National model for mergence women needs
Supreme Council For Women

The Problem

Since 2001 Supreme Council for Women has aimed to strengthen the role of women in development and make them a capable partner in the development of the kingdom and the community, hence the main specializations of the Supreme Council for women included formulating a National Pan for the Advancement of Bahraini women and to implement the National plan the council sought partnership with all concerned bodies including the public and private and civil sectors and cooperation with the legislature to find legislative solutions and procedural for the negative phenomena that could face women to enable them economically, socially and politically.
In the process of implementing its plan the council undertook a methodical approach in liaison with partners be it the public sector of civil society through signing and implementing memorandums of understanding and joint project document aiming towards the enhancement of the role of these and creating the required integration towards mainstreaming women’s needs in the programs and projects of these institutions, however this approach still failed to reach the anticipated results.
Therefore and despite all exerted efforts, the national plan did not achieve their desired objectives in the integration of the needs of Bahraini women in the development in general, and did not activate the requirement, except of the effort made by the Supreme Council for Women in the implementation and follow up the implementation of the aspects that relate to their own task (families stabilization, political and legal empowerment, and economic empowerment). The council was faced with immense challenges in activating the role of its implementation and strategic partners especially the civil society, being the main sought for partner in building awareness towards women empowerment issues and in partnering with the council in organizing capacity building workshops and programmes in the field.

Based on the above the need to develop a comprehensive and integrated model for the integration of the needs of women in development as a mode This has led to the emergence of develop l

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Within the efforts made by the Supreme Council for Women to enable the integration of the needs of women in development, the Board considered the need to gain support by the partners of this important principle as a gateway to integrate women's needs in development and to enhance equal opportunities within the Kingdom of Bahrain. The 1st National Bahraini Conference for Women has been organized during the period from 8 to 10 November 2010 under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of King of Bahrain, President of the Supreme Council for Women, the conference was entitled "Integrating the women needs in the development programs.. the role of national efforts: Equal opportunities .. Justice and Progression for all" .

The conference was organized in partnership with the Bahraini Women's Union ensuring the council’s approach towards undertaking a community engagement strategy and enabling the civil society’s role as the main and strategic partner in enhancing Equal Opportunities and Mainstreaming Women’s Needs in development.

The main goals of the National Conference were as follows:
1.Observing the national efforts at the official and civil society sectors in dealing with the concept of integrating women's needs and the mechanism to enable finding the appropriate form of implementation.
2.Integrating the national plan for women advancement strategy in Government’s Action Program.
3.Formulating the proposed national model for mainstreaming women’s needs in the development (Government's Action Program) to include integration mechanisms and the roles of the responsible partner organizations.

The National model for mainstreaming women’s needs in development is a unique model of its kind in the region as none of the Gulf states (GCC) has developed a procedural, national model specifically for Mainstreaming women’s needs in development.

The model includes a specific action plan, mechanisms, and procedures and identifies responsibilities of different authorities.

The model is inclusive and executable.

It’s implementation is based on the principle of partnership; therefore, a national committee was formed under the direct supervision of the President of the Supreme Council for Women to follow up the implementation of the model of mainstreaming women’s needs in development, the committee includes representatives from:
-Supreme Council for Women
-Ministry of Human Rights and Social Development
-Economic Development Board
-Shura Council (Advisory Parliamentary Council)
-Women's Union

The model confirms two primary procedures for mainstreaming women's needs into the development, namely:
1-Setting budgets responsive to the needs of women as a mechanism to regulate and control government expenditure.
2-Create Equal Opportunity Units in all ministries and official institutions to ensure the principle of equal opportunities, spreading awareness and educating all concerned about women's rights, responsibilities and issues.

