With a view to fulfilling WCLAC’s mission, in line with our vision, WCLAC is working to a strategic plan – titled “Consolidating the Past; Shaping the Future” – which is guiding our activities from 2010-2012. The title reflects WCLAC’s desire to build on past achievements in areas such as protection and policy development and to ensure that the past advances and the ongoing promotion of women’s rights is influential in shaping the nature of an independent Palestinian state.
Strategic goal 1: To contribute to the development of both a legislative environment and specific institutional policies that support, protect and empower women
WCLAC’s legal reform and policy development work currently focuses on the Criminal Law, the Personal Status Law, and the development of operational protocols with the Ministry of Social Affairs based on our own experience, expertise and working practices. We focus on these two laws in particular because we have identified them as having the greatest potential for a positive impact on women’s rights and because we have identified reform, or at least progress towards it, as being achievable in spite of the challenging political context and the ongoing suspension of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC). The Personal Status Law WCLAC is advocating would clarify and affirm the rights of women in matters such as marriage, divorce, parenthood and inheritance, while with regards to the Criminal Law, WCLAC seeks to address issues of femicide, safe abortion and overall gender-sensitivity.
Strategic goal 2: To contribute to raising awareness within Palestinian society regarding gender issues and women's rights, and to combat negative practices against women
WCLAC sees awareness raising as a key activity for changing behaviour and attitudes towards women and just as crucially, empowering women with knowledge to defend and uphold their own rights – including knowing how they can access support. Awareness raising falls within the domain of each of WCLAC’s three programme units: Service Unit, Documentation and Advocacy Unit and, through the volunteer clusters, the Capacity-Building Unit. WCLAC has a variety of materials which are used to respond to the needs of the target groups. The targets include: housewives, working women, political activists, decision-makers, community leaders, media professionals, students and professionals in legal, health and social sectors, service providers, students, schools, parents. WCLAC works with these groups with two aims: one of empowering women by providing them with the social, rights-based, and legal information, the other of conveying specific messages that expose the existing discrimination and the need to change social or legal behaviours to ensure equity and fair treatment for women. Methodologies vary from running one-off information sessions and advocacy for legal reforms to running series of, say, ten workshops to cover a range of subjects with a rural women’s community group.
Strategic goal 3: To extend, improve and provide services to women suffering discrimination or violence
In WCLAC’s strategy for the period 2010-2012, direct service provision remains the backbone of WCLAC’s approach to addressing the challenges faced by Palestinian women. Through direct service provision, WCLAC identifies and addresses needs and priorities of Palestinian women. WCLAC increases the value of its service provision, by using institutional learning, including lessons learnt in managing the emergency protection shelter, to develop policies and procedures which are disseminated to build the capacity of WCLAC’s governmental and grassroots partners, most notably the Ministry of Social Affairs, Annajdh and Women for Life. Working in long-term partnerships with grassroots organisations is a means WCLAC uses successfully to extend the spread of service provision to individual women living outside the major urban centres at the same time as building the organisational strength of groups sharing WCLAC’s feminist vision.
Strategic goal 4: To document violations of women's human rights and to disseminate this information through repotrs and position papers locally, regionally and internationally
With the start of its new strategy this year, WCLAC has concentrated its focus on documentation of human rights violations suffered by Palestinian women in West Bank and Gaza, rather than heavily resource-intensive social research. Through documentation WCLAC produces powerful advocacy tools based on a feminist perspective, international legal frameworks and the experiences of Palestinian women. Documentation is used locally to increase knowledge in Palestine of violence against women, and internationally using WCLAC’s ECOSOC Special Consultative Status to present submissions based on women’s testimonies and on WCLAC’s feminist legal perspective to international human rights enforcement mechanisms, such as the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
Strategic goal 5: To enhance WCLAC's own abilities, performance and sustainability
WCLAC works hard to maintain its edge as a feminist organisation led by and serving Palestinian women. Key to maintaining the position WCLAC has established through 19 years of service, are the challenges of identifying strategies for sustainability, for cost-effective interventions, for maximising the output of activities and for building the capacities of the staff and the organisation as a whole. Particular challenges WCLAC is addressing in its self-development strategy include management of data to enhance quantitative analysis for advocacy and evaluation, and to maintain levels of funding for WCLAC’s core programme despite the difficult global financial environment, and to improve the organisations use of media in its work.