Since February 2008, the TWE program has worked with diverse partners across Lebanon to implement 38 English classes in its first phase, serving over 731 women of all ages, ranging from 18 -73 years. Due to the project’s popularity, we will be operating twice as many classes in the second phase.
•To empower women in their communities, to help women improving access to employment and education, and to enable women to support their children in their studies.
•To develop civil society in peripheral regions by boosting local associations, raising their visibility, and helping them meet the needs of their communities.
•To create a network of women and NGO’s with a shared commitment to increase their opportunities through learning English.
How it works
Hayya Bina works one-on-one with our local partners to create and implement classes. In coordination with Hayya Bina, the partner selects students and teachers from the community to take part in the project. The program provides the teachers’ salary, text books, supplies, and produces certificates. The classes are completely free for the students.
The first two classes in this region were established in Chmustar in cooperation with Voluntary Action Association. Due to the fact that the second language after Arabic is French in the Bekaa, compounded by the low availability of English courses, these classes were extremely popular. We expanded our partnerships in the Bekaa to other villages where English had never previously been offered. As Akram Kanso, director of Development, Culture and Giving Association, mentioned, bringing English to the region has had a contagious effect. Suddenly, everyone is clamoring to learn!
Initially, Hayya Bina began its work in the south chiefly through intermediary partners as we were not familiar with this region. Now, we have begun working directly with local partners in some areas, finding that there is much greater demand than we previously believed. Additionally, a void is being created now that the post-2006 war influx of funding has decreased. Even UNIFIL is curtailing its community outreach projects. All this means there is room for growth and new partnerships in the South.
Chouf - Aley
In this region, as well, we worked with diverse partners, most notably the Princess Hayat Arslan and her charitable association. Arslan is not only an activist in her community, organizing many income-generating projects for disadvantaged women, but she has been on the forefront of campaigns for a female quota in the parliament, cabinet, and municipalities.
Metn – Kiserwan - Beirut
A highlight from this region is the case of Sad Al Boushrieh, Metn. With the Imam of a local mosque, who is an active force in interfaith dialogue in the region which is home to a small Shia population, collaboration with a neighboring Church was undertaken open and implement this class. As you can see in the attached pictures, a poster to advertise for the class was posted on the mosque’s walls in addition to shops in the area.
During phase one, numerous class visits were undertaken by Hayya Bina staff, external evaluators, and Public Diplomacy representatives. These trips were crucial in evaluating the impact of the class by listening to the feedback of teachers, students, and local partner coordinators.
Graduation Ceremony for Hermel 1 & 2 Classes, May 9, 2009
Graduation Ceremony for Taraya Class, May 24, 2009
Hayya Bina in coordination with the Voluntary Action Association organized the Graduation ceremony for a class in Taraya that has completed the eight-month course. The Graduation was held on Sunday 24th of May 2009 in Wadi Al Jawz Restaurant in Shmustar in the presence of about 200 people including key community representatives and the families of the Graduated students wherein certificates were distributed to all seventeen graduated women. Director Marhab Hamieh stressed on the deprivation facing the Bekaa region and the lack of such educational projects. He applauded the project for targeting women and helping them advance their social status. Hamieh thanked Hayya Bina for all the efforts it has made for the success of this project, which has the enthusiasm and the encouragement from all segments in Taraya. Slim explained this project aims to promote inclusive citizenship by connecting diverse regions through a nationwide project and also to empower the role of women in their communities.
Phase two began in October, 2009. In terms of the project structure, several improvements were implemented based on an analysis. Longer, more in-depth books were utilized, the duration of the course was shortened to four months, the number of classes was nearly doubled from 45 to 80, and the budget was adjusted to improve project management and hold graduation ceremonies.
From Hayya Bina’s side, we embarked on extensive field visits in order to evaluate all partners and decide on whether or not they should be included in phase two. After this process, we began collecting applications from previous partners for new Level One classes. After a partner had established a Level One class, we allowed them to form a Level Two class for students from the first phase (this strategy was discussed with Public Diplomacy officials as it was decided that recruiting new beneficiaries was a priority). Currently, we have 34 classes in progress totaling 668 women and have identified seven new partners.
US Embassy - January 22, 2010
On January 22, 2010, the Public Diplomacy hosted a reception at his residence for the local partners of the TWE project which was attended by Ambassador Sison. The event marked a turning point in the as it was an important opportunity to gather all partners in the project for the first time.
First Teacher Training
Hayya Bina office - February 24, 2010
Following Hayya Bina's startegy to invest in teachers, an initial workshop was organized throught the US Embassy in Beirut during the visit of and English Language Fellow, Ms. Natasha Isadora. This event consituted the first occasion where TWE teachers were gathered together. This experience reinforced our view that creating a community of teachers within TWE is essential to improving our outreach and effectiveness on the ground.
As part of the project's mission to promote dialogue between regions, two pilot class exchanges were organized in the second year. Each event brought together three classes from different regions. First, the students visited public libraries and then had a lunch wherein each group prepared food from its village to share with the others. At the end, students and teahers had the opportunity to speak about their experiences in the program.
Graduation Ceremony, May 27, 2010, Beit at - Tabib
On May 27, 2010, Hayya Bina organized in collaboration with the US Embassy the first joint graduation ceremony for seven hundred Lebanese women who completed the “Teach Women English” program.
More than 1000 attended the event, including representative of the U.S. Embassy Bridget Walker, Nicola Sahnawi representing General Michel Aoun, Maya Sukar representing Deputy Strida Geagea, Captain Susan Hage representing Director General of Internal Security Forces Major General Ashraf Rifi, Saeed Alama representing the Lawyer’s Syndicate in Beirut, Abdel-Hafiz Sakr and Jamil Sakr representing the Arab League and the Peace Party.
Rawan Yaghi, the social activist and TWE partner from Baalbeck stressed that more than 1300 women benefited from TWE program in more than 40 locations across the nation for one goal: to strengthen and enhance the role of women in society.
Ryan Gliha the Public Affairs Officer drew that “I’m here to represent not only the US Embassy, but the people of the United States. English is the key to communication between people around globe, and I am proud we have given you this opportunity”.