The Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTD.A) is a non-governmental organization initiated in July 1999 and based in Beirut. Whether working in Lebanon or across the Arab World primarily in Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, CRTD.A seeks to contribute to the social development of local communities and organizations through enhancing capacities particularly in gender analysis, gender and development, poverty and exclusion, for the purpose of contributing to creating a more just and equitable environment.
CRTD.A has a dynamic and flexible team of highly specialized researchers, trainers and practitioners who are able to respond to diverse needs and changing environments. Our team draws on varied and extensive skills and experiences from across the region. CRTD.A operates within the different cultural and linguistic environments of the Middle East. An advantage of CRTD.A’s is its ability to tap into a vast network of key scholars, researchers and practitioners across the Arab World. Furthermore, CRTD.A is guided by a voluntary International Advisory Board (IAB) of highly regarded gender and development experts.
Since 2003, CRTD.A has been working on promoting economic empowerment of women as part of its commitment to mainstreaming gender into economy.
Despite a relative gain in social entitlements to health and education (notwithstanding regional and other disparities), the level of women’s economic participation is poor. Positive changes in education and health have not been translated into economic participation or public and political leadership for women or for that matter at the level of gender based oppression and discrimination.
Moreover, CRTD.A observes that the main approach taken is a ‘direct assistance’ approach where the initiatives are devised on local, problem-by-problem, short-term basis, aiming to solve given problems as they come. However, there has been no holistic and right-based approach that has tried to look at the ‘whole picture’, i.e. at women in the economy from the individual level but also from the household, the institutional and the macro-level, with a vision to changing gender relationships in the long-term and engendering of the economy and addressing the issue of gender and economic rights.
CRTD.A is hence working on gender and economy through two work orientations. The first one is a field-based ongoing initiative inLebanon(Women’s Economic Empowerment Project, WEEP). It fosters community and capacity building, supports projects and experience sharing. The second initiative is a regional four-year initiative which ended in 2009 (Sustainable Economic Opportunities for Women, SEOW).
One learning from SEOW1 is that women’s participation in the economy is unaccounted for in national statistics and lacks social value and recognition. Since women working in the informal and care economy are not to be found in national statistics, they are rarely targeted by formal development projects, thus seldom benefiting from any public investment (in training, education or health), although NGOs are largely active with them, especially at the micro level. On the other hand, because of their “invisibility”, these women tend to largely be left behind by women’s advocacy NGOs, who generally take up more visible causes. Moreover, laws need to be reviewed and reformed in order to guarantee and protect women’s economic rights from discrimination and to reinforce women’s economic rights and programmes. The proposed project rationale argues that addressing and promoting women’s role in the economy is crucial for challenging gender inequalities and for contributing to women’s sustainable livelihoods