Impact Areas

Main actions

The Spring Forward for Women programme works at multiple levels to respond to the specific support needs at the regional and country level, building on local initiatives in selected countries, with the recognition that sustainable change must be locally-owned and led.  At regional level the work focuses on capacity building and advocacy targeting all Southern Mediterranean countries coupled with programmatic action in a number of priority countries undergoing either transition and reforms, such as Libya, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt or experiencing unrest such as Syria[1] or in protracted conflicts such as Palestine.  

Economic empowerment

In Egypt

  • Capacity building : In March 2014, SFD signed a MoU with a local NGO in Beni Suef Governorate to establish and operate a Milk Collection Centre (MCC) to support approximately 500 small-scale women dairy producers and integrate them into the dairy value chain. The centre has been set up. To ensure financial viability, the project brought on board a multinational company in the dairy sector, DANONE, after conducting a due diligence. DANONE will buy the milk from the MCC however, there is no obligation on the NGO operating the MCC to sell to DANONE exclusively and other companies can also buy from the MCC based on competitive market rates. Some of the women dairy producers were involved in the inception workshop in cooperation with SFD titled ‘Women’s Economic Empowerment within Productive Clusters’ to shed light on women’s economic clusters in Egypt, exchange views and experiences on opportunities for strengthening such clusters and build new partnerships to maximize the intended impact. This workshop resulted in a set of recommendations to enhance project impact.

In Jordan

  • Capacity building : In Mafraq, the programme, through Jordan River Foundation, implemented 6 capacity building trainings for vulnerable women in Al Khaldya and Qasabat Al Mafraq areas. Additionally, in 2014, two training sessions were held, which focused on women’s empowerment, business development, entrepreneurship and project management skills. The activities under this initiative include capacity building, community awareness development, the establishment of local marketing channels, initialization and expansion of revolving micro-credit and business development services, and creation of a support base for proposed entrepreneurial income generating schemes.
  • Knowledge building and information sharing : The work conducted is based on the results of the demand-driven needs assessment that has been conducted in the poverty pockets areas of the Al-Mafraq Governorate.


  • Capacity building : The programme supports the intervention of one partner, Al-Mahatta in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who provides training on the development and production of cultural designs, which resulted in the production of 20 prototypes of marketable cultural products. The programme will also be launching a grant component to support women entrepreneurs.
  • Knowledge : In support of its efforts to increase economic opportunities of marginalized women, notably through supporting women’s self-employment and micro and small enterprises start-ups, developed an agro-biodiversity manual in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The manual specially targets women farmers, tackling and addressing the specific needs of women in management and utilization of agro-biodiversity.


  • Capacity building : Initiated, in partnership with the NGO AMAL focusing on single mothers & their children,the programme is providing diversified support to single mothers (psychological administrative and judicial). The average age of these single mothers is 25, and they mostly come from rural areasand due to early school dropout they have a low educational level. The project offers vocational training in order to support access to stable employment or self-employment. Additionally, In partnership with TAMSS (Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability), the project named "Pole of Support to Employment and Citizenship" (SEC Pole) aims at fostering the emergence of a population of female citizens, integrated and active in social and economic life. The project started with the reinforcement of the staff’s qualifications in online trading, leadership and social media use. An agreement has been signed with the Employment Office of Ariana area to support professional trainings in pastry and other fields. And another agreement has been set up with the micro-credits association Ariana Development (AAD) in order to facilitate the micro-credits access for the participants.
  • Knowledge building and information sharing: The programme will shortly be launching a study …

Regional hub

  • Capacity building : the programme has been supporting Gender-responsive budgeting exchange of experience and knowledge between countries of the region. The workshops aim to reinforce national institutions in effectively supporting women’s economic opportunities. The workshop raised awareness among decision makers and decision implementers on the importance of mainstreaming gender in national plans and budgets to achieve gender equality.
  • Knowledge building and information sharing : The programme will be supporting in the coming months exchanges between countries on work conducted with micro, small and medium enterprises.
  • Partnership building, coordination and engaging with multiple stakeholders : The programme networks with other actors in the region in order to further women’s economic empowerment.

[1]   EU Cooperation with Syria is currently suspended due to the political situation in the country; however, since in principle Syria is eligible for cooperation under the ENPI, activities may be taken up again once the situation improves.

