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Mustakbalna: Empowering Palestinian Women

Mustakbalna: Empowering Palestinian Women

It is tremendously fulfilling to observe the outcomes of our joint project with Interpeace in Palestine, Mustakbalna, which aims to promote the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325, calling for the achievement of fair guidelines in line with the recommendations of the International Cooperation and Development Agency. These promote equal participation of women in security and peace issues and gives them the local power of ownership of work and production, based on capacity building of women’s organizations in conflict and post-conflict zones. Since May 2018, we have been working with 120 Palestinian women, between the ages of 15 and 25 from Jenin, Ya’bad, Nablus, Tulkarem, Tubas and Hebron in the West Bank with the aspiration of women empowerment.

The workshops consist of two parts: the theoretical part and the practical. In the first part, we provide our participants theoretical information and discussions on the topics such as education, media, communication, decision-making, and gender equality. In the second part, we are conducting fifteen workshops on drama, fifteen on photography and five intensive workshops on filmmaking.

So far, we have completed six projects. Our recent play Feiruz, which was staged by our participants from Jenin, suggest that we need to challenge the Palestinian community to find solutions about the stereotypes and bias towards women. The other recent play The Earth Lady was staged by a collaboration between the Palestinian Cultural Enlightenment Forum and our participants from Nablus. The play was created with the playback theatre street theatre methods. The Earth Lady demonstrates women’s struggle to cope with the dilemma of the resistance within the household and on the streets. In Palestinian society, women have more burden than men when it comes to balancing the political and social resistance with domestic family life.

At The Freedom Theatre, our hope is to increase the role of women in decision-making organizations in Palestine. We are pleased to see the feedback from our participants, as we observed a significant increase in leadership skills and their aspiration to use innovative tools to engage in decision-making processes. Our activities have been enhancing the motivation of women to close the gap between young women and decision-making positions. Our activities both theoretically and practically demonstrate a know-how to acknowledge and utilize the agency of women and how they can advocate for community peace and security by using their agency. We believe that this project is a combination of activism and art, as it paves the ways for women to participate in all levels of Palestinian society, which is our main goal. It is important to note that the role of creative activities aimed at enabling women to express themselves freely and equally through art. The project not only provides a space which allows learning artistic skills but also encourages creative thinking that would benefit the participants in overcoming challenges and resolving any conflict that ensues. In this way, we aim to foster an equal and ideal society, a change made by the people themselves, but not an elite mechanism.

We are also excited to announce the launch of a conference, which will be followed by a photo exhibition regarding this project at Grand Park Hotel in Ramallah, on 17th of November from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. Our participants and Palestinian women from decision-making mechanisms, political parties, and NGOs will have discussions on gender equality, public peace and security. The photo exhibition will include the works of our participants from the workshops.

We are pleased to welcome you there!

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