The program to establish the National Observatory for Women in Agriculture and Rural Areas (NOWARA) was initiated in 2007 in the framework of TerCom Project “Activation of mechanisms to sustain rural territories and communities in Lebanon”, financed by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs/DGCS and implemented by CIHEAM-IAMBari in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture and the Lebanese CNRS, with the technical support of ONILFA (National Observatory for Female Enterprise and Labor in Agriculture) of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture (MIPAF).
Lebanon is probably the first Arab Country that has launched such leading initiative which is targeted to marginalized and neglected groups in rural areas.
The main factors that led to the creation of Nowara are the following:
- The need for a specialized governmental body able to voice female workers and entrepreneurs of the rural world together with policy and decision makers. The aim is to have the women’s role recognized in the field of agriculture, agro food and rural products;
- the analysis and the updating of the legislation on female employment and proposition of measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against rural women.
NOWARA Objectives and Main Tasks
Nowara is a specialized governmental body having executive, advisory and directive tasks.
One of its main objectives is the promotion of territorial development through the valorization of women entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative dynamics related to the work and employment of Lebanese women in the agricultural, agro food and rural sectors. Nowara also aims to support rural women by spreading knowledge and good practices.
It will give further national recognition to women who play a major role in economy and production, both in formal and informal sectors in rural areas.
To go into details, the Observatory will:
- Analyze rural women constraints in entrepreneurship and labour sector, and propose corrective measures.
- Collect information and analyze data to identify rural women entrepreneurs and to motivate potential business rural women.
- Create the linkages with sources of information and service organizations, financial support, international marketing links, research, training, problem solving, and quality aspects…etc.
- Analyze the legislation regarding female employment and propose measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against rural women.
- Prepare/propose amendments and promote new legislations that will facilitate women access to productive resources (access to credit, landownership, marketing facilities,) health services, social security and education…etc.
- Advocate on work rights, inheritance, land ownership, rights to access productive resources, education and promote literacy programs, technical training…
- Increase awareness towards proper application and effectiveness of laws and legislations that govern women work as laborers and business women.
- Promote pilot initiatives in agriculture and agro-food and create networks with similar groups in the Mediterranean and near east regions.
NOWARA Target Group
NOWARA is addressed to women in rural areas, in particular those who are economically or potentially active in the field of agriculture, agro-food and rural products. A wide group of agriculture employees, entrepreneurs and laborers all over the Country are expected to benefit from its services.
Among NOWARA members there are representatives from concerned public and private sectors who play a role in the agricultural and rural development sector. Nowara will also establish partnership with experts from the private sector, as well as with research, educational and academic institutes, trade unions, NGOs and civil society organizations that support women in agriculture and rural development. It will promote linkages with service organizations, investment development authorities, banking sector and women entrepreneurs.
In addition, the Observatory will voice rural women along with policy and decision makers; supporting them strongly through legislative and regulating bodies and public administrations.