The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has organised workshops in Southern Lebanon to promote gender equality.
UNIFIL has been organising a number of small-scale activities for communities in the south of Lebanon that are secluded and far from urban centres in the country. These activities are focused on economic and social issues and this particular workshop revolved around the role of women in economic production as a means of bridging the gap between men and women in the region.
This activity organised by the Civil-Military Cooperation Unit in the eastern sector of UNIFIL took place in the town of Deir Mimas. The workshop provided women with a training course for women learn about soap-making using local traditional techniques and to present these techniques to UNIFIL personnel.
“We exchange experiences and many women come to participate in training courses and benefit. Before 2000, women did not learn here but these things strengthen her self-confidence and enable her to help her family”, remarked Amal Hourani, the head of the Cooperative of Organic Agriculture and Beekeeping.
The diverse personnel among the UNIFIL at the workshop were exposed to the ways in which local women make their products and encouraged the women to preserve their skills and make use of them economically.
“I think the most important thing is to know how women work in Lebanon, how they spend their time, and how to preserve their culture. As a Spanish woman, I try to tell them that they can do whatever they want”, commented Ana, a Spanish member of UNIFIL.
A similar initiative was recently launched by UNIFIL in the village of Harris, also in Southern Lebanon, wherein women were supported to make local food products with a donation made by the organisation. Other types of training courses are also being provided such as first aid and internet usage.
The participants at the workshop emphasised that women constitute half of Lebanon’s society and they are to play a key role in the country’s social and economic development.