Sanaa Albanawi

Sanaa Albanawi

Gender Focal Point for Middle East and North Africa

As a young woman, I have always been fascinated by how women and young people can contribute to the pursuit of peace. I obtained a master's degree in Human Rights and Human Development at Jordan University, further strengthening my commitment to continue promoting women's rights and gender equality. Today, I work as an Education Policy Officer at IREX, in Jordan, and at the same time, I continue my work as a Women, Peace and Security (WPS) advocate in the MENA region. The commitment to include women and youth in peacebuilding processes is a crucial element of my personal and professional life. 

How are you working on inclusive peacebuilding and conflict prevention in Jordan? Can you share a success story?

Since 2017, I have contributed to the drafting and coordinating of the Jordanian National Action Plan (JONAP I) on WPS. In 2021, I became one of the major contributors to the second JONAP as a Knowledge Management Specialist. During the drafting process, I had the opportunity to engage with local women and grassroots organisations. I worked to ensure that the priorities set in JONAP II would reflect the needs, priorities and demands of Jordanian women. This experience taught me that local women's knowledge and unique perspectives are critical to complement the government's efforts to implement the WPS agenda. Therefore, I firmly believe that their contribution makes JONAP an effective and meaningful instrument for women's participation and empowerment.

What motivated you to become a Gender Focal Point for GPPAC? 

Women and young people face great uncertainty concerning their role in peace and security. Even though there is evidence of the importance of their participation, their concrete and meaningful inclusion needs to be improved. This is particularly visible at the decision-making level. In my region, I noticed that decision-makers are often averse to the participation of women and youth, as they are believed to lack the competencies necessary to have a seat at the table. To better overcome these challenges, I joined GPPAC, which is, first and foremost, a platform for learning and exchange. Thanks to the network, I have strengthened my skills and encountered like-minded individuals with whom I can share my expertise and interest in WPS. By working with GPPAC, I learnt about the many different ways in which young women like me can become crucial drivers for peace. By being part of the network as a Gender Focal Point, I hope to contribute to removing the obstacles that stand in the way of women and youth's full participation in peace and security.

Region: Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
Area of Expertise: WPS Agenda, YPS Agenda, Training, Strategic Planning, PVE

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