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The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center implements a workshop to discuss occupational safety and health at work

The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center implemented on 28/08/2023, a workshop in Ramallah to discuss issues related to occupational safety and health with the participation of 18 union representatives. During the workshop participants discussed conditions and mechanisms to achieve a safe work environment, and ensured the important role of trade union representatives in negotiating with employers to provide OSH tolls and equipment to workers in different work sectors. Not forgetting to mention the importance of raising awareness among workers about complying with OSH tools and equipment. Participants also discussed the importance of forming OSH committees at work and the need to play a role in monitoring the application of safety procedures at work. They also recommended the need to highlight violations related to OSH at work, and the provision of tools and equipment, improve communication with relevant bodies including the civil defense and the Red Crescent, and conducting dialogue with employers about the need to provide insurance against work injuries to workers.

The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center implements social dialogue sessions to improve women’s access to decent jobs

The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center implemented four social dialogue sessions in Beit Hanoun, Khan Younis, Rafah, and the Middle governorate aiming to improve women’s access to decent jobs. The sessions were attended by representatives of labor offices, municipalities, Civil Society Organizations, unions, and cooperatives.

During the session violations that women are exposed to in the labor market were highlighted including violence, discrimination, and harassment at work that form a real obstacle when it comes to achieving decent jobs for women. Participants stressed the importance of joining efforts to enhance cooperation between various stakeholders to achieve effective progress in enhancing women’s participation in the labor market, and removing barriers that stands in the way of achieving equality at work.

The Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center implements a training course about leadership skills for trade unions

DWRC concluded a three-days training course focusing on building the leadership skills for unionists in Ramallah on 09/09/2023. The training course focused mechanisms of establishing trade unions, internal regulations, accountability, the role of the administrative bodies within trade unions, women’s role in trade union action, elections in trade unions, and decision making. Participants also had the chance to discuss amendments required on related Palestinian laws in terms of protecting the right to organize and trade union action.

DWRC implements a training on media and life skills, through digital tools

Gaza, 09/11/2021- Representatives of civil society organizations in the Gaza Strip, who participated in a specialized training course on media and life skills implemented by DWRC from November 6 to 8, 2021, concurred that it will enable their organizations to make a qualitative leap towards enhancing their media presence, as it will reflect positively on their performance and will allow them to develop plans to enhance their digital and media access to more target groups, in order to serve women’s rights issues.

The training course aimed to develop the skills of grassroots women’s organizations towards enhancing their media and digital presence, and their ability to be actors of change, especially with regard to women’s economic issues, and to promote the principle of equality and non-discrimination in their communities, with the aim of fostering social change and working for gender equality in the world of work.

The course was attended by 18 female and male participants, representing nine women’s associations, cooperatives and unions, namely the United Cultural Society from Rafah, the Rafah Agricultural Cooperative, Beesan Benevolent Association, Nebras Association for Social Development, Rural Women Development Society, Juzour Al-Zeitoun Society, Zeina Cooperative, the Kindergarten and Day-Care Employees’ Union, and the PGFTU women’s department.

The training course was led by journalist and social media consultant Sultan Nasser Juha, and relied on practical exercises. It dealt with journalistic writing skills for addressing gender issues and enhancing the principle of gender equality, writing press releases, editing news, conducting interviews, advertising and carrying out press conferences, in addition to mobile phone filming skills. Abdullah Shaath, from the United Cultural Society in Rafah, confirmed: “This training will contribute to a qualitative leap for my association, especially since the “learning by doing” methodology used by the trainer contributed in refining our abilities and breaking the barrier of fear that hampered us from undertaking media work.” He added: “Such specialized training contributes to enhancing the media and digital presence of associations and target groups.”

The training also focused on developing the associations’ media plans and employing digital tools to advocate for female and male workers’ rights, and promote and disseminate a culture of gender equality. Hind Abu Amra, from the Nibras Community Society in Deir al-Balah, said: “The training paved the way for developing my digital and media presence, in addition to enabling me to address gender equality issues through effective media content that may contribute to bringing about change.” Another trainees, Fatima Al-Dardasawi, from the Juzour Al-Zeitoun Society in Gaza Governorate, stated that the training broke many barriers, most importantly the barrier of fear and of speaking in front of an audience. She said “I participated in practical exercises on conducting interviews, preparing press releases and delivering them in a speech to the course participants”.