Political participation


  • Knowledge building and information sharing:  The programme is currently engaged in discussions with the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) to enhance their capacity in the development of gender indicators and statistics through the provision of technical and financial support in the development, analysis and use of gender indicators.   Ensuring that a national body such as the CAPMAS would provide a greater leverage.  To strengthen this effort, the programme will collaborate with the Faculty of Economics and Political Science (FEPS) at Cairo University to establish an interdisciplinary Professional Diploma/M.A in Gender Studies. The objectives of the diploma/M.A at Cairo University is to enhance the capacity of policy makers, civil servants, NGOs, journalists, and others working to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment by strengthening their conceptual and analytical skills in gender policy and equipping them with specialized knowledge and competencies to be capable of advocating for legislations, policies, and budgets that are gender sensitive and rights based. The programme will support FEPS in developing a degree program that is tailored to the specific needs of the university and builds on the existing expertise and knowledge base. It also aims to support the establishment of a research programme that contributes to the production of new knowledge on challenges to gender equality and to enhance student and faculty knowledge, capacity and skills in conducting research and studies in various gender-related fields.
  • Partnership building, coordination and engaging with multiple stakeholder: Within the framework of the strategic partnership between the UN and the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), the programme is proposing to implement a joint project with the IPU. The joint project will aim to ensure that gender equality is a key consideration in the design and work of the new parliament, and seeks to advance gender mainstreaming in its legislative and oversight procedures. Furthermore, the programme is currently in the process of engaging a local NGO to support the establishment of a Center for Civic Engagement to promote civic values, knowledge and skills among female and male youth. Skills such as leadership and conflict resolution and values such as women’s rights, human rights, diversity and tolerance will be addressed through practical approaches and engaging youth in local community initiatives.
  • Capacity building: the programme is working with the National Council for Women (NCW) to establish a Women Political Support Unit with the partner to provide technical support and capacity building to female parliamentarians to be able to advocate for gender sensitive legislations. In addition, the programme aims to strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations working to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women through the provision of technical assistance and training to members of the NGO- CEDAW Coalition on topics such as strategic planning and power mapping, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy and policy influencing skills. 


  • Capacity building: The Spring Forward for Women programme in partnering with its national partners supported women’s political participation in national and local elections as candidates (473) and voters by: (i) supporting the development of national political forums and coalitions to support women candidates, (ii) working with partners on public awareness campaigns at national and local (governorate) to mobilise and educate voters, and (iii) establishing the national observatory teams to monitor the election day process, and (iv) creating of core 17 national trainers to provide technical support as well as the mentoring and guiding of the local municipal councils female members.  The programme then partnered with the Jordanian National Commission of Women (JNCW) in supporting the establishment of a Technical House of Expertise - technical facility - within the JNCW’s advocacy unit to support provision of technical support to the female MPs and local municipal councils’ members in the areas of legislation drafting and monitoring skills as well as on advocacy which will be part of empowering and enhancing the leadership and participation capacities for female members in the parliament. It is currently looking at elections and unions.
  • Evidence-based advocacy / Partnership building, coordination and engaging with multiple stakeholders:  In parallel, it supported the development of a new advocacy framework by JNCW on women’s empowerment in the public sphere, the proposed framework was developed based on last national priorities and women’s needs to advance their responsibilities and roles in the public sphere. Towards advocating the gender equality and women’s empowerment in the public sphere, the programme focused on supporting local municipalities’ Nashmyyat network to expand its works and interventions with local municipal councils.


  • Capacity building/Partnership building, coordination and engaging with multiple stakeholders: The programme established collaboration with UNSMIL and UNDP, UN agencies which also work on political participation. Through this collaboration, it provided support to women from civil society and House of Representatives members to enhance the role of women in the constitutional process. It is currently pursuing this work.


