Establishment of the Women Research and Studies Center (WRSC) in Kuwait

What is this project about?

The project builds on UNDP’s mandate and strategic vision and aims to promote gender equality and empower women, youth, and civil society through participation in national development. It corresponds to the commitment of UNDP Kuwait to address the empowerment of women as stated in its Country Programme Action Plan 2009-2014.
This project aspires to establish and build the technical capacity of the Women Research and Studies Center (WRSC) for the benefit of students, statisticians, researchers and other academics including policy-makers and civil society organizations. The WRSC will be equipped with a state-of-the-art digital database housing all the information and data relating to women in Kuwait and will be disseminated on the internet to ensure its ubiquity for ease of access. The WRSC will also provide a forum for local and regional institutions dealing with women related issues to share resources and seek knowledge and advice through networking and capacity development initiatives provided by the center. It is envisaged that the WRSC through these interventions will play a big role in contributing to achieving the national outcome relating to enhancing and expanding the scope of women's participation in economic activities, political decision-making, and gender equality, in consistency with national plans and the long-term strategic vision to support attainment of MDG3.

Expected Outputs

Output 1: Women’s research and studies center established
The main deliverables include developing the branding and image of the WRSC including setting its mandate and formally establishing it as an independent entity. The Center will be run by a Director who will develop an organizational structure and will also act as the UNDP project manager responsible for implementation of the AWP. This output seeks to formally establish the center and lay the foundations for the internal organization and the proposed activities of the project.
The Women’s Research and Studies Center WRSC in Kuwait aims to advance women’s empowerment, strengthen their active roles in economic policies, enhance their successful political participation, and facilitate mainstreaming gender in national policies.
The Director (Project Manager) will consult with graphic design and publishing firms to establish the WRSC’s logo, branding, slogan, and trademark, to form its independent presence and national identity. This may also require developing a license for it to operate a recognized legal entity.
The WRSC will initially operate under the umbrella of Women’s Studies Unit at Kuwait University, utilizing the university’s in-kind contribution to the project through their facilities and academics who will collate existing documentation and studies on women in Kuwait.  
This stage of the project will seek to elect/appoint the WRSC Steering Committee to guide and appraise the development of the center and support the Director through inter alia, advocacy and fundraising initiatives. The Steering Committee will include representation from a wide array of highly qualified and reputable scholars and experts, NGOs, private and governmental entities, academic institutions, and UNDP representatives. The WRSC will also engage partners to collate existing data and studies on women in Kuwait for the center’s library. This includes data already assembled by CAWTAR on women in Kuwait from 1975 to 2001, NGOs, governmental agencies, local libraries, and academic institutions.

Output 2: Women’s digital database and dynamic website developed
The activities of this output are planned for the first year of the project, and will utilize the entire portion of the secured funds for the implementation of its AWP. The key deliverable of this output is the development of a highly sophisticated digital database which will be deployed on the WRSC website. The database will include information obtained from surveys and researches on the socio-economic status of Kuwaiti women extracted from national, regional and global surveys. The database will be equipped with advanced search tools, including indexing, an online search-engine, sophisticated graphical representation techniques and statistical analysis tools. The database will be updated on a periodical basis to be determined after its official launch.
The WRSC will recruit staff and train them according to regional and international standards on library archiving, indexing, electronic database search tools and usage, and gender mainstreaming in programmes and statistical indicators. Training sessions on utilization of the database will be conducted during the development and after the launch of the database. A training manual will also be developed for future reference.
The database will identify information gaps in studies and research related to women studies in Kuwait thereby informing statisticians, planners and researchers the focus areas to address when conducting surveys and research papers.  
The WRSC aims to create a center referenced for its reliability, accuracy, and up-to-date data.  The center seeks to be a reliable resource that will influence national policies and strategies, in addition to international indicators and priorities on gender equality and empowerment.  The project will add momentous value to national studies and statistics, and complement existing studies and data by bridging research and data dissemination gaps.

Output 3: Capacity of women’s CSOs and institutions developed
This component is planned for the second year of the project due to funding constraints. The income for this component will be derived from fundraising efforts and the income generated from the training courses provided by the WRSC. The priority for the first year is to establish the WRSC, its internal organization and the digital database to enable it to provide services to institutions and CSOs related to women’s work. These services include conducting capacity-building workshops and periodic training courses to develop the capacity of women’s organizations and groups. These courses will be facilitated by specialized local and international training institutes with the objective of ensuring that local institutions possess relevant skills to advocate, develop policies, priorities and programmes that improve the lives of women in Kuwait.
This component will also focus on establishing networks for information-sharing with other gender studies centers in the GCC and the Arab region with the intention of hosting regional forums to discuss and deliberate on key issues facing women in the region.  Another objective will be to create a database of gender experts and studies in the region to serve all stakeholders. The WRSC aims at bringing together women’s organizations, academic institutions, governmental and UN agencies, and other key actors, including the private sector, to integrate data and findings; avoid duplications of efforts; and provide accurate and reliable unified data to build upon future plans and strategies. This further guarantees mainstreaming gender into policies and programmes. It is envisaged that this will strengthen the roles of CSOs and WNMs and their participation in national economic policies, and allow them to effectively contribute to policy formulation to ensure that their issues and rights are mainstreamed in the state’s economic aspirations.

What have we accomplished so far?



  1. RAISING AWARENESS AND BREAKING THE SILENCE ON SENSITIVE GENDER ISSUES IN THE REGION
    Raising awareness among the Kuwaiti society on the gender gaps and on the discrimination women go through in the Region is the main goal of the lectures series programme of the Women’s Research and Studies Center (WRSC).
    • Based on multiple requests from women Non Governmental Organizations and based on needs assessment surveys distributed among youth organizations within the academic arena, several lectures series were organized covering sensitive gender topics such as: violence against women, discrimination against women in the health sector, the CEDAW treaty, the role of the media in empowering women and the rights of women nationals married to non Nationals.

    • Recommendations from the participants of these conferences included the Women’s Research and Studies Center to take the lead organizing media trainings locally and regionally.

    • Breaking the silence on the sensitive topic of “National women married to non Nationals” through a roundtable discussion on the rights of these mothers/ spouses and their daily suffering led to requests from different Civil Society Organizations in Kuwait to share the write up of the discussion and lead to recommendations such as the Center to take the lead in a comparative Research paper on this topic. The 6 GCC Parliamentarians speakers committed to present this paper to their parliaments and to the Women Affairs at the Gulf Cooperation Council to try and change the laws.

    • Over 500 participants attended the 10 lectures/ conferences organized by the WRSC.

    • 10 Regional and international high profile speakers.

    • Media coverage (all local newspapers and TV).

  2. BEING A ROLE MODEL TO FOLLOW AND SHARING BEST PRACTICES AND LESSONS LEARNEDBEING A ROLE MODEL TO FOLLOW AND SHARING BEST PRACTICES AND LESSONS LEARNED.

    • The Women’s Research and Studies Center received requests from Iraq Country Office to share information on the Center in order to duplicate the same Center there.

    • A request came also from a Sudanese Civil Society Organization to help them create a similar Center.

  3. CAPACITY BUILDING:A main component of the work of the Center is building the capacity of the Civil Society Organizations and the professionals working on gender issues.

    • 7 workshops were organized for professionals from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Social affairs and the Ministry of health about ways of prevention of violence against women. The quality of the WRSD trainings led to further requests from these same ministries to longer collaboration.

    • The WRSC also built the capacity of the Kuwait University staff in terms of Database management.

  4. ESTABLISHING A GENDER LIBRARY
    Launch of