This course is an activity of the “Gender Equality in the Economic Sphere: Our Right, Our Priority” project, which is implemented by DWRC in partnership with COSPE, the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development and EducAid, and is funded by the European Union. The course was co-financed by the PSAC – Social Justice Fund.

An event about best practices of local authorities

Within the framework of the “Gender Equality in the Economic Sphere: Our Right, Our Priority” project, the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center organizes an event about best practices of local authorities in creating an enabling environment for women’s work

Ramallah – 20/12/2021- On Thursday December 16th, 2021, the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine organized an event to highlight best practices of local authorities in creating an enabling environment for women’s work. The event took place at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Al-Bireh and was attended by 32 male and female participants, including representatives of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Ministry of Local Government, municipalities, local councils, shadow councils, and women’s grassroots organizations. This event to highlight best practices is among the activities of the project “Gender Equality in the Economic Sphere: Our Right, Our Priority”, implemented by DWRC in partnership with Italian NGOs COSPE and EducAid, and the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development, and which is funded by the European Union.  

Mrs. Huwaida Ahmed, from DWRC, welcomed participants and emphasized the importance of the role of ministries, local authorities, and CSOs in providing an enabling environment for women’s involvement in the labor market. She also stressed the necessity of interventions at the local level to reinforce women’s economic participation, as well as the importance of exchanging knowledge and experiences in this regard to contribute in spreading them.

Mr. Yousef Odeh, in charge of the Supportive and Guidance Committees “Isnad” at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, highlighted the role of the ministry, in cooperation with the Ministry of Local Government, in involving women in the “Isnad” committees in local authorities since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Mr. Odeh added: “the ministry formed around 300 permanent supportive committees, consisting of qualified women and spread in the various villages, cities, towns, and refugee camps throughout the various governorates, with an average of seven members each. The “Isnad” committees aim at providing guidance and supportive interventions for all social segments, with a special focus on marginalized groups. The committees, additionally, contribute in creating youth leaders that play a role in changing stereotypes about women’s participation in various spheres of life, and enhance women’s political, social, and economic empowerment”.

Mr. Sayel Hannoun, director of public relations and media at the Ministry of Local Government, emphasized the role of women within the sustainable development process, fostered through a series of programs implemented by the ministry to empower women and reinforce their participation. Mr. Hannoun added “the Program to Empower Women in the Decision- Making Process implemented by the ministry is designed to increase women’s presence in local governance bodies. The program endeavors to develop the capacity of women members in local authorities and connecting them with women figures and leaders, through integrated guidance interventions”.

Representatives of the municipalities and local councils then presented the best practices they applied to facilitate women’s economic participation and empower them. In this regard, Mrs. Tamara Haddad, a member of al- Bireh Municipality Council, presented the initiatives, awareness-raising programs, training courses, guidance activities, humanitarian and developmental assistance that the municipality implemented to support women in general, and women with disabilities in particular. She indicated that they intensified their support during the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, as they created a special fund to support women with disabilities, in addition to holding a weekly farmer’s market at al- Bireh Cultural Center, and holding training courses for women to start and execute small income-generating projects.

Mrs. Hiba Mustafa, the head of the public relations department at Anabta Municipality in Tulkarem governorate, presented the role of the municipality in encouraging women’s participation in economic activities. According to Mrs. Mustafa, the municipality arranged several exhibitions to market women’s products, in addition to other interventions to improve the quality of life for women, including women with disabilities. On a related level, Ms. Khadija Aqra from Qabalan Municipality presented the main interventions and initiatives that the municipality implements to enhance women’s participation in the economic sphere, including women with disabilities. Among these mentioned initiatives, she mentioned a project to create work opportunities for women in cooperation with UNRWA, as well as a Cultural Forum for the youth graduates and a library. Moreover, women were invited by the municipality to participate in preparing the developmental plan. The municipality of Qabalan also initiated a training program for women with disabilities and cooperated with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to form an “Isnad” Committee in the town. Likewise, Mr. Usama Hamran, presented several initiatives and programs undertaken by Arraba Municipality in Jenin governorate to empower women economically, including assigning a piece of land to implement a women agricultural project, from which 9 women benefited.

