We Believe case study

MenEngage Alliance is pleased to launch the second of three case studies intended to draw attention to Alliance members’ work on community mobilization and faith-based approaches to gender justice, developed by the Global Secretariat as part of a 2015 grant from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD). Each summarizes a particular project’s goals, methodologies, contexts, implementation, challenges and outcomes, offering in conclusion a brief assessment designed to provide value for Alliance members undertaking similar work.

This case study profiles ‘We Believe,’ a 2012 public service announcement video campaign in Lebanon organized by MenEngage Alliance member ABAAD-Resource Center for Gender Equality in observation of the 16 Days of Activism to End VAW (Violence Against Women), featuring four prominent Lebanese religious leaders, Muslim and Christian, delivering anti-violence against women messages rooted in Koranic and Biblical texts. The video was accompanied by billboards reinforcing its messages, sited across Beirut in addition to a wide social media campaign. Stemming from a mutual interest by ABAAD and religious leaders to address VAW in Lebanon, ‘We Believe’ generated a public debate: religious leaders reported encouraging feedback among some congregants who were pleased to see the problem confronted, while some feminist groups criticized the campaign, claiming  that its  approach reinforced the patriarchal authority of those leaders, who are already granted significant control over women’s autonomy and family affairs by virtue of personal status laws in Lebanon that several CSOs are in fact trying to amend.

Following the completion of the 16 Days campaign, and despite the global shift of donors’ resources to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis, both ABAAD and Lebanese religious leaders have expressed interest in continuing their dialogue and even expanding it to other issues and countries. As MenEngage Alliance begins to focus greater attention on work with faith-based leaders and organizations, lessons learned from ‘We Believe’ may prove instructive for Alliance members as they balance seemingly competing agendas of FBOs and secular CSOs in order to find common ground that enables them to address issues such as VAW.

Click here for a PDF of the case study.