Spring forward for women

The project for political and economic empowerment of women in the Southern Mediterranean region promotes access and effective participation of marginalised women in economic and public life by addressing the barriers that have impeded their engagement in these areas.

Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia

Timeframe: 2012-2016

Budget: €7 million (EU contribution) + €1.2 million (UN Women budget)


The programme aims to empower women politically in order to assure their active engagement in decision making spaces, to empower them economically, and to enhance regional knowledge and experience-sharing on women's political and economic rights.
What does it do?
Implemented by UN Women, the Spring Forward programme supports initiatives by national and regional institutions and civil society organisations to ensure women's active engagement in decision-making, empower them economically and share experience across the region on women's political and economic rights.
The programme responds to support needed at regional and country levels and builds on local initiatives. Work at regional level is focused on several priorities: capacity building; increasing the participation of women in electoral processes; and strengthening local and national governments to have effective services toward poverty alleviation and advocacy.
Political empowerment of women: the programme develops the capacity for civil society organisations (NGOs and community-based organisations) as well as governing bodies and political parties to implement a gender perspective in their structure, and to advocate for women's interests.
Economic empowerment of women: the programme supports poor women, in rural and urban areas, who have entrepreneurial potential but who lack assets, required skills or are too poor to access financial and non-financial services in order to overcome barriers to entry into income-generating activities and to effectively access economic opportunities.
Sharing knowledge and experience of women’s political and economic rights on a regional basis:the programme builds up a knowledge hub on women's citizenship and democratic transition in the Southern Mediterranean region at the regional level to ensure that national experiences are captured and shared. 

Actions in brief


Carries out media campaigns to promote woman's participation in economic and public life among the general public.

Political empowerment of women
  • Sets up country advisory groups (made up of the EU Delegations in each country, UN Women, NGOs and government representatives with the involvement of business associations, chambers of commerce and similar institutions) to act as a decision-making and as a monitoring body;
  • Provides training in identifying gender needs to all stakeholders; provides capacity development to transitional bodies, government ministries and civil society organisations; provides training for women in local councils; builds capacity in electoral bodies; develops the capacity of civil society and community-based organisations to ensure women's participation in electoral processes.
Economic empowerment of women
  • Designs service packages that will include grants for start-ups (provided through NGOs), vocational and business development services (including training and marketing assistance) and asset transfers for capital development;
  • Establishes linkages between women entrepreneurs and NGOs and government service providers, business associations and chambers of commerce.
Sharing knowledge and experience of women’s political and economic rights on a regional basis
  • Sets up a system of regional knowledge and experience sharing on women's citizenship and economic rights;
  • Creates a roster of technical experts to deliver expert advice as requested;
  • Carries out comparative analysis of constitutions, laws and policies in the region and beyond;
  • Works on the research, analysis and documentation of gender equality issues as well as the documentation of relevant methodologies.


EU Cooperation with Syria is currently suspended due to the political situation in the country; however, since in principle Syria is eligible for cooperation under the ENPI, activities may be taken up again once the situation improves.

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