Ms. Asmahan Awawda, member of el- Koum Local Council in Hebron Governorate, talked about her outstanding role in developing the local council’s activities and activating women’s role in their community, and this despite a variety of obstacles that she managed to overcome thanks to support of the former head of the local council. Ms. Awawda added that she managed, through the support of the community, in establishing a women’s center in the area, Eathar Center, which is the first center in the area to provide services for women. Youth activist Bayan Abu Fkheida, from Ras Karkar Association- Ramallah, presented her role in activating women’s role in the village. She added that through the activities organized by the “Isnad” Committee formed in Ras Karkar, she managed to recruit the support of the local council for a bazaar for women entrepreneurs’ products organized by her association. Ms. Abu Fkheida added: “the association seeks to support and enhance women and youth initiatives in order to activate women’s societal role, and advance women’s leadership abilities in all sectors, alongside with developing the capacity of rural women to participate actively in public life”.

The event contributed in fostering exchange of experiences between participants, and concluded with a number of recommendations, among them the importance of institutionalizing women units within municipalities and local councils, and considering these units as a pillar of the local governance bodies’ structure. Additionally, participants recommended spreading knowledge about the law governing local authorities among all the local governance entities, and training newly elected women members in order to unify the level of knowledge among all the members of the local governance bodies. Moreover, they recommended to undertake a precise assessment of the needs of women within local authorities in order to reflect these needs in the competent ministries’ plans and strategies.

Gaza CSOs discuss employment policies and their impact on women with representatives of governmental institutions.

Gaza, 21/12/2021 – On March 20, 2021, the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Gaza organized a thematic seminar on employment policies, attended by 60 representatives of civil society organizations and trade unions, which aimed at enabling CSOs activists to acquire knowledge about specific policies, plans and mechanisms they should refer to or interact with in order to defend women’s labor and economic rights.

The seminar was held in light of women’s situation in the world of work, which for many is characterized by low wages and the absence of a decent work environment, not to mention prevailing legal issues that require urgent attention and the unification of efforts by ministries, trade unions, employers, CBOs and women’s organizations in order to develop a clear national plan that gives priority to integrating women into the labor market and advancing their rights, improving women’s participation in non-traditional professions and reducing unemployment among them, and creating opportunities to enhance women’s capabilities and improving their access to decent work.

The seminar’s participants issued several recommendations, among them necessity of an optimal implementation of employment policies in Palestine to address rights violations in the labor market, especially violations of women’s rights. They also recommended working on re-instating the Social Security Law, expediting the implementation of the minimum wage decision in the Gaza Strip and amending the provisions of the Labor Law, to ensure the provision of social protection for all groups. Furthermore, they highlighted the need to support and encourage women’s small businesses in remote areas, market their products, form qualified human resources, and focus on vocational training and capacity building for women and youth. Finally, they stressed the need to improve prevailing societal views about women’s work and encouraging their economic participation, as well as using modern technology to serve women, and compel the government and the private sector to implement the 5% employment quota for persons with disabilities, increase this percentage, and adapt workplaces, in order to achieve social justice for them.

The seminar is part of the “Gender Equality in the Economic Sphere: Our Right, Our Priority”, implemented by the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center in Palestine (DWRC), in partnership with the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development (PWWSD), COSPE, and EducAid, and which is funded by the European Union.

 DWRC’s Gaza coordinator, Mrs. Mona Rostom, opened the seminar and spoke about its objective, and the Center’s vision about the necessity of implementing the National Employment Strategy and the responsibility of each ministry towards implementing related policies, regulations, and mechanisms, as well as the role of CSOs in this regard.

Mr. Amin Assi, the representative of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, who participated remotely from Ramallah, presented the ministry’s plan. He said: “the Ministry seeks to increase women’s participation rate in the labor market in partnership with the Labor Ministry and CSOs; there is a necessity to increase the number of day-care centers and men’s participation in domestic work, and adopt a paternity and parental leave to support women, in addition to approving the Social Security Law, and protecting female workers from harassment in workplaces.” He added: “We need to improve education outcomes by orienting women towards specialties required in the labor market, tightening admission procedures for specializations, providing grants for women, targeting remote areas and protecting workers in the informal sector.”

