In Lebanon, three national UN Volunteers, Vicky Kendirjian, Lara Riachi and Rim Kalfayan, joined the Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs (OMSWA) to support the latter and the Lebanese government in addressing priorities pertaining to women's affairs.
Promoting the advancement of the status of women in all areas of life, especially in terms of political participation, directly contributes to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
The volunteers contributed by assisting in developing research and knowledge on issues related to women's affairs, liaising with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on all financial and administrative issues, and managing communications, including the social media platform of OMSWA.
They also assisted in the logistic preparation and implementation of training sessions, workshops and conferences, mainly targeting women's political participation in Lebanon during the 2018 parliamentary elections.
Jean Oghassabian, Minister of State for Women's Affairs, highlighted the important role UN Volunteers play within the OMSWA.
Having UN Volunteers at the Office of the Minister of State for Women's Affairs made me sense the passion, the enthusiasm and the motivation of these volunteers to be engaged in the Lebanese community and to be part of the national efforts for the advancement of the status of women in Lebanon. --Jean Oghassabian, Minister of State for Women's Affairs
National UN Volunteers Lara Riachi (left) and Vicky Kendirjian (right) register participants in the Conference on 'Fostering the Role of Political Parties to Promote Women Representation in the Upcoming Parliamentary Elections 2018', and engage with the participants. (UNV, 2018)
Activities and workshops conducted to enhance the effectiveness and meaningful participation of women were organized together with UN Women, the UNDP Elections Assistance Project (LEAP) and the European Union.
Some activities included launching the roadmap with a panel discussion with the political parties to discuss women's political participation in Lebanon. A meeting was also convened with media outlets on the role of media in promoting women in parliamentary elections, and the organization of the media campaign 'Half of Society -- Half of Parliament', which was launched through TV channels, billboards and social media outlets.
Female candidates running for the 2018 parliamentary elections from political parties and independent candidates received training through a workshop on media and political effective messaging offered in partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
A training workshop on electoral campaign management and skill development was also held for women from political parties and civil society.
Volunteerism is a positive and powerful way to change our lives and others lives. Women represent half of Lebanese society, I am volunteering to contribute in changing the stereotypical image of Lebanese women who are becoming politically and economically empowered. --Vicky Kendirjian, UN Volunteer with UNDP, Lebanon
The hard work of the three UN Volunteers and partners has impacted the local community by affecting the process for reaching gender equality in Lebanon.
For Yeran Kejijian, UNV National Officer in Lebanon, "Lara, Vicky and Rim are great examples and an inspiration to youth, current and future volunteers as proof of how effective and important volunteerism is and how it helps in achieving the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda, and in contributing to more inclusive parliamentary elections."
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