As a pilot activity, LADP supported the establishment of Women Leaders Forums in Basra, Missan and Kerbala The Forums provide a mechanism to build the capacity of women leaders to contribute to local area development. The Forums are expected to contribute to the development of gender-based approaches in local government programmes and to strengthen the role of women in local development.

The Forums were launched in Jan-March 2016 with participation of 87 women in Basra, 112 women in Missan, and 69 women in Kerbala – including local women in leadership positions in communities (heads of women’s local organizations, teachers, businesswomen, etc.) as well as in local government (heads of Women Affairs Offices, members of Provincial Councils, representatives of Governorate statistics, education and health Directorates, etc.). Participants committed to the values of social justice and equality, and the vision of women and girls who are able to claim and fully realise their rights in all spheres of life.

The Forums are positioned to help identify and bring to the attention of local authorities the actual needs of local women; to suggest ways to expand opportunities for women and to promote the inclusion of girls and women; to help identify training needs and deliver trainings (e.g. training on project proposal writing or financial management for women’s CSOs); to promote among women opportunities available through Governorate programmes or donor initiatives (e.g. small grants); and to build community engagement in support of Governorate development objectives.