Integrity’s research highlights that women’s networks and organisations in Syria are active across a range of service delivery sectors. In many cases these groups are either responding to gaps in services provided by other NGOs, civil society organisations (CSO), or other service delivery actors, or they are providing understanding and access to the specific needs of women and children beneficiaries that other groups cannot.
Women’s groups interviewed by Integrity are most active (62 per cent) in the education, skills training, and livelihoods sectors. These areas both help meet immediate economic and food security needs of women while also contributing to longer-term economic, social and political empowerment goals. Yet, 70 per cent of these groups are also delivering multiple services simultaneously. The distribution of food and non-food items (NFI) is prioritised by approximately 30 per cent of interviewed groups, most commonly in areas of active conflict at the time of research, such as Homs. While most respondents identified health care as a particularly pressing need, the delivery of these services by women’s CSOs is currently constrained primarily by limited technical expertise and the high cost of healthcare interventions.
Many women’s CSOs reported limited institutional capacities and an irregularity of funding as major negative impacts on the sustainability and strategic focus of the services they deliver.
Many groups also noted that they are constrained by their operational context, highlighting in particular a trend over the past 12 months of decreasing mobility for women in areas controlled or significantly influenced by Islamist groups.
Based on respondents interviews, this report recommends engagement in this area be focused across three levels:
Filling gaps in gender-sensitive service delivery (i.e. health and education services) and scaling up activities in sectors where women’s organisations have comparative advantage (i.e. skills training and livelihoods support);
Building the institutional capacities of women’s organisations to deliver services in a more professional and sustainable manner; and
Technical and leadership support for the role of women within service delivery and public bodies such as Local Administrative Councils (LACs)