NOWARA Observatory (National Observatory of Women in Agriculture and Rural Areas)

Place: lebanon, Asia
Socio-economic dynamics and global markets Socio-economic dynamics and global markets
Total Budget: € 200.000,00 | Period: From December 2012 To


Creation of an Observatory having the aim to help rural women in developing their own  activities and  enterprises. The Observatory, depending directly from the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, aims to:
- Promotion of territorial development through valorization of women entrepreneurship
- creation of innovative dynamics related to work and employment of women in agricultural, agro food and rural sectors
-  Support women by spreading knowledge and good practices
-  Further national recognition to women role in economy both in the formal and informal sectors
- Promote women role in rural policies and decision making
- Enhance partnership and networking


International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies/ Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari - Italy

Lead applicant

The Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (MAIB) is a Centre for post-graduate training, applied scientific research and design of in-loco partnership actions in the framework of the international cooperation programmes. It works in four thematic areas:

THE NATIONAL OBSERVATORY FOR FEMALE ENTERPRISE AND LABOUR IN AGRICULTURE (At Ministry of agriculture food and forestry policies) - Italy

Initiative partner

Organizing conferences and workshops about themes related to women status in rural areas, in order to share know how and best practices; • Gathering information about the role of women’s work in the development of rural areas, so as to supply useful guidelines to public administrations for future planning and specific interventions in rural development; • Publication of information (brochures, documents, papers) on themes the Observatory deals with.

Ministry of Agriculture, Lebanon - Lebanon

Initiative partner

Agriculture and marineculture Policy, Assistance and development of Agriculture, Food security

Ministry of Foreign Affairs - General Directorate for Development Cooperation - Italy

Initiative partner

L’organizzazione delle attività di Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, componente essenziale della politica internazionale dell'Italia, fa parte dei compiti del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (MAE), che demanda tali attività alla Direzione Generale per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (DGCS) che è l’organo preposto ad attuare tale politica, in attuazione della legge n.49/87. La DGCS attua le linee di cooperazione e le politiche di settore nei diversi Paesi, stabilisce rapporti con le Organizzazioni Internazionali, con l’Unione Europea e con le Organizzazioni non governative; programma, elabora ed applica gli indirizzi della politica di cooperazione e le politiche di settore tra cui sanità, ambiente e sviluppo imprenditoria locale; realizza iniziative e progetti nei Pvs; effettua interventi di emergenza e fornisce aiuti alimentari; gestisce la cooperazione finanziaria e il sostegno all’imprenditoria privata e alla bilancia dei pagamenti dei Pvs; promuove e realizza la cooperazione universitaria.

NOWARA: a tool to confort the woman role The creation of NOWARA Observatory could be considered as an innovative idea in the field of rural sustainable development related to gender and women’s empowerment. It’s a specialized governmental body having executive, advisory and directive tasks. Its main challenge could be considered the promotion of the territorial development through the valorization of women entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative dynamics related to the work and employment of Lebanese women in the agricultural, agro-food and rural sectors.

This initiative could contribute to Feeding Knowledge Program by responding to the needs of women rural communities with a bottom-up approach, toward the valorisation of their role. The main innovation could be considered at a cultural and social level. Having an Observatory totally devoted to rural women and being recognized from a governmental institution (as the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture) is an important achievement for the Lebanese society from a cultural point of view and its impacts on the economy of a Country, as Lebanon, is very important. The agricultural sector could have only positive effects from a bigger and better organized involvement of women.NOWARA has worked to give further recognition and rewards to rural women, studying their real conditions through research and statistical studies, overcoming the legal barriers that still restrain their economic and social independence and giving them opportunities to be trained and to benefit from technological innovations 

Lebanon is probably the first Arab Country that has launched such leading initiative which is targeted to marginalized and neglected groups in rural areas.
The human and environmental scenario and its peculiarities,  that led to the launch of the initiative could be summarized as following:
- the need for a specialized governmental body able to voice female workers and entrepreneurs of the rural world together with policy and decision makers. The aim is to have the women’s role recognized in the field of agriculture, agro food and rural products; 
- the analysis and the updating of the legislation on female employment and proposition of measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against rural women.
- The need to give voice to rural women along with policy and decision makers; supporting them strongly through legislative and regulating bodies and public administrations.  

