Overview Tawasol Centers
03 - Sep - 2016
The women’s empowerment centres Tawasol have been established in all 11 Governorates of the West Bank as an inclusive governance structure based on the connection and discussion of more than 250 women leaders of civil society (organisations, associations, cooperatives) and institutions (Ministries, Governorates, Municipalities, local services). The first four Tawasol were established in 2005 in Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin and Nablus, the other seven in 2010 – 2011, in the framework of the Italian development cooperation programmes TAMKEEN and WELOD (Women’s Empowerment and Local Development).
Identified in the Palestinian Cross-Sectoral National Gender Strategy 2014-2016 as a mechanism for national gender mainstreaming, the Tawasol centres are precursors of European recommendations about networking between institutions and civil society for local development.
They are managed by the directors of the "Departments for women and children" in the 11 Governorates of the West Bank, in partnership with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), and since 2011 they have benefited from an extensive training programme that has been implemented in cooperation with universities and research centres, NGOs and Ministries. Reflecting the two main axes of the Italian-funded WELOD programme, economic empowerment of women and combating gender-based violence, the training was aimed at creating professional skills for work and developing competencies for the creation of small and medium enterprises and, in parallel, working on the integration of female victims of violence into society and the labor market.
In 2014, the MoWA proposed a draft law to the Council of Ministers for the institutionalisation of the Tawasol centres that have been included as specific departments within the organigram of the Ministry. A section of the proposed draft law concerning the constitution of a National Steering Committee was issued as Decree Law by the Council of Ministers in July 2015, signed by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah[R1] .
As recognized by local counterparts, the presence of the TAWASOL centres within the government structures ensures that women's issues are brought to the attention of the institutions and inserted in the national political agenda, which includes within it, a cross-cutting gender strategy and a national strategy to combat violence.