GPG delivers specialist technical advice through a core group of retained Associates who are former Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior civil servants or parliamentary staff, and academics. We have built long-lasting relationships with Associates which we seek to highlight in this series of personal profiles.
This month’s Associate, Moataz Ghaddar, is a Lebanese researcher, trainer, and consultant who has dedicated the past few years to providing trainings in a wide range of topics relating to human rights and gender equality. He has been involved with our Lebanon work since 2020.
Describe your area of work. What encouraged you to work in this sector?
I have experience in various areas of work: as an inspector in the Ministry of Tourism; in teaching accounting and business maths; and I am a trainer and researcher in the field of gender equality and women empowerment.
From working with both the private and public sectors, I came to realise the extent and impact of gender discrimination in many fields. I was driven to work on this issue by three main factors: my passion for sharing knowledge to empower others, the urging need to address gender inequality, and the results that could be achieved – the chance to ultimately improve our communities and support their happiness and well-being.
What one thing about working in your sector do you wish was different?
While you can see many initiatives taking place in Lebanon, coordination between implementers is rare. We would be able to achieve more desirable and sustainable results if there was increased coordination among stakeholders, both local and international. I wish that a cluster, a coalition of organisations working on the same objectives could exist to cover all the areas that require intervention for more effective results.
Initiatives focusing on Women’s Political Empowerment and Women’s Political Participation have become a major source of funding in Lebanon over the last decade, but little data on their performance and effectiveness exists. What little research does exist focuses on women’s descriptive representation in electoral bodies as a primary indicator of the success of these initiatives, specifically the proportion of seats held by women in municipal councils and national parliaments. Researches about the effectiveness of these initiatives are indispensable, but they should take into consideration many criteria beyond the number of women in municipal councils or in Parliament.
What work have you done with GPG, and what drove you to work with our organisation?
I have worked as a Local Associate with GPG’s 2020-2021 “Winning with Women” programme in which I facilitated the training sessions, followed up with the participants about the trainings and the assignments on which they worked, and provided coaching sessions to selected participants afterwards.
In the subsequent 2021-2022 “Winning with Women” programme, I also worked as a Local Associate, this time in designing and delivering trainings on Leadership and Communication in addition to my role in the management and coordination process of the project.
As an advocate of gender equality, my work promoting women’s political participation and empowerment aligns with GPG’s work in Lebanon. The country presents complex and sensitive political structures, and GPG’s expertise in working with some of the most challenging and sensitive political environments makes it one of the most effective organisations to support change and women’s political empowerment and participation in this context.
How would you describe the impact of your work with GPG?
Drawing on my knowledge and analytical reading of the Lebanese context, I was able to design and deliver demand-led trainings, based on the needs of the participants and on the political environment. My role in the project’s coordination and management enabled me to act as GPG’s eyes on the ground and to monitor and follow up on the implementation of all our activities to ensure compliance with GPG’s plans and regulations.
My work with GPG ensured the good representation of GPG’s vision among stakeholders in Lebanon. Through my networks, I was able to expand the areas of GPG’s work by introducing new groups of participants, which allowed us to add the regions of Saida-Ghazieh and Beirut-Tripoli to the project.
Share your thoughts on a recent event or news story that caught your attention or had a particular influence on you or your career.
Crises have discriminatory impact on communities with structural and embedded gender inequality such as Lebanon’s. This means that regardless the nature of any crisis, women and girls will be impacted disproportionately compared to men and boys.
The juxtaposition of the Covid-19 pandemic, political instability, social tensions, the Lebanese economic crash – one of the worst in the world since the 1800s – in addition to the explosion in Beirut on 4 August 2020 – had powerful consequences for Lebanon, specifically Lebanese women and girls.
These unfortunate events had a major influence on my vision and overall approach, and made me realise that change is vital for Lebanon. Through my work with GPG, which gave me the opportunity to realise the potential of Lebanese women, I developed a stronger belief that this change is achievable by empowering women to hold policy- and decision-making roles.