  • Capacity building: The programme works with both political parties as well as local councils as two main stakeholders in increasing women’s political participation. Training with the political parties has been completed on gender, gender roles, social change concepts, leadership, differences between political parties and movements, and the analysis of bylaws of parties from a gender perspective.  In parallel, WATC, in coordination with the MoLG, built the capacity of  women local council members in the West Bank, and worked with 6 committees to advocate for women’s voices within the assigned local councils in the Gaza Strip. The training programme for the women members of local councils was based on the needs assessment carried out in the framework of the programme under the newly developed database for all the women members of local councils in the West Bank. The training programme focused on team building, planning and budgeting, laws and regulations of local governance, gender concepts, and problem solving.
  • Knowledge building and information sharing: Supported the development of the database on women local council members by WATC; the database is providing comprehensive information on each member, including their previous trainings and needs; the database also provided an assessment of these women’s needs, serving as a critical source of information for WATC and all other related stakeholders who are interested in working on women’s political participation, whether in capacity building, advocacy, awareness raising, or any other activity.  WATC handed over the database to the Ministry of Local Government in order to make sure the database will be updated on a regular basis.  
  • Evidence-based Advocacy: Following coordination meetings organized by UN Women in January and April with its partner organizations working on women’s political participation under the Spring Forward Programme and the grantees of the Fund for Gender Equality (FGE), organizations have agreed on developing a consolidated media strategy on women’s political participation. The General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW), the Women’s Affairs Technical Committee (WATC), and the Association of Women Committees for Social Work (AWCSW), held a follow-up meeting in May to define the scope of the media strategy requested. The media strategy will ensure coordination, exchange of information and networking among the organizations, avoiding duplication of efforts and funding, as well as increasing visibility of women’s issues in media and improving outreach capacity in advocacy efforts for women’s greater representation in the public and political life. The media strategy was finalized and presented in December 2014 to various stakeholders and partners during the closing ceremony of the FGW Programme.


  • Evidence-based Advocacy: Most of the work on integrating gender into structures was invested in promoting CEDAW, which responded to campaigns against CEDAW being carried out in the country and also the upcoming work on harmonising laws to the new constitution. The programme supported the development of a communication strategy on CEDAW’s content for CSOs, which also aimed to strengthen advocacy efforts for the upcoming harmonisation work. In parallel, the programme supported a series of activities targeting CSOs, government and the Constituent Assembly to complement and reinforce the advocacy on CEDAW and initiate the first steps for the preparation of the 7th periodic report to the CEDAW committee due by end 2014. Seizing an opportunity, UN Women jointly organized with UNFPA, OHCHR and the Secretary of State in charge of Women and Family (SEFF), a two-day workshop on CEDAW (April 16-17th) led by the Vice-Chairman of the CEDAW Committee. The Tunisian government withdrew its reservations through official notification to United Nations SG by end April 2014.
  • Capacity building: The programme continued support to the promotion and protection of women’s rights during the transitional period, through the Université Féministe Ilhem Marzouki (UFIM/ATFD). Additionally, the NGO LET project supported by the programme aims to ensure effective participation of young and women to electoral process. This project trained 77 participants from different NGO in 3 regions in Tunisia. Training focused on youth and women roles in electoral process. Participants used these skills in awareness campaign targeting 2,300 from young and female citizen in 3 different regions. A monitoring booklet was used by each trained participant to prepare the awareness campaign report. In the context of the project “Political Academy for Women Candidates”, UN Women has supported the NGO “Aswat Nissa” to promote women’s participation to the 2015 local elections, 25 women candidates from different political parties, backgrounds, and regions benefited from training sessions on leadership self-confidence and common vision of the project, local governance, gender responsive budget and territorial diagnostics training.    
  • Knowledge building and information sharing: The programme disseminated two brochures (one set of products) on women and men’s time use with the Ministry for Family and Women Affairs (MAFF) and political and economic participation, in order to support evidence-based advocacy. Both were largely disseminated before the legislative elections.

Regional hub

  • Partnership building, coordination and engaging with multiple stakeholders: A regional thread was identified during Year 2 in the programme implementation in supporting the national work with women parliamentarians. The regional hub is supporting the countries’ efforts through the work with parliamentarians - identified as key change makers, and in partnering with the Arab League, which is a regional body established to foster closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them. In this framework, the programme held a conference in the fall 2014 in the European Parliament with members of Parliament from the Arab States and members of the European Parliament.  More efforts are currently invested on this to support a network of women parliamentarian in the region.
  • Knowledge building and information sharing: The programme has notably develop this website as a tool to share data and information produced by the programme and other actors in the region.