About Women on the Frontline


This three-year initiative supports the capacity development of partner organisations in the MENA region to enhance women’s active participation in the political process in Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The programme is lead by Hivos and implemented together with Oxfam Novib and PwC, in close cooperation with local partners in each of the designated countries. The programme is supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a total of €5.8 million.


The overall objective of the programme is to strengthen women’s organisations to contribute to the full and equal participation of women in transforming societies in the MENA region. This is realised through organisational and strategic capacity development support to women’s organisations. Both the organisational and the substantive/thematic capacity building programmes are developed specifically for Women on the Frontline, based on the needs identified and expressed by participating organisations. In addition, the programme supports activities of these organisations in the field of women’s political participation.

The programme is aimed at new and emerging women’s initiatives and organisations that started their activities just before or during the ongoing transitions. These initiatives are often not (yet) connected to international support mechanisms, which means that their impact can be increased considerably by strengthening their capacity, and by linking them in mutually complementary activities. Many of these initiatives are led by young women and provide new ways and entrances for investing in women’s rights and empowerment.

Four core areas for capacity enhancement have been identified within the programme as critical to empowering women in the region, and for addressing gender-based discrimination that for generations has deprived women from exercising their rights as equal citizens and contributing to just societies:

1. Organisational capacity development
2. Capacity to demand gender-sensitive constitutional, legal and policy reform
3. Capacity to demand full and equal participation in political and civic processes
4. Capacity to undertake civic education and awareness raising initiatives to promote gender equality

PwC Netherlands’s role

PwC is responsible for the organisational capacity development of the participating organisations in the Women on the Frontline programme. PwC assesses their organisational capacities and their wishes and needs for improvement through a specifically designed Capacities Assessment Tool. Based on this assessment, a tailor made group level capacity development programme is offered to all partners of the programme, in order to make their organisations stronger and their work more effective. In addition to these group trainings, half of the participating organisations receive individual level capacity development support covering their specific needs.

Examples of training content are financial and administrative management, organisational structure, decision making processes, human resources and programme management. Both levels of the capacity development (group and individual sessions) will be implemented in close cooperation with Hivos and Oxfam Novib, together with the local PwC offices in Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia.

Oxfam Novib’s role

Oxfam Novib is responsible for the implementation of the Women on the Frontline programme component in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, building on a long and extensive experience of working with women’s organisations in these three countries. Oxfam Novib selected the Tunisian, Egyptian and Yemeni partners of Women on the Frontline, is responsible for the grant management to those partners and is closely involved in the set-up and implementation of the strategic and substance capacity building support to these organisations.

Oxfam Novib has supported many partners working on gender justice in the region for almost forty years, and building women’s movements by providing long-term institutional support has been a particular asset in ON’s work. As one of the main implementing partners of the  Women on the Frontline programme, Oxfam Novib offers its constant input and advice on the realisation and evaluation of the day to day and overall strategic direction of the programme

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