To date, 20 entities including associations and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Tripoli have joined this network, and the municipalities of the Tripoli district have expressed their support and willingness to cooperate in varying degrees.
Through this link you can watch an interview with Ms. Nariman Al Shamaa about the project (the interview in Arabic)
This initiative is part of the field projects developed by the local clusters of gender equality actors© set up by the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation since 2015. It is part of the "Reinforcing the capacity of equality actors" project, funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) and coordinated by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed). This action is also part of the project "Developing women’s empowerment", labeled by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.
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