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ABAAD, which means 'dimensions' in Arabic, promotes sustainable social and economic development through equality, protection and the empowerment of marginalised groups, especially women. With its 33 employees, 15 volunteers and a network of activists, social workers and lawyers, ABAAD believes that achieving gender equality will lead to social peace, security and justice, and that it requires systemic changes in policy and modes of social interactions at all levels.
ABAAD works through conducting action oriented research, capacity building and counselling, training for individuals and civil society organisations, advocacy for gender quality, policy dialogue and mobilising media.
Projects and achievements
One of ABAAD's major achievements is the establishment of Al Dar (the house). Al Dar provides a free, safe and supportive temporary house or shelter for women at risk and survivors of gender based violence, whether adolescent, single or with children. Al Dar. which operates in partnership with UNICEF and the UNHCR, has three branches, in the North, Bekaa and Southern Mount Lebanon regions. In a confidential and safe environment, women can explore their options with the guidance of trained professionals. They receive crisis counselling and life management skills, information on their legal rights, psychosocial support, medical care and income assistance to increase their levels of resilience and overcome social and emotional difficulties. ABAAD works to raise awareness about domestic violence, and to have more houses like Al Dar.
But helping abused women has many dimensions. One is training sessions and workshops for forensic doctors, nurses, and midwives dealing with rape victims. ABAAD has conducted such work in 12 hospitals in different regions of the Bekaa, North, South and Mount Lebanon governorates.A workshop in Tripoli
ABAAD, with UNICEF, produced an animation video entitled "Marriage is not a game" highlighting the risks associated with early marriage. It also collaborated with national security forces to put new rules on how its members deal with domestic violence cases.
The Men Center - a unique establishment
ABAAD also believes achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women should be done by engaging men at all levels to make the change within the public and private spheres. Helping abused and battered women cannot be completed without the rehabilitation of male perpetrators of violence.
As part of this vision, ABAAD established the Men Center (MC) in Beirut in June 2012. It is a unique psychological counselling centre, which addresses issues of masculinities and rehabilitates men with abusive behaviour. Its work reaches out to all men in Lebanon, including refugees from Palestine, Syria and Iraq. Angry men who come to the centre are encouraged to analyse the stresses in their lives from a gender perspective. They receive stress and anger management workshops, are taught emotional and coping strategies in order to adapt to a more gender equal stance in their daily lives. A nationwide media campaign has put the work of the centre under the spotlight. As a result, ABAAD began discussions with the Ministries of Interior, Justice and Social Affairs on the need to institutionalise such services in order to address gender based violence at the national level.
Working with youth
In addition to working with women through Al Dar, and men in the centre, ABAAD reaches out to youth groups aged 16-26 and children under 16 years old to raise awareness on gender equality. It produced a cutting-edge training toolkit, one of the first developed and tested in the MENA region. It contains a training guide of 10 games, setting important groundwork for children to understand gender equality.
Understanding refugee issues
In the face of a serious refugee situation in Lebanon, ABAAD collaborated with Oxfam to conduct a study that explored how gendered social and economic roles of 150 Syrians and Palestinians changed when they moved to Lebanon. With the International Rescue Committee, ABAAD monitored the forms of violence targeting women among Syrian refugees, including forced marriages, trafficking and sexual exploitation. Some reported being forced to have sex in order to receive medical and social services.
ABAAD, in partnership with the International Medical Corps, developed the photo booklet "Maha's story". It is a resource that provides Syrian families living in Lebanon with basic legal information related to protection from violence against women and girls, especially sexual violence and trafficking. The association also produced three short videos dealing with issues Syrian refugees women face in Lebanon, and a booklet entitled "My right to protection during armed conflicts" with basic practical knowledge about UNSCR 1325.
With funding from the EU, ABAAD is developing a documentary on gender role transformation as a result of the Syrian crisis, as more women have become the sole bread provider for their families, as men are either fighting, disabled or dead.
Outreach and awareness raising
In partnership with the UNRWA, it also produced a documentary on Palestinian refugee camps about women who have survived gender motivated violence. Iraqi refugees in Tyre in the South, Jdeideh and Haret Hrek in Beirut, were reached out to with photo booklets informing them of their personal status rights.
ABAAD also shared its expertise with ESCWA in a joined study entitled "Frameworks for Combating Violence Against Women in the ESCWA region". It launched the "we believe" campaign (on television, radios and billboards) addressing religious leaders and using their significant influence on society to change attitudes and behaviours regarding violence against women. At national level, ABAAD shares expertise with international partners such as the Association for Women in Development, Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation, the 16 Days Global Campaign, Freidrich Eibert, International Women's Alliance, Save the Children and many others.
Last updated: January 2017