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Achieving equality between men and women

Supporting Arab Women at the Table (SAWT)

  • Arab Reform Initiative
  • Afrique
  • 2021
  • Scale-up project

Project overview

Existing platforms tackling peace and security have increased since the Beijing declaration in 1995 and the UN Security Council 1325 on the role of women in peacebuilding. Yet, the Arab version of state feminism only partially addresses women’s experiences of insecurity and violence in a context where protracted conflicts continue to sideline their rights.

Reinforcing international frameworks on Women, Peace and Security and widening their reach beyond formal peace negotiations, SAWT facilitates the effective participation of emerging Middle East and North Africa (MENA) women leaders and grassroots activists in political spheres. It will also build their capacity and ensure their voices are heard through national, regional, and international platforms for knowledge sharing, evidence-based advocacy and policymaking.

"Women in MENA contribute to peacebuilding in various innovative yet hardly recognized ways. Supporting Arab Women at the Table (SAWT) seeks to highlight and amplify the critical role of women in bringing durable peace."

- Lina Abou Habib, SAWT Senior Research Consultant and Director of the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, American University of Beirut

Presentation of the organization

The project is funded by the European Union (EU) in partnership with the Arab Reform Initiative (ARI), and implemented through a consortium of partners including the Center for Inclusive Business and Leadership for Women (CIBLW) in Lebanon, Together We Build It in Libya, the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies in Yemen, ARI in Syria, the Culture and Free Thought Association in Palestine, and the Iraqi Al-Amal Association in Iraq.

ARI is an independent think tank working with expert partners in MENA and beyond to articulate a home-grown agenda for democratic change. It conducts research and policy analysis and provides a platform for inspirational voices based on the principles of diversity, impartiality, and gender equality.

How it works

The project works at the national, regional, and international levels to increase:
  • Knowledge production and sharing for evidence-based advocacy and policy influence on constraints for women inclusion;
  • Capacity building and regional fellowship programs for emerging women leaders and activists to become legitimate peacebuilders;
  • National-level dialogues and advocacy consultations to promote intergenerational and cross-sectoral encounters;
  • Euro-med exchanges and advocacy opportunities.

Two main purposes

  • Increase women’s meaningful inclusion in peace processes in the MENA region;
  • Improving women’s ability to influence outcomes and establish post-conflict gender-egalitarian frameworks.


Since its launch in 2021, the initiative has achieved the following results:
  • Democratized knowledge production on Women, Peace and Security by building the capacity of diverse women in community-based research and evidence supported advocacy for policy influence. These women and their perspectives are not usually represented in existing peace negotiations/political processes;
  • Launched a regional fellowship program which will be a key platform for young women leaders from the region where they have the opportunity to share experiences and consolidate/reflect on their activism;
  • Strengthened South to North advocacy to expand women’s peacebuilders networks and bridge the divide with policy makers across sectors.

2022 Outlook

SAWT aims to establish both a platform for perspectives and voices of women in the MENA region, and a network of activists, researchers, and policy makers to rethink women's political participation. With an entirely replicable model, expansion into North Africa is planned.

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