", this is how Ludi Habshi, a 27-year-old participant from Deir Al Ahmar in Empowering Women to Lead (EWL) project,recapped her seven-month experience.
The Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST), in cooperation with Gesellschaft für InternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) combined to create the Empowering Women to Lead (EWL) project, that aims to engage 120 women from across Baalbeck-Hermel area in the political life and brings them together under the EWL program.
The project that included trainings on women’s rights, leadership, civic activism, local development, municipality law, and needs’ analysis was a good chance to raise the participants’ awareness about political participation. Moreover, its richness inpoliticalizing activities like meeting Mukhtars and municipality members helps increase women’s overall political participation and presence in the any future elections.
Subsequently, the participants started to break the traditional image of women’s absence in the political life. Moreover, their self-esteem was enhanced and their ability to be active in new fields of life was proved. The project has also secured room for the women to meet and share expertise as they come from different villages and backgrounds.
EWL that was designed to target 120 women was able to inspire more than 135 pioneer women in several occasions.
Surprisingly, EWL blossomed as early as seven months of its start. “The program was very useful for me. It was my first time participating in such project,” said Ludi Habshi, one of the participants. “I decided to run for the May 2016 municipal elections,” she added. “Today, I am working on my electoralprogram, and I’m receiving all sorts of technical support from LOST and my colleagues.” Ludi said, “My participation in EWL was a turning point in my life. It was only seven months that made me discover my political ability's.”
It is true that Ludi is the first ripe fruit of EWL, but it will not be the last. As long as LOST and GIZ are energizing women and backing them up, only future can tell how Ludi’s experience is going to be emulated by other women.