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The Zeytuna Project is coordinated and managed by Mandat International, an independent apolitical foundation, receiving the support of the United Nations Democracy Fund. Mandat International aims to promote international dialogue and cooperation, and benefits from a long experience in supporting grass-root organizations.

The project aims to create a capacity building programme for about a hundred Syrian women currently refugees in Lebanon, so as to increase Syrian women’s opportunity to fully participate in the democratic, economic and reconstruction processes during the post-conflict period. The project will serve as a source of inspiration to other Syrian women.

This will be implemented through a package of tailored training courses mainly focused on (i) International law (including Human rights, Gender/Women's rights, Children’s rights and Humanitarian law) and democratic mechanisms, (ii) Conception and design of projects, and (iii) Networking and Communication.

The participants will acquire the knowledge and develop skills needed to more effectively address social, political and economic barriers to their effective participation within their respective communities. The women participating in the project will get a better understanding of international human rights standards, how to develop and manage projects, and receive communication training. The project aims to enable Syrian women to become active citizens participating in the reconstruction of their country and to serve as a source of inspiration to other Syrian women. 

The Zeytuna Project was implemented during two years in Turkey (Reyhanli) (2014-2016) and led to the creation of a unique Centre for developing the projects presented by the women participating, Dar Zeytuna  (2016-2018). This autonomous managed center stimulates motivation and provides in an efficient way the support needed to launch these projects 

Program Summary and main goals

The overall goals of the project are:  

  • Empowering Syrian women to actively participate in the social, economic and cultural life by means of awareness raising, encouraging initiatives and creativity  

  • Encouraging women’s participation in the reconstruction process of Syria in the post conflict period  

  • Targeting women from disadvantaged backgrounds who lack the economic or social means to receive training in project management  

  • Advancement of women’s rights and voices in the society 


We believe that education has a vital role in the process of women’s empowerment. It enables the acknowledgement of one’s rights and of the processes that take place in the society having an impact on individuals’ lives. In order to increase awareness of these issues, we propose a training scheme providing a general understanding of women’s rights and the work done by human rights institutions to further these aims.

The purpose is to provide a platform for women refugees from Syria to design and execute a project of their choice by training comprising of an initial preparatory course followed by a period of independent work of project development supported by international experts. The project will run in Beirut for 24 months. Each training phase lasts approximately one week and is followed by a three months period, in which participants work on their own projects. 

The training phases will consist of the following issues:

  • In the first phase, participants will gain fundamental knowledge on the UN system and international standards protecting them. This will include women’s and children’s rights and an introduction to international law.  

  • In the second phase, participants will acquire improved capacities and skills in project management.  

  • In the third and final phase, participants will develop communication and networking skills, including with regional and international resources and organizations, as well as with other Syrian women. 

Throughout the project, participants are encouraged to develop their own projects linked to women empowerment. Their projects will also be monitored and supported throughout the periods in between training phases.