Collateral damage: Women and girls in Syria

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90-Day Update

posted Oct 28, 2013 by Isabel Garcia

Progress

We are pleased to report our team of three female, Arabic-speaking reporters arrived in Jordan to begin their unprecedented work on this project on Wednesday, September 11. Simply put: they would not be there without you.

Since July 16th, when Women’s eNews successfully completed the full funding goal for our project via Catapult, the entire Women’s eNews team has been working towards this point. The three key members of the project were in constant contact in person, via phone, email and Skype outlining every facet of the project from the moment of arrival until their departure.

Over the past month, staff has undergone oral history training with experts from two colleges, as well as a journalist who worked in Rwanda; connected with health experts from Physicians for Human Rights about their recent work in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan; and talked with journalists in the region about their experiences in preparation of the difficult task at hand, particularly in light of current happenings in the region.

As we enter October our team have logged hours of footage and interviews, spoken with many Syrian women refugees and listened to little girls dreams of the future. Our first report was published online in September: http://womensenews.org/story/war/130928/refugee-school-girls-in-jordan-sing-lyrics-loss

Please watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1veHKI-izn0&feature=share&list=UU_vEMmrw0vaGi3DiNLKQVfA

Risks and challenges

Women’s eNews has an Arabic sister site (www.awomensenews.org) that is run from the Middle East; we are proud of our reporting to and from the women of the region. Therefore, when we decided that it was critical to send additional members of our team to the Middle East specifically to amplify the voices of Syrian women now living as refugees, we knew it would not be an easy task.

The risks for those living and working in the camps are incalculable. We weighed these factors carefully as we made our decision to proceed with the project, after an initial delay in timing in respectful observance of Ramadan.

Then, as everyone is acutely aware, in recent weeks the situation in Syria worsened. There have been daily talks of military strikes on Syria following a chemical warfare attack in August. The number of refugees fleeing Syria continues to grow each day. It would be a gross understatement to say that everyone at Women’s eNews did not consider the risks involved in sending a team of female reporters to the largest refugee camp in Jordan, bordering Syria, under current conditions.

After much discussion, troubleshooting, and planning, the team decided to proceed on schedule. Now, as our team prepare to leave we are glad we stood by our commitment as journalists, to the female Syrian refugees, and to our supporting donor partners.

Get personal

Women’s eNews has been deeply invested in keeping women in the headlines and the bylines for 13 years. We are extremely proud of the focus of this particular project, and each member of the Collateral Damage Syria reporting team is also personally connected to the region and to the mission of elevating women’s voices through the accounts of those experiencing the conflict and its aftermath firsthand. We will have more messages to share from them soon.

Next steps

There is much more to come from our team, and we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to share the rich stories and histories the women in the region have to tell. Your support of our work made this possible. We will continue to update our readership on the progress of the project via our social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr (wensyria.tumblr.com), and Instagram.

  • Media
  • War & Crisis

Help give Syrian women and girl refugees a voice in the international media.

Why we care: Women and girls make up 75% of the 1.4 million people fleeing war in Syria and are increasingly at risk of sexual assault and trafficking without a platform to demand change and expose threats.

How we’re solving this: For change to happen in any country—especially one experiencing massive disruption and conflict—women’s voices must be heard; this special reporting project will provide a platform for Syrian women to tell their stories so that they can design their path to change and peace.

Our reporters will travel to refugee camps in Jordan across a one-month period to speak to Syrian women and report on the unique health and safety risks they face and the work they are doing to combat them. As well as being experienced journalists with sensitivity to women's voices, our reporters speak fluent Arabic and have a deep investment in supporting women to shape their future in the Middle East.

This special reporting project will raise the stories of change and action alongside recording the abuses of women and children. We will do something that few news organizations manage to do: give women a true platform and true access to change. This project will help cover the salaries, transportation, equipment, visas, and other needs of three reporters.

Women's eNews has already helped spread important information about the condition of girls and women in Syria. A recent Human Rights Watch report on sexual violence in Syria was covered by Women's eNews Arabic site editor Dominique Soguel and gained greater exposure across many news organizations and agencies as a result.

No other news organization has the global focus and sensitivity to women’s voices that Women’s eNews has. No other news organization could create the impact that Women’s eNews will, through our reporting. Women's eNews creates impact by:

  • Helping set up the news agenda for conventional media;
  • Impacts opinion leaders and policymakers;
  • Serving as a resource and catalyst for rights organizations and activists;
  • Uncovering injustices, drawing attention to issues, disseminating information, and empowering readers.

Women’s eNews has helped to sensitize other news agencies to women’s issues that conventional media tend to ignore. We have a lot of work still to do but as one Women’s eNews reader–herself a former reporter and foreign correspondent–has said, “Women’s eNews has made…dismissive treatment more or less impossible now by creating a steady drumbeat of compelling and well-researched news items about women’s situation that editors cannot ignore or dismiss as isolated cases.”

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