The Arab Institute for Women

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Workshop: Strengthening Arab Regional Capacity to Collect Data on VAW

On October 14 and 15, 2022, the Arab Institute for Women (AiW) at the Lebanese American University (LAU) hosted a two day in-person workshop which served as a closure for the project titled “Violence Counts! Strengthening Arab Regional Capacity to Collect Data on Violence Against Women”. The project, which addresses the substantial gap in data collection on Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in the Arab region, is a close collaboration between The AiW and the Global Women’s Institute (GWI) at the George Washington University, and is funded and supported by the UN Women and the World Health Organization.

In an opening word, LAU President, Dr. Michel E. Mawad, reiterated the university’s dedication to women empowerment and gender equality. He emphasized the importance of this project which he believes is “directly proportional to the urgency of the matter [VAWG] and the grave consequence of leaving it unchecked.” As he added, “what you are doing now stands out as a landmark towards the path to liberating our society from this true evil that has existed for far too long.”

Then, The AiW Director, Ms. Myriam Sfeir, explained the significance of this unique collaboration in building and developing the capacities of researchers and experts on VAWG. As she stressed, “because girls and women count, they must be counted.” Ms. Sfeir importantly underscored The AiW’s long-standing work on interdisciplinary research and its role in advocating for social and policy change.

Finally, the Regional Manager of the Ending Violence Against Women portfolio at UN Women Regional Office for Arab States, Dr. Manal Benkirane, emphasized the promising results of the project and restated the significant long-term impact of this collaboration program. She as well presented a brief overview of the high rates of VAWG in the Arab region and highlighted the importance of documenting the untold narratives of women through the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data.

The two-day workshop was delivered by Dr. Gulnar Wakim and Ms. Joulia Bou Karroum, and featured presentations by Ms. Gabriella Nassif and Ms. Chourouk Koteish.

On day one, the workshop’s program, in addition to an introductory recap session on the online modules, was based on three main thematic areas: “General Checklists and Cases – What Do You Need to Conduct Data Collection?” and “Cases and Quantitative Data Collection” presented by Dr. Wakim and Ms. Bou Karroum, and “M&E in GBV research” presented by Ms. Nassif.  These sessions thoroughly addressed the research processes and the steps for collecting, analyzing, and reporting data.

On day two, the workshop’s program was based on a complimentary theme: “Cases and Qualitative Data Collection” presented by Dr. Wakim and Ms. Bou Karroum. It also entailed a discussion session with Ms. Nassif on a research paper on “Child Marriage”, and another on Empowered Aid (by GWI) with Ms. Koteish. Finally, through a feedback forum organized by Dr. Benkirane, participants discussed the different ways to use and apply their strengthened capacities in future research and observations.

The workshop ended with concluding words by Ms. Sfeir, Dr. Wakim, Ms. Bou Karroum, Ms. Nassif, project manager Ms. Joanna Fayad, and GWI representative Dr. Chelsea Ullman.  Importantly, Ms. Sfeir shared The AiW’s vision and work to integrate the program’s modules into the academic curriculum at LAU.