Mr. Nasser Al-Far, representative of the Minister of Labor, spoke about the role of the Ministry of Labor and the situation in Palestine due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the pandemic’s effects on the world of work and how it has impeded the correct implementation of employment policies, noting that thousands of workers have been laid off. He said: “we must work together to develop the TVET system and support labor market policies. The government seeks to attract funding for all development projects, improve conditions in general, and provide social protection”.

Mrs. Nour Habib, representative of the Fund for Employment in the Gaza Strip, said: “Reducing poverty and unemployment is among the fund’s objectives, and we contributed in providing thousands of temporary job opportunities in partnership with the government and civil society institutions”.

Dr. Salameh Abu Z’eiter, representing trade unions, spoke about the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 8, which concerns enhancing economic growth for all and providing decent work, equality and justice and non-discrimination, and the eradication of poverty. He said: “We must strive to have a society free from hunger and poverty, where peace prevails and human rights are respected, and where working women are empowered and involved in policy-making”.

Mrs. Haneen Al-Samak, an expert on disability issues, presented the situation of persons with disabilities in Palestine, and said: “workplaces must be adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities, particularly women with disabilities, and there must be a focus on prohibiting their exploitation. We must put pressure for the implementation of laws, and activating sanctions”.

Mr. Yasin Abu Odeh, the representative of the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development in Gaza, and Mrs. Abeer Al-Ghoul, representing the General Federation of Trade Unions, agreed that the seminar had a positive effect for representatives of organizations and trade unions, as it presented and discussed the National Employment Strategy for the years 2021-2025, and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs national plan, which should be accessible to everyone. At the end of the seminar, participants called for formulating the recommendations and working together to send them to all relevant parties, with the necessity of submitting them to the government, especially the Ministry of Labor through its representative.

DWRC contributes in developing the media and life-skills of women’s grassroots organizations

Representatives of women cooperatives and associations adopted a preliminary draft of key criteria for evaluating the media products of their organizations from a gender perspective, during the third training course on media and life-skills held by the Democracy and Workers’ Rights Center. The course was attended by seventeen trainees, representing eight cooperatives and women’s associations, including: Al Namaa Society for Rural Women, Bala’a Consumer Cooperative & Women’s Society, Aswat Association for Supporting Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, Anabta Cooperative, Tubas Charitable Society, Tulkarem Charitable Society, the Women Rural Development Society (Jayyous Cooperative), and the Women’s Center in the Northern Jordan Valley.

This course is an activity of the “Gender Equality in the Economic Sphere: Our Right, Our Priority” project, which is implemented by DWRC in partnership with COSPE, the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development and EducAid, and is funded by the European Union. The course was co-financed by the PSAC – Social Justice Fund.

The training course combined practical and theoretical approaches, and was held for three days from 28 until 30/12/2021. The trainer, Lubna Al-Ashkar, addressed the ethics of dealing with the media and the most important skills that must be mastered for making interviews, methods for dealing with journalists, speeches and body language, press releases writing skills, methods of effective use of social media tools, ethics of using the Internet and gathering information sources.

Khadija Daas, a representative of the Anabta Cooperative, said: “Through the course, I learned how to stand confidently in front of the camera and how to avoid repeating some mistakes that I used to make in the past, and how to communicate with others and transfer our experiences to people”. The representative of the Jayyous Cooperative, Shaima Beida, added: “Through the course, I learned how to stand in front of the screen, and how to speak tactfully and express my opinion”.

Trainees were able to develop practical skills through working groups and role-playing. Participants were trained on creating written content on social media, and media advocacy campaigns. They collaborated in conducting simulated television interviews, which were later reviewed and commented upon.

Muntaha Odeh, representative of the Aswat Association for Supporting Persons with Intellectual Disabilities, said: “I learned how to prepare a press conference, and how to launch a media campaign for my association”.

At the end of the course, the trainees agreed that they will work on preparing their media plans based on what they learned during the course, while developing the social networking pages of their associations, and focusing on publishing advertisements and news related to their work.