New Coalition for Women Leaders Launched in MENA
‘ALWANE’ programme champions women’s full participation in society.
Delegation from Yemen attends landmark conference in Amman.
Yemeni committee to focus on maternal health and women’s education.
Yemen. In the last decade, the MENA region has witnessed extraordinary social and political upheaval, with women often on the frontlines of popular action driving change. Despite the vast transformations already seen, the position of women remains restricted in many countries. The ALWANE programme - a new and unprecedented international coalition of activists dedicated to promoting the status of women - is channelling and amplifying the momentum sweeping through the region. Advocating for greater freedom, influence and opportunity, ALWANE promises a new future for the advancement of women’s leadership in society.
Launched this month at major sub-regional conferences in Tunis, Dubai and Amman, ALWANE stands for the coalition of Active Leaders for Women’s Advancement in the Near East. At the sub-regional meeting held in Amman, the Yemeni committee, made up of social activists and NGO, legal and business professionals, pledged to work tirelessly in creating avenues for positive change. Ahmad Al Yemeni, Chairman of the ALWANE Yemen Committee, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to join this coalition. In Yemen women must overcome numerous challenges and we will begin by focusing on issues related to maternal health, women’s education and personal status laws. By allying ourselves with like-minded activists across the Arab world we can greatly increase the potential for success.”
In Arabic, “alwane” (pronounced Al-WA-nee) means “my colors,” a phrase which evokes both the ability to paint our own future and the power of diversity in leading change. Commenting on the launch, Kerri Kennedy, Executive Director of Women's Campaign International (WCI), the sponsoring organisation of ALWANE, said: “The strength of this coalition lies in the diversity of experiences, knowledge and backgrounds. ALWANE celebrates the richness of talent and vision among women from 17 Arab countries, providing a voice for the concerns and challenges that women’s leadership faces in the MENA region. We are bridging the gap between generations, widening horizons and spearheading dynamic new agendas for change in the region.”
Maali Qasem, Regional Director of ALWANE, emphasised the public’s important role in the programme: “We encourage everyone to join ALWANE’s online community. You are our inspiration, and as witnesses in your own society you are best placed to direct our work. Strengthen our coalition by adding your voice and unique insights into the central issues and obstacles facing women today.”
To find out more, visit ALWANE’s live discussion forums at http://alwane-mena.d1g.com/ and upload video, pictures, new articles and participate daily. Also, follow us on Twitter (@alwane_MENA) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/ALWANE.MENA) and share your voice.
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This year a newly established Regional Coalition of experienced and emerging leaders from 17 countries across the Middle East and North Africa is coming together to work towards the advancement of women’s leadership in the Arab World. The ALWANE Coalition includes men and women academics, activists, experts, entrepreneurs and youth committed to social change and gender equality. Working at both a national and regional level, this Coalition aims to generate discourse around pressing challenges to women’s full participation in society, as well as share intraregional success stories. By working together, ALWANE aims to raise awareness, create a platform for dialogue, advocate for change and influence national, regional and international policies effecting women’s participation in society.
Through sophisticated advocacy campaigns and targeted policy recommendations, the ALWANE country committees will make significant progress for women across the Arab world. The committees include leading experts of different genders from each country, as well as youth members adding their own distinct voice. Central to ALWANE’s philosophy is intergenerational cooperation, creating a sustainable, long-term coalition by nurturing future women leaders in a comprehensive mentorship programme. Enhancing the programme is an extensive online network, enabling users to share and discuss their ideas on the major contemporary challenges facing women in the MENA region.
The climax of the ALWANE Coalition’s activity this year will be a regional summit in November held in Amman, where the committees from all 17 countries will gather to share their success stories and sign a Convention on the Advancement of Women’s Leadership in the region.
The ALWANE programme is powered by Women’s Campaign International, An international NGO dedicated to furthering the rights of women across the world.
About Women’s Campaign International
Working in more than 40 countries around the world, Women's Campaign International (WCI), advances opportunities for women to actively participate in public advocacy, market and political processes. In providing the requisite skills, knowledge and culturally-sensitive support, we develop leaders who transform the lives of everyone they serve.