Creating Safe Spaces and Supporting the Feminist Movement

Lebanon’s recent history is rife with war, instability, and political and religious tensions – from the 1958 crisis, to the 15,5-year-long civil war, to the widespread polarisation created by the Cold War, and, most recently, the direct political unrest and humanitarian consequences of the Syrian crisis.

Moreover, despite the fact that women and girls in Lebanon are often severely affected by the country’s ongoing challenges, they have very little say in political decision-making.

WILPF and our partners in Lebanon have been working to address these challenges both at the grassroots and institutional levels, through participatory approaches that aim to enhance the inclusion of women in peace and stability processes.

Additionally, WILPF section in Lebanon, founded in 1962, currently focuses its work on providing Syrian women living in refugee camps with the opportunity to acquire skills in resolution of daily conflicts within their communities.

WILPF Partners

Between 2012 and 2022, WILPF partnered with ABAAD, a non-profit, non-politically affiliated, non-confessional association founded in Lebanon in 2011 with the aim to achieve gender equality as an essential condition to sustainable peace, democracy, and social and economic development in the MENA region.

Our Impact

Four speakers on a panel table

Addressing the Root Causes of Violence

In 2019, Abaad, WILPF, and the MenEngage Alliance organised an event called “Patriarchal Masculinity, Militarism, and the WPS Agenda” on the margins of the 63rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.

The panelists identified best practices for engaging men to transform mainstream narratives surrounding masculinity and power.

Anthony Keedi of ABAAD emphasised the need to change our framework from “power over’” to “power with.”

Illustration NAP Lebanon: "Lebanon National Action Plan on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325"

ABAAD on the Steering Committee of the Lebanon 1325 NAP

Lebanon adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP) in 2019 to be implemented for the 2019-2022 period.

The NAP was developed by a steering committee, in which ABAAD was the only civil society organisation represented.

The objectives of the NAP reflect the pillars of UNSCR 1325, with specific focus on increasing women’s full participation in decision-making processes in the political, diplomatic, and economic domains, as well as in the security and defense sectors.

On-the-Ground Support for SGBV Survivors

As part of WILPF-ABAAD’s joint project “Growing The Movement for Feminist Peace in the Mena Region,” ABAAD provides multi-sectoral services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) as well as women and girls who are at-risk of or affected by any form of violence due to conflict.

ABAAD Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS) services, which are present throughout the country (North, Bekaa, South, Beirut, and Mount Lebanon), were strategically selected to ensure geographical diversity and facilitate the organisation’s ability to reach women in different areas of Lebanon.

As part of WILPF-ABAAD’s joint project “Growing The Movement for Feminist Peace in the Mena Region,” ABAAD provides multi-sectoral services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) as well as women and girls who are at-risk of or affected by any form of violence due to conflict.

Related Materials

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Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

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WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

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