The model ensures mainstreaming women’s need in development in national policies, strategies budget and projects and programs, therefore its implementation should lead to:

1-Considering the needs of women in allocating budgets of all programs, projects and services within the Kingdom.
2-Insuring that women’s needs are reflected on a national scale when delivering all services (education – health services – housing …. Etc).
3-Increased participation for women in decision making positions in public – private – civil society sectors.
4-Enhancing the role and involvement of women in entrepreneurship
5-Raising family stability and decreasing the rates of divorce violence against women.
6-Developing a community culture that establishes Equal Opportunities as a mandatory principal and undertakes all required procedures to implement it which will in turn reflect on empowerment and advancement of all Bahraini Women

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Accordingly, the model has been prepared by discussion between the key partners in the development process.

The National model is the outcome of the conference, and is based upon specialist’s discussion at a national level aiming to identify ways of mainstreaming the needs of women in the development. This dialog included the main regional expertise in the field (Arab Women Organization and the Egyptian Women’s Council) so allowing the model a methodical foundation.

Based on the key objectives of the Conference and the outputs of the working papers and general discussions at the conference, The conference came up with the model including identified diagnosis and mechanisms for the requirements of the Kingdom of Bahrain in mainstreaming women's needs so setting the structure for mainstreaming theses needs in the course of development.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
International conventions signed by the Kingdom were the main thresholds for the National model such as the CEDAW convention since it is the main reference in combating discrimination against women.
The Supreme Council for Women also depends on the present cooperation with UNDP, since a comprehensive project document is signed between both parties and Mainstreaming women’s needs is considered a main pillar within the document. The UNDP has supported and sponsored several of SCW’s efforts and programs in the field the most important of which are those aiming at Capacity Building and establishing national trainers in the field.

The Supreme Council for Women adopts the following main strategies in implementing the model:
-Develop an effective system for partnership with ministries and official institutions to mainstream the needs of women within the plans, programs and allocate the necessary budgets to determine that.
-To achieve the principle of equal opportunities in these institutions in the fields of recruitment, training, promotion etc.
-To raise the awareness about women rights and responsibilities and the principle of equal opportunities.
-To Develop the budgets responding to the needs of women and meet the requirements of the advancement.
-To Include equal opportunities as a standard or mandatory criteria in all national strategies.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Phase I: Planning and Coordination:
-A National Committee has been formed to follow up and implement the National Model for mainstreaming women’s needs in the government action program, which has been head by Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, President of the Supreme Council for Women. The Supreme National Committee shall monitor the implementation of national model for how to integrate the needs of women in the government action program.
-Creation of a unit or a department to integrate the needs of women in the development in the Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Women to activate the national model for mainstreaming women's needs and the implementation of the directions of the National Committee for follow up of the implementation of the national model.
-Coordinating Committee has been formed to integrate the needs of women in development between the Supreme Council for Women and the Shura Council, by which currently there are ongoing communication to implement the national model
-A national circular was issued to all ministries and governmental organizations to implement the principal of equal opportunities and to issue budget’s responsive to the needs of women.

Phase II: Implementation:
• An Action Plan including practical processes to activate the national model for mainstreaming women’s needs in development has been formulated and is currently being implemented
• The Supreme Council for Women and the Ministry of Finance and The Economic Development Board have partnered towards identifying mechanisms for mainstreaming women’s needs in the Government Action Program and the preparation of budgets responsive to the needs of women
• Twelve equal opportunities unites have been established with there are ongoing efforts to activate their role.

Phase III: Monitoring and Evaluation:
• Ongoing communication with equal opportunities units for the continued activation of the working procedures
• Ongoing follow up and evaluate of all unites according to a specific standards (action plan - monitoring report - follow-up and evaluation reports - standard forms for meetings, identification brochures card ... etc.)
• Ongoing communication with the rest of the ministries of the Kingdom for establishing the equal opportunities units.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
-The lack of awareness about the model and the importance of activating it were the major difficulties faced during the activation of the National Model; this was overcome by holding meetings with stakeholders and implementation of workshops within the field. Current an information awareness campaign has been planned to spread the concepts of integration of the women needs in the development.

-Although a circular was issued by the Ministry of Finance to all ministries and governmental institutions to take inconsideration the goals of the National strategy for the Advancement of Bahraini women, the ministries were unable to implement the requirement of the circular since the required procedure was unclear and no budget was allocated for the implementation process. Therefore and upon the issuing of the National model and as a primary procedure towards women need responsive budgets, the ministry issued another circular stating that all national organizations are to take into consideration the implementation of the principal of equal opportunities and to issue budget’s responsive to the needs of women, this circular included specified execution procedures.

-On trying to implement the model, the council was challenged with the fact that no budget was allocated to establish equal opportunities units and also no decree was issued to include them within the organizational structure of governmental entities, to combat this problem it was agreed with all concerned organizations that the units are to be established by recruiting a number of employees already within the organizations staff, they will also not be receiving any extra payments or benefits for working towards enhancing equal opportunities within the ministry/organization or in its field of work.
Communication is currently underway with the ministerial cabinet to include equal opportunities units within the organizational structure of all governmental organizations.

-No specific mechanism was available between the Supreme Council for Women and the Ministerial Cabinet to include women’s needs in the action programs of the ministries, so insuring budget allocation, to overcome this status the council agreed with the cabinet to formally request all ministries concerned to include women’s needs raised by the Supreme Council for Women within their plans.

-No mechanism was established to activate the role of the legislative authority in ensuring mainstreaming women’s needs in national policies, budgets and action plans, the Supreme Council for women has now established a coordinative committee with both Parliamentary councils to ensure that this challenge is tackled.

-Lack of national expertise is also a major challenge this led to recruiting regional consultants and the Council in cooperation with these expertise and the UNDP is currently conducting a complete training package for a group of concerned individuals leading to establishing a network of national trainers in the field.

-Lack of human resources working towards the implementation of the national model in comparison with the requirements , the council is using the available employees to their maximum capacity, also condensed and ongoing training are being conducted to ensure constant development of skills and capabilities. The Council is considering recruiting more employees in this department however is faced with the lack of informed resources.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
•The establishment of the Department of the Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Women
• The establishment of units of equal opportunities within the staff of the ministries
•The implementation of Training Portfolio for the concerned parties for the necessary skills for activating the National Model.
•The Cooperation with the UNDP and utilizing their expertise ( providing consultants – sponsoring programs - joint organization of programs)
•Currently the council is studying a UN proposal with the UNDP and University of Bahrain to implement a Master’s degree and training programs
•Cooperating with Tamkeen in implementing several projects and programs
•Cooperating with several developmental banks in the kingdom
•Continuous cooperation with civil society organizations in executing capacity building and awareness raising programs

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
•The existence of the National Committee for the monitoring the implementation of the national, by royal decree and chaired by Her Highness the President of the Supreme Council for Women, shows that there is a positive response of the Bahrain Government for the concept of starting to include women's needs in development via the Government Action Program and the establishment of equal opportunity units as a mechanism to follow up the integration process, this reflects the support of the nation leaders towards mainstreaming the needs of women.
• Currently of the initiative is implemented in a certain number of ministries and official institutions, the plan for implementing the model in all governmental institutes and to move the initiative to the private and civic sector at a later stage.

•The council aims at engraving an effect of the community in the field of equal opportunities in effort to enhance the development of the Kingdom, the council hopes that in time equal opportunities is executed by default in all fields and by all ministries and individuals

•The Council has set a goal to invest in national capabilities therefore establishing a network of local expertise and so building a foundation of regional consultants

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
•Establishing a National Model that is acceptable and understandable and executable by all partners for integrating the women needs in the development within Bahrain, this shall ensure sustainability and inclusiveness in the processes of improve the status of women
• True partnership within the national network would reduce the overall distance and time to achieve the objectives
•Integrated and holistic view of women's issues reduces the wastage of time, money and effort and ensures achievement of the main objectives.
•Importance of enhancing partnership with the private sector and activating their role in financially supporting mainstreaming programs and projects
•Importance of undertaking the principle of comprehensive and strategic partnership with the civil society

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Supreme Council For Women
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Azza AlKhalifa
Title:   Director of women's empowerment programs  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   P.O. Box: 38886
Postal Code:  
City:   Manama
Country:   Bahrain

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