DRL currently supports a wide variety of democracy, human rights, and labor programs across the Broader Middle East and North Africa region. In Iraq, DRL currently administers approximately $200,000,000 in over 50 programs. In the remainder of the region, current funding exceeds $32 million in 22 programs. Program topics include women's empowerment, training of journalists, political participation, strengthening rule of law, youth programs and supporting the observation of prisons. The following are examples of the kinds of programs DRL funds in the Near Eastern region.
Broaden Access to Information and Journalism Training
In Egypt, a DRL project provided a 14-month program of multimedia journalism training during which professionalized female and young citizen journalists and trained media partners to work with them, integrating their contributions into the news content that is regularly offer. The women and youths created multimedia content on issues important to their peers with the goal of engaging them in the political process. The program broadened access to information on social issues of concern to youth and women during the months leading to the parliamentary elections in November 2010. The program focused on the crucial goal of building lasting links between the partner media organizations and nascent corps of citizen journalists.
Community Development to Promote Religious Tolerance
In Lebanon, DRL funds a project that is working with faith-based community organizations and their leaders to undertake community development projects that promote religious tolerance. The project will also work with youth journalists to document the community grants implementation and disseminate its results through digital documentaries, blogs, and on-line discussions. The objectives of the program are to 1) increase positive interactions and collaboration among different confessional groups by bringing together religious leaders and their religious community members for joint projects; and 2) demonstrate the benefits of interaction and collaboration among confessional groups through multi-media outreach campaigns.
Improving Women’s Rights
DRL funds a project which seeks to uphold democratic principles and equitable practices in Jordan leading to sustainable reform in society. The project will utilize evidence-based needs assessments of existing legal, tribal, and economic challenges as well as the current baseline of violence against women and concealed girl/child forced labor to extrapolate rising needs and indicators and form an intensive training and awareness-raising program on these issues.
Iraq – Provision of Increasing Access to Legal Services
In Iraq, DRL partners provided legal aid to thousands of Iraqis unable to afford private attorneys, and strengthened the capacity of local NGOs and Iraqi universities to build a domestic cadre of independent legal experts and lawyers who will be able to improve equal access to justice for all Iraqis, especially women and traditionally marginalized communities. Prior to the March 2010 elections in Iraq, a DRL partner trained and organized nearly 400 women candidates and activists into a cross-party caucus, tracking their individual efforts at building grassroots networks through door-to-door canvassing, teas, and other events. Another grantee helped in the establishment of a National Platform for Women, with more than 200 women (and men) representing multiple political parties, civil society organizations, media, and government ministries coming together to develop the unified vision.
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