A number of social, diplomatic and media figures, representatives of international and local associations, implementing agencies, government institutions and a number of project beneficiaries from all Lebanese regions attended the closing ceremony of the project that empowers reproductive health and addresses violence against women. The project was being implemented by Makhzoumi Foundation, Akkarouna, Al Mabarrat Association and Chield, with funding from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Norwegian Embassy in Lebanon.
The project aims to develop the capacity of the community on issues related to reproductive health and violence against women, in addition to activities to empower women and strengthen their role and support to have a positive impact on society.
The opening statements were made by Ms. Asma Qordahi, Coordinator of Mount Lebanon at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Mrs. Bahia Soliman, Counselor of the Norwegian Embassy in Lebanon, Ms. Ann Marie Bogard and Director General of Makhzoumi Foundation, Mr. Samer Al-Safah, representing all implementing partners. Everyone stressed on the importance of participatory community work, in which women and men gain significant experience in research mechanisms, prioritize problems and propose solutions. There was also emphasis on the need to give women all possible support to develop their ideas and innovations and enable them in the future to lead their communities.
The event included a presentation on the project, its main results and the preliminary results of the ongoing evaluation. A quick documentary about the scope of the project and the roles and responsibilities of Makhzoumi Foundation, Al Mabarrat, Shield and Akkar in collaboration with a number of social development centers, local communities and municipalities was also presented to improve the situation of women and provide them with opportunities to learn and lead change that they want towards sustainability.
The problems experienced by girls and women were expressed through a presentation of self-defense and an interactive play performed during the ceremony, by girls from the team who joined the project from its inception.
Before the end of the ceremony, the audience toured the craft products exhibited by the participating women and then joined in a cocktail party.