The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) concluded the “Empowering Women to Lead 2” project, in collaboration with the LEAD program of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). This ceremony was held in presence of the German Ambassador, Mr. Martin Huth, GIZ program director in Lebanon, Mrs. Christiane Gaehtgens, Major Ghayath Zaaiter, Major Nabil Al Haj Hassan, Governor of Baalbeck-Hermel, Mr. Bachir Khodr, Mayor of Baalbeck, Mr. Hussein Al Lakkis, women participating in the project, and municipal and social figures.
Dr. Lakkis initiated the ceremony by talking about the project and its importance, and the vision of LOST in the implementation of development programs based on the participation of citizens in the implementation of projects and community development. “The main objective is to change the quality of life of citizens by participating in public affairs, and because the participation of women in our region and in Lebanon is generally weak”, stated Dr. Lakkis. He further explained that LOST is trying to allocate programs aimed at this marginalized group, because he participation of women in development leads to improving public life and industry, and a better future for her, her children, and society as a whole. Dr. Lakkis considered the most important point is “the acceptance of women participating in this project and their contribution to changing the society’s view of the role and effectiveness of women and changing the stereotype around them”.
His excellency, Mr. Martin Huth highlighted that “participation is important for women because it is a step towards achieving equality between men and women. It is a matter of justice and freedom, and it leads to economic growth”. The participation of women is very weak, and women suffer from a high rate of unemployment, despite the fact that the proportion of female graduates is higher than that of men, so we hope that these programs will improve women’s participation rate in public life.
Furthermore, governor of Baalbeck-Hermel, Mr. Bachir Khodr thanked the German government “for standing by Lebanon in its crises, including the crisis of the Syrian refugees, which received thousands of Syrians, although it does not share with them culture and history”. Mr. Khodr emphasized that the first step is to overcome some of the social barriers that prevent women’s participation. He called on the women involved in the project to “take responsibility in terms of candidacy and election, and transfer their experience to their children and their surroundings”.
Mrs. Christiane Gaehtgens thanked the actors for their full commitment to the implementation of the project, which is being implemented in Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine. Gaehtgens especially thanked
LOST and the whole team for making this project viable. “We support the role and empowerment of women, and we hope that this project and cooperation between all parties will continue, not only for women to lead, but for every woman to have leadership qualities”, Gaehtgens stated. She further explained that “the diversity of attendance and diversity of participants is evidence that the project has reached the heart of society, in hopes that it will continue to achieve more and solve social problems, especially women’s unemployment”.
To conclude the ceremony, the women involved in the project presented their experience, problems encountered and achievements, and the impact of the project on their self-confidence, which increased their knowledge of participation in public life, enhanced their role in society, and played a larger role in municipal accountability and community projects. They pointed out that the project included the implementation of eight community development services in eight towns of Baalbeck-Hermel: Baalbeck, Younin, Shlifa, Bedneyal, Taraya, Hermel, Ein, and Ersal.