Please describe all the relevant results you have achieved through the research.
1. Consultation activities for establishing the NOWARA legislative framework: resulted from intensive consultations with the decision makers and experts concerned.
2. The Establishing of a Database for rural entrepreneurs. Information and data were collected utilizing a special questionnaire, based on which main constraints and priority areas were defined. A primary list of women entrepreneurs was created including women both in cooperatives or in informal sectors who wish to improve and develop their economic activities. The list is posted on NOWARA website and will be regularly up-dated.
3. The Creation of a portal  www.nowaralebanon.org that provides several services to the users, mainly:  showcase for entrepreneurs, information on how to establish business, registration procedure, how to establish a cooperative, how to access credits and  loans, list of funding agencies, service providers, market i

NOWARA Target Group NOWARA is addressed to women entrepreneurs in rural areas, in particular those who are economically or potentially active in the field of agriculture, agro-food and rural products. A wide group of agriculture employees, entrepreneurs and laborers all over the Country are expected to benefit from its services, as well as consumers that could benefit from a more controlled food production and the whole rural community.  
In order for NOWARA to be successful, these specific needs/problems were taken into consideration:
•major prevailing farming systems;
• Touristic areas and its community based management aspects and related woman’s role;
• existing development facilities and its access by women;
• women’s work involvement in and outside the village;
• Women’s roles and activities in agriculture;
• The roles of men and women in the rural household ;
• Women’s participation in the local authorities;
• Health facilities and its access by women.

Around 22 people are directly involved in the initiative, in particular:
11 Coordinators from Lebanon with the main task of assisting the womens communities/cooperatives and organising / coordinating the main activities.
9 Facilitators acting as a linking points between coordinators and women communities.
2 Staff including IT specialist and administrator

- Legal recognition of the Observatory by the Lebanese Government that has been done through official Decree. Due to the instability of the Lebanese Government and the complexity of the institutional structure, Legal recognition has represented a major constraint that was overcome thanks to a long work of diplomacy and by the commitment of Italian Cooperation that succeeded in meeting  the Lebanese political will.
- Give visibility and continuity to the project. Though the implementation of several activities jointly organized and supported by the Italian and Lebanese institutions  and  though a continuous support (financial and institutional) of all the partners involved.

NOWARA is addressed to women in rural areas, in particular those who are economically or potentially active in the field of agriculture, agro-food and rural products. A wide group of agriculture employees, entrepreneurs and laborers all over the Country are expected to benefit from its services. NOWARA has contributed to “engender” the Lebanese rural economy promoting at the same time the social role of rural women and encouraging them to invest in agriculture both economically and from a professional point of view.
There is the possibility that the whole rural communities benefit from the valorisation of women labour / work resulting in a more "stable" environment. 

Other Arab Countries have also expressed their interest in the establishment of observatories for women in rural areas, having equivalent institutional organization, function and services (Egypt, Tunisia etc.).

Actual Lebanese Governement confirmed its support to the observatory which is also taken into consideration by the United Nations Agency ESWA.

Together with the other Partners, we are thinking about the possibility of establishing a regional observatory for the Mediterranean Countries. 

Launching of Nowara National Award 2010 for best Agricultural-Economic Initiative implemented by women in the Lebanese rural areas & Distribution of certificates of attendance in Nowara Training program
- Technical Training Trip to Italy (2011)
- Coordinators Training 2012 - NOWARA coordinators on study tour in Italy (2013)
- Awareness Campaign for Intermediate Classes in Lebanese Schools (2013)
- Participation in Horeca Event 2013
- The Garden Show 2013 hosts Women Entrepreneurs in rural areas supported by NOWARA 

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