We Lead’s impactful side event at UN Nest Hub, organized by The UN Foundation, before the Women Deliver Conference 2023 was a testament to the program’s commitment to intersectionality and inclusive activism. The event, held at Norrsken House, featured speakers from the Lebanon and Honduras Communities of Actions (CoAs) who shared their experiences working towards sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in their countries. The event was moderated by Moufeeda Haidar Haidar, Senior Youth Collective Coordinator at Restless Development.
The interactive session titled “Intersectionality in Practice: Building a Global SRHR Movement Serving Young Women in All their Diversity”, was a space for We Lead Communities of Action, right holders, and young women to share their experiences, knowledge, and thoughts. It was a space where the participants had the opportunity to learn about effective techniques and share lessons learned in creating national movements for SRHR while also discussing transnational movements and pushing for SRHR on a global level.
Intersectionality in Practice
Speaking on behalf of Noun El Tadamon, Farah Abi Mershed discussed the difficulties and achievements of their work in Lebanon. By creating creative strategies to reach marginalized women, they addressed structural exclusion and discrimination while working in rural and marginalized areas. Farah underlined the significance of modifying tactics, enabling access, and elevating the voices of marginalized women. In a complex Lebanese context marked by cultural, religious, and political complexities, Noun El Tadamon is inclusive, reaching out to all women and tailoring their work to diverse identities. Farah emphasized their dedication to fostering an environment that welcomes women from all backgrounds and their ongoing involvement beyond financing cycles.
We want to amplify the voices of women – we don’t only work when we have grants and funds.
Andrea Paz, a young advocate from Honduras and communications officer at Organización Llaves, highlighted their work with a variety of groups, including women living with HIV, LBTI people, and people with disabilities, while sharing her experiences from Honduras. She addressed concerns including forced sterilization and discrimination, emphasized the ongoing advocacy against anti-rights groups, and welcomed a major victory in the legalization of the morning-after pill. Andrea emphasized their dedication to diversity and working with different organizations and campaigns to lobby for change. The challenges they face include addressing harmful beliefs and advocating for comprehensive sexual education in traditional communities.
Working Across Movements: A Collaborative Approach
Working across movements is crucial to advancing social, political, and cultural change on a global scale. The importance of collaboration between different movements is crucial to advance intersectionality, amplify voices, build bridges, solidarity and support, and achieve long-term change.
Andrea talked about working together with legal aid organizations, HIV organizations, and bigger groups that advocate for change. Farah shared their partnership with Montada al Jensaniyya in Palestine, emphasizing the importance of collaboration as an act of resistance against apartheid.
The We Lead side event offered a forum for genuine discussions, the exchange of varied experiences, and exploring avenues for transformative solidarity. It served as a monument to the resilience and commitment of activists pursuing a more equitable and inclusive society. The story of transformative solidarity develops traction as these voices keep resonating, challenging existing norms and encouraging collaboration for long-lasting change.
Moufeeda Haidar is a gender equality and social inclusion specialist with over 8 years of experience. She is the Senior Youth Collective Coordinator for the MENA region at Restless Development working mainly on SRHR issues within the We Lead program. Before joining Restless Development, Moufeeda worked as the Lead Gender Integration Specialist at The Arab Institute for Women (AiW) at the Lebanese American University (LAU) and has also worked as a local consultant for international organizations and UN agencies. She has been a panellist and moderator in international conferences. Moufeeda holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Law from the Lebanese University, and an MA in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies from LAU.
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