WEEP: Women Economic Empowerment Programme
Rural women… invisible work… livelihoods…. empowerment…women’s economic rights…
The "Women Economic Empowerment Programme" was launched back in 2000 initially with no more than nine rural women cooperatives in the Bekaa valley. With time, the programme developed into a complex interventions reaching out to more than 36 Rural Women Cooperatives, production groups, and women groups spread across Lebanon with emphasis on the Bekaa, South Lebanon and North Lebanon.
The programme is based on an understanding of rural women’s multiple, vital and yet invisible roles and economic contributions and the need to promote and visibilise both women’s work, voice and leadership. Moreover, WEEP is also shaped by the overarching aim to contribute to women’s empowerment with empowerment being framed as women’s voice, choice, opportunities and freedom to exercise rights.
WEEP’s key objectives can be summarized as follows:
- Visibilising and valuing women’s, especially rural women’s invisible work
- Supporting women organization and exercising participatory governance and leadership
- Building women’s productive and leadership skills
- Facilitating women’s active participation in advocacy for rights and in policy dialogue
- Facilitating women’s sustainable access to markets
- Generating and disseminating knowledge and learning
Strategies and activities
WEEP uses four inter-related and mutually reinforcing strategies, namely:
- Capacity building and transformatory training
- Market access
- Policy dialogue and advocacy
- Research and knowledge generation
Capacity building and transformatory training includes training in leadership, communication, ICT, management and accounting, meeting legal requirements, in addition to production and quality control. This component also includes individual and constant accompaniment of women, engagement in experiences of gender based discrimination and support and solidarity to address these either individually or collectively. Hands on support is also a feature of this component where priority and specific needs are identified collectively with women groups and tailor made support is jointly designed to address needs and gaps.
Market accessincludes the setting up of the Beirut-based Market access point, Namlieh, in a central location next to the national Museum. Namlieh, originally the name of the traditional wooden cupboard using during the pre-electricity times, is a space for exhibition and sales of traditional, creative and healthy products made by the rural women cooperatives. Namlieh also facilitates access to internal and external clients, organizes or participates in marketing events and engages in Fair Trade initiatives.
Policy dialogue and advocacyinvolves a number of interactive dialogues, seminars and consultations with various stakeholders including state and non-state actors such as the Ministry of Social Affairs, local municipalities, sister NGOs, private sector actors, syndicates and others in an attempt to find common grounds to challenge obstacles to women’s economic rights and participation. The programme produces regular issue and policy briefs to facilitate this dialogue.
Research and knowledge productionincludes series of training on qualitative research, field research aiming to frame women’s care work, as well as research on market access.
How can you help?
There are several ways in which you can support WEEP. First and foremost, you can support the work and livelihoods of the Rural Women Cooperatives by shopping healthy and ethically from Namlieh, our market access point in Beirut. Proceeds from your shopping will go directly to the women members and producers of the rural women cooperatives and will allow them to build their capital, invest in expanding and sustaining their work and widen their production and outreach.
You may also support WEEP by engaging in its public seminar and policy dialogue activities as well as reading and disseminating its knowledge material.
Donors and supporters
WEEP's initial partners and supporters include the Women Learning Partnership, The Global Fund for Women, Kvinna till Kvinna and the British Embassy of Lebanon.
Previous donors include ICARDA and current donors include Oxfam Quebec, CIDA, Spanish ACPP, ENPI and Drosos.
Programme team and contact information
Meet the WEEP project team…
Program Coordinator and Policy Officer
Rana Abi Khaled
Assistant Administrator and Project Accountant
Knowledge and Research Officer
Namlieh reception - Salesperson
Contact us on…
Museum Plaza, behind Volvo Company
Mansourati building, first floor
Postal Code 2066 0201
Telefax: + 961 397813 and 397796
Ramez Salameh building, ground floor
Postal Code 2066 0201
website: namlieh.com (under construction)