| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
- The following is a brief prominent strategic stages and key developments in the establishment of the initiative:
- The first phase (2002- 2003): study the current situation of Bahraini women’s need.
- The second phase (2004): establish a Complaints unit in the Supreme Council for Women to monitor the complaints received by Bahraini women.
- The third phase (2006): Establishment of the complaints center and due to the increase in the number and type of complaints faced by Bahraini women
- The fourth phase (2011): The establishment of a center for supporting women and developing related policies
- The fifth stage (2013): an integrated center providing and following -up family, social and economic services and capacity building
- The following are the most prominent major activities during the implementation of the initiative:
- a number of integrated databases has been established, as well as contributing to the implementation of a series of field studies in order to understand the current situation and identifying gaps. consequently, formulating a series of awareness and training programs aims at increasing the awareness and understanding of the Bahraini society regarding the values and concepts of stability and family bonding.
- Women's Support center is considered among the SCW’s next phase mechanism to lead the national action in in the implementation of the national plan for the advancement of Bahraini women.
- Services are provided through three divisions according to the following:
- Department of complaints: receives legal complaints and the following-up requests with state ministries such as the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Social Development and Nationality, passports and residence affairs.
- Department of Counseling and Guidance: it provides guidance to the requests received by the Center for Women's Support .some are related to family counseling, social and psychological counseling.
- Department of programs and projects: It implements a number of awareness and training programs aimed at capacity building in a number of economic, political and family spheres. It aims to provide Bahraini women with the necessary skills and techniques to enable them to perform their roles in public life.
- The center receives inquiries from reviewers and the public by telephone, newspapers or e-mail.
- The center receives inquiries from reviewers and the public by telephone, newspapers or e-mail.
Workflow mechanism at Women's Support Centre:
Acceptance of the application: start at receiving the request or complaint at the reception desk and after making sure that they meet the conditions of access to the service.
Transference: the application will be transferred to the appropriate section, Take an hour - working day.
Procedures: when the specialist receives the appropriate proposal through an electronic system and after studying the application and verification of all actions, a report will be prepared regarding the compliant and the resolutions to overcome the case. And this process takes between two weeks - a month or more depending on the response.
Follow-ups: Women Support Centre will follow up the application with the official bodies in the event the applicant encounters any difficulties.
Close the file: The applicant will be informed with the final conclusion after.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
- Beneficiaries / customer "service users": Bahraini women and non-Bahraini with children.
- Service providers: The supreme Council for Women identified a required structure and tasks and mechanisms of action.
- Senior leadership and decision-makers: His Majesty the King and Her Royal Highness the Princess President of the Supreme Council for Women, and members of the Supreme Council for Women representing public female figures experienced in women’s affairs.
- Others involved supporters of the service providers:
- Contracted lawyers with the SCW that provide legal aid service.
- Contractors with experts in the areas of quality (such as a family, economic, political, and leadership).
- Other official bodies which requests are referred to them for different jurisdiction (such as violence centers, social centers, the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs, and the Ministry of Housing).
- Programs Funders of projects (for example: the Islamic Development Bank, the Arab Gulf Program for Development - AGFUND).
- Training agencies for programs and projects (for example: the University of Bahrain, Royal University for Women
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
A special budget has been allocated for the Centre from the Supreme Council for Women’s budget which is funded by the State. The budget covers all material obligations towards service providers within the framework of cooperation agreements with international organizations and bodies such as United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), AGFUND, Islamic Bank, and Bahrain Development Bank. The costs associated with the expansion of the Women’s Support Centre as well as the costs of empowerment programmes (social, economic and political), there has been funding from different organizations which reflects the faith instilled in the initiatives of Kingdom of Bahrain as we seek to serve Bahraini women. With regards to the advisory services cost, they were (238095) USD while temporary projects cost (2380952) USD over 7 years (2008-2014). The benefits provided to Bahraini women from the Centre do not compare with the cost of those services and projects.
The Center is divided into:
- Waiting hall for reviewers with screens.
- Waiting hall for reviewers with children equipped with television ( educational channels and cartoon) and a corner for reading and mind games.
- Reception hall to meet the reviewer and enter their data
- Room for seeing the legal advisors.
- 2 rooms for guidance and direction advisors.
- Offices for specialists in different areas.
- Offices for administrative staff (director and heads).
- Eco-friendly facilities and friendly to the disabled.
- Appliances and furniture.
- Technical resources.
- E-numbering system according to the type of demand
- Electronic registration systems for reviewers
- Sound and video recording of advisory halls
- Emergency bell
- Text message system
- Toll free number
- Recording system to monitor phone calls
- System to track phone calls by e-mail and respond to past communications
- Electronic forms available on the website
- Administration: Centre Director and Heads of Department
- Specialists in the field of counseling and guidance
- Specialists in the area of social services
- Professionals in the legal field
- Specialists in the area of project management
- Experts are contracted in various fields: law firms, training experts, expert in social matters
The Women's Support Centre strives to develop human resources and increase the skills, abilities and knowledge of the employees which will allow for the provision of excellent services to women. The Centre's training plan is also in accordance with the Supreme Council for Women's National Strategy which aims to, sharpen and develop the skills of employees in order for them to become the experts and consultants in all areas of services offered at the Centre instead of relying on outside sources.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The issue of the Housing Ministry resolution No. 12 of 2004: allowing Bahraini women who have custody of Bahraini children, breadwinners, and widows the ability to benefit from housing services. Furthermore, an exemption for Bahraini women (has a child, divorced or widowed) from waiting 5 years for housing allowance, instead the housing allowance is provided immediately from the date of submission of the application, and in 2006 the housing decision (No. 83) was issued which allows women the right to register her name to the living unit if she has contributed to its payment. The resolution also allows any adult, male or female to apply for housing with one or both parents. The Supreme Council for Women launched in cooperation with the Ministry of Housing a project named "Housing” which aims to empower Bahraini women that don't qualify for housing services such as divorced, widowed or abandoned women, in addition to single women who are orphaned and are over the legal age to benefit from (without right to ownership) from the housing services in accordance with substantive controls.
- Cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and Islamic Affairs in relation to: the establishment of an alimony fund in 2005 whereby expenditures are provided to those who have been issued alimony however it is not being implemented, or for the duration of the court proceedings. The Act was amended in 2009 to include expenses for children of Bahraini women married to foreigners. An office to provide family reconciliation was inaugurated at the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the Centre in July 2014 to provide consultations before raising the case in court from the Centre's experts.
- Family law (section 1) 2009, which is to regulate marriage and the rights of both parties. In addition to amending the law proceedings before courts to give urgency to claims for custody, alimony and visitation.
- Law No. 35 2009 which emphasizes treating foreign women married to Bahrainis and children of Bahraini women married to foreigners the same treatment as Bahrainis when it comes to accommodation fees, education and treatment.
- Inauguration of "Riyadat" an economic incubation center for women. It is an initiative to create jobs by encouraging entrepreneurship and the development of small or medium enterprises. Riyadat provides administrative services, training, and consultations to their incubates. It is a joint initiative between the Supreme Council for Women and Bahrain Development Bank.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Follow-up, evaluation and monitoring of progress of initiative is done via the following:
- Completing implementation of an electronic system for the women's support center in September 2011. It is the main database for the Centre as well as a general database for Bahraini women. The women's information center depends on this database to receive information relating to complaints in order to convert them to statistical data used as indicators for future studies in the area of women. It is also used to adopt resolutions to improve the services provided to women and improve their status. The system provides easy methods to retrieve information electronically and get rid of paper files since all the documents are added to the system. The database also facilitates the evaluation of the Centre's work as well as staff's appraisal of their daily work. The electronic system is a mechanism to study the needs of Bahraini women (Dashboard), and then develop strategies on these needs.
- Periodic meetings and consultations with partners in regards to the implementation of the services provided by the Centre which is done through a number of focus groups, meetings, in addition to field visits which have helped to continually develop services provided by all parties.
- Interactive visits are (Process Benchmarking) a self-evaluation and development mechanisms, such as:
- Participating in an exploratory visit to Germany to gain insight into their experience in protecting human rights and freedoms in June 2014.
- Family Forum 13 in the U.A.E. to identify the role of social institutions in family development with the aim of providing social services for all members of society through the provision of preventive ,therapeutic or development programmes to maintain family stability (2013).
- Benefiting from international experts through the training provided to the Centre's staff in Egypt and transferring the knowledge to other staff (2011).
- The first training course for senior staff in the Arab Complaints Office via an invitation from the regional network of offices with complaints (Ombudsman) in cooperation with the Office of the Ombudsman, which was held in Rabat, 2007.
- Evaluating the services provided by the Centre using customer evaluation forms which are available at the front desk as well as online.
- Social media channels also play a role in assessing and developing the Centre's services.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
- the costs of training programmes proposed exceed the budget allocated to the Centre, however these obstacles were overcome by finding funding agencies to support the budget required to implement these programmes such as (Labour Fund "Tamkeen", Bahrain Development Bank, Islamic Bank for Development, and "AGFUND").
- Finding ways to electronically network with institutions and ministries that cooperate in the provision of services. However seeing the difficulty of implementing electronic networking due to the privacy and confidentiality of data, there is coordination with relevant institutions to implement an electronic feed according to requirements of the provision of services with these institutions.
- The implementation of specialized training programs require expertise not available in the Centre's staff. To overcome this obstacle, the Centre collaborated with specialized training and relevant experts to implement training programmes in specific areas such as the economic and political empowerment.
- The Centre also faced a number of due to a lack of legislation relating to women (for example, the absence of a law on protection from family violence), these obstacles have been overcome by following up with the related organizations, for example, a Coordinating Committee has been set up between the Supreme Council for Women and members of the House of Representatives and the Consultative Council. This is to help provide legislative and regulatory framework for the integration of women's needs through the tools and mechanisms available to the legislature to achieve equality of opportunities at the national level. For example there was recently the formation of a national team and drafting of a national strategy to combat domestic violence against women in Bahrain.