The last year was marked by significant upheavals at an international level, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The Russian regime has attacked the shared values and security framework that underpinned Europe’s longest lasting peace since 1945. Elbarlament stands with Ukraine. We strongly believe that a strong civil society in Ukraine and Germany is crucial for providing effective support for Ukraine’s victory and reconstruction efforts. Civic education and training programmes, especially with a focus on human rights, democracy, and civil society development, are important elements of a value-based response to the blatant violation by the Russian government of internal law. The project Democracy Moves, funded by the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (BpB), has been inspired by this conviction, offering civic education courses and opportunities for networking and collaboration to Ukrainian women residing in Germany because of the war. In this way, we promote civic engagement of Ukrainian civil society activists in Germany as well as in Ukraine.

Human rights violations are on the rise in many countries, not least in contexts of state fragility. We started the implementation of our first EU-funded project in Yemen, which supports women Human Rights Defenders inside as well as outside of Yemen. As in previous years, together with our partner organisation Women Now for Development, we continued supporting women through a leadership programme in remote areas of Lebanon.

In addition, we massively increased our programme portfolio in Iraq. We ran new projects ranging from short-term feasibility studies related to civic education and climate change to training programmes on integrated water resource management and a big, multi-year project to create an online civic education platform for Iraqi citizens. At the same time, we continued our engagement in promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda through capacity building and research. Last but not least, we trained Iraqi women in documentary filmmaking and showed their work at a film festival in Baghdad.

Women in particular face the effects of political unrest and insecurity as well as climate change. It therefore seems more pressing than ever to us to support women in their individual and societal struggles to combat political unrest as well as repressive governments in the MENA region. We published several papers on the topic while continuously promoting women empowerment within our many projects, focused on supporting civil society activism, women’s political participation, societal justice, and environmental protection, all the while exposing and removing structural barriers to inclusive governance. Alongside these grant-funded projects, we conducted several consultancy assignments through our company branch.

We are glad to report that 2022 was the first year in which we were active in all four of our thematic programmes in Iraq: Arts & Culture; Civic Education; Environment & Climate Change; and Women, Peace and Security.

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