Thursday, April 21, 2016, the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) arranged a closing ceremony of its Dutch-funded project, A STEP towards Municipal Elections, in Baalbeck in the presence of the Dutch ambassador, Mrs. Hester M.J. Somsen, Baalbeck-Hermel governor, Bashir Khodor, and Baalbeck-Deir Al Ahmar archbishop, Hanna Rahmeh.
The project that was designed to engage 300 women in the political life and enable them to play an active rolein the municipal elections ended up with more than 20 women running for office in May 2016 municipal elections in Baalbeck-Hermel.
In his speech, LOST’s founder, Dr. Ramy Lakkis spoke at length about the importance of women’s participation in the political life and how significant their role is. He also pointed out that training women is a key tool to bridge the gap between them and the public life. He said, “STEP hasn’t only paved the way for women to participate in the municipal elections, but it has also made them interested in the public life.” He added, “What distinguishes the women’s participation is being unconnected to the political, tribal, religious, or sectarian considerations. When are proud of them.”
The ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mrs. Somsen, pointed at several factors, including the cultural milieu, that hinder the women’s contribution tothe political life. At the same time, she underscored the role of women in imposing their presence in the public life. She praised the participants’ courage and thanked LOST for taking the initiative to conduct such projects in Baalbeck-Hermel region.
LOST, hand in hand with its partners, implements all potentials to capacitate women in Baalbeck-Hermel to be active participants in the public life. STEP is a brilliant success, and it’s only the beginning.