- Strengthening democratic practices within the parliament
- Enhancing financial and budgetary oversight
- Promoting women’s leadership
- Engaging young people in politics
- Strengthening parliamentary practices and accountability
- Supporting coalitions for reform
- Building linkages between the parliament and civil society
Helping combat violence against women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
In the Middle East and North Africa region, it is estimated that 35% of women experience some form of violence. Contributing factors that allow this norm to prevail include a lack of legislation that criminalises domestic violence, limited protection for women inside their homes, as well as a justice and a court system ill prepared to prosecute perpetrators and protect victims. Legislatures can play a crucial role in establishing a legal environment that protects women
WFD supports women’s political participation and leadership so they can influence decision-making and bring about positive change. From 2012, WFD’s support to women MPs across the Middle East and North Africa has focused on effective leadership and encouraging women MPs to use their political influence for legislative change that eradicates discrimination against women and girls in the region.
Under this programme, WFD worked with the Lebanese parliament to improve the extent to which parliament made services and information accessible to citizens, for example through online tools. Our programme also promoted human rights and gender equality, working with the parliament to advance policy changes that are in line with human rights standards. Finally, WFD worked to ensure politicians and state institutions are able and willing to tackle urgent national challenges and work on reforms to improve the country’s stability
This programme was implemented jointly with the National Democratic Institute. It aimed to build the skills and confidence of first-time candidates to run effective and inclusive parliamentary elections campaigns. Through a series of tailored workshops and individual consultations, 100 first-time candidates from across the political spectrum were equipped with critical campaign skills. First-time women candidates gained skills in how to address challenges specific to women’s political participation. Candidates with a high potential for winning a seat in the parliament also benefitted from mentoring from visiting British politicians.
More completed programmes
Between 2016 and 2018, WFD supported the legislative and oversight role of the Lebanese Parliament in the Oil and Gas sector. The programme provided technical advice on issues related to Oil and Gas to the Committee on Public Works, Energy, Water and Transport, and the Research and Information Department.
Between 2013 and 2015, WFD partnered with the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies (AIPTLS) to support women MPs in MENA. The programme included several high-profile regional workshops on policy issues and trainings for parliamentary staff and women MPs. The programme’s objectives were to strengthen the capacities of women MPs in the MENA region and enhance the progression of legislative reforms that are relevant to women through:
- Establishing and institutionalising a course delivered by AIPTLS
- Enabling professional collaboration between Civil society organisations ( CSO) and women MPs
- Providing access to information and knowledge through policy papers on gender issues to progress MPs legislative reforms
This project helped increase knowledge and usage of public policy analysis by MPs and committees in the MENA region by supporting the production of evidence-based, accessible, and relevant policy analysis. The project also embedded the learning and knowledge produced by the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies (AIPTLS).
In October 2010, WFD and the Lebanese parliament signed a partnership as part of a European Union (EU)-funded programme. The programme strengthened the capacity of the Lebanese Parliament to perform its financial and budgetary oversight functions, including through the establishment of an Advisory Unit to provide support and expertise for parliamentary committees. The programme also facilitated exchanges between MPs from the UK and Lebanon to attend workshops and seminars.
The Westminster Consortium (TWC) programme saw WFD organise trainings and workshops for parliamentary officials to strengthen parliamentary services, communications, financial oversight, human resources development, and human rights and rule of law. More than 100 parliamentary officials and parliamentary reporters took part with WFD organising several visits for Lebanese Parliamentary delegations to the UK parliament and vice versa.
In the last two years of the programme, TWC supported the launch of the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies (AIPTLS). The Institute was opened in July 2011 in the Lebanese Parliament in the presence of representatives of most of the Arab Parliaments. TWC also coordinated regional activities hosted by AIPTLSs, on topics such as the work of parliamentary committees, strengthening financial oversight in Arab Parliaments, and strategic communications planning for parliaments
Supported women leaders in changing laws
A three-year action plan for the Women and Children Committee strategic plan was developed; the first of its kind in the Arab region. This helped changing laws about sexual harassment and protecting minors from alcohol abuse.
Helped end violence against women and girls
After WFD’s support to women legislators, new amendments to some clauses in the Lebanese Penal Code and the Domestic Violence Law were proposed.
Supported a more effective parliament
Established the Arab Institute for Parliamentary Training and Legislative Studies and helped developed a 3-year business plan for the training centre.
Made parliament more open to citizens
Development of a communication strategy and outreach plan for the parliament, including e-public consultation and the design of a new website that is more inclusive and interactive.
Empowered Youth Parliament
Provided Lebanon’s newly elected Youth Parliament with capacity building about Parliament, its functions, and procedures.
CSOs formed a coalition known as the Digital Transformation and Governance Network (DTGN[). Through WFD’s issue-based and supportive organisational development approach, DTGN experts are now seen as the ‘go to’ contact by parliamentarians for information and analysis on e-governance issues.
Facilitated the first public hearing
Facilitated the first public hearing in the history of the Lebanese Parliament, helping to design and deliver an enquiry into the economic security of women in Lebanon. Civil society noted this change in practice as a positive step towards the parliament’s openness to citizen engagement.