Settore GEWE (Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment)

Since the last 20 years Italy is carrying out a strong action in favor of Palestinian women’s social, cultural and economic empowerment. Thanks to this commitment, our country has been unanimously recognized as leader in the "Gender equality and women’s empowerment" (GEWE) cross-cutting sector in the Palestinian Territory and officially took on the role of European Lead Donor for GEWE sector in February 2013.
The Italian Cooperation has been a pioneer in addressing the phenomenon of violence against women in the Palestinian Territory through the creation, since 2001, of Mehwar Centre for the protection and empowerment of women and families.
The Centre became a center of excellence in the Palestinian Territory in dealing with gender based violence cases and constitutes an essential point of reference for the planning of national policies to combat violence, as well as a reference experience for the whole Middle East region.
After the creation of the Ministry of Women's Affairs in 2003, Italy was one of the first donors in supporting the gender mainstreaming policies of this Ministry through the TAMKEEN programme, thanks to which in 2005 the first 4 Tawasol centres have been created in the Governorates of Nablus, Jenin, Bethlehem and Hebron as training, information and communication spaces with a a socio-economic, cultural and social goal.
The action of the Italian Cooperation has been relaunched with Welod (Women's Empowerment and Local Development) programme from February 2009, as part of the Italian support to the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP) 2008-2010 especially targeting "the promotion of women’s participation and empowerment in the society".
In a context where the aid to the PA has shifted  from an emergency phase to the capacity building, the program WELOD provides MoWA and the 11 Governorates with specific technical assistance in order to develop policies and actions aimed at protecting women’s rights, along with improving their social, economic and cultural opportunities through the Tawasol centers that since 2010 are present in all the eleven Governorates of the West Bank and managed by the Governorates their selves in partnership with MoWA.
As stated by the Minister for Women's Affairs, Rabiha Diab, in several occasions, the Tawasol centers represent MoWA at the decentralized level, allowing to meet the strategic and practical needs of Palestinian women in a capillar way throughout the country. At the same time, the eleven governorates of the West Bank consider these centers, a unique and strategic experience to involve civil society organizations and institutions in shared and sustainable action plans for women’s  empowerment.
From 2013, the 2nd phase of WELOD programme has started with promoting Palestinian women’s socio-economic empowerment of and combating gender based violence by creating women’s qualified employment, labour market guidance, the promotion of primary and secondary prevention’s policies and the reintegration into the society of women survivors of domestic violence.