Transforming Communities: Empowering Women through Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

In recent years, the humanitarian sector has embraced a gender-sensitive lens: recognizing the importance of women’s active participation in peacebuilding processes, particularly in post-conflict societies. MARCH’s work in Tripoli has been at the forefront of this transformative approach which showcases the power of women’s inclusion in rebuilding efforts and how it leads to stronger, more resilient communities.

Recognizing the Crucial Role of Women

MARCH acknowledges the importance of women’s equal and active involvement in their rehabilitation and reintegration programs which is vital in defying the concept of alienating women from peacebuilding interventions that in turn weakens the foundation and compromises the stability and sustainability of intercommunal cohesion. 

The local context in Tripoli demanded a nuanced and intricate approach. MARCH launched a unique reconstruction project in Beb El Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen following the severe clashes of 2011. The project involved daily collaborations between men and women from both communities. Their joint efforts focused on renovating buildings and a market place along the former demarcation line that was destroyed by the clashes. This initiative aimed to foster tolerance, respect, and understanding while challenging traditional gender hierarchies.

Breaking Stereotypes and Empowering Women

During the workshops in Kanyamakan, women challenged the patriarchal perception of their role and became fundamental components of the rebuilding process. They worked alongside men, defying traditional gender norms. Men received on-the-job training in construction, while women were offered graphic design courses. The women designed shop signs and branding materials, demonstrating their creativity and contribution to the project. This collaboration shattered gender barriers and shifted power dynamics.

Transforming Women into Actors of Change

The inclusion of local women in MARCH’s work empowered them and provided the confidence and support they lacked. By equipping them with the necessary skills and tools, MARCH enabled women to become agents of change. They transformed from passive recipients of aid to active participants in their communities’ development. Through the Beb El Dahab program, women discovered new skills, interests, and hobbies. They even started manufacturing their own products, such as t-shirts and tote bags, generating their own revenue and becoming economic agents in the process.

Evolution of Women’s Engagement

MARCH’s efforts have had a lasting impact on the lives of women in Beb El Dahab. Their engagement with the organization’s activities continues to evolve and take on various forms. By empowering women, MARCH not only challenged gender inequality but also transformed societal perceptions of men towards fashion design and embroidery. Now, women participants have access to a world of opportunities previously restricted by their gender, leading to a more inclusive and prosperous society.

MARCH’s work in the Kanyamakan hub of Beb El Dahab exemplifies the transformative power of women’s inclusion in peacebuilding processes. By empowering women and challenging traditional gender roles, MARCH has helped create resilient and cohesive communities. Their efforts demonstrate the importance of women’s equal and active involvement in rebuilding post-conflict societies, ultimately leading to sustainable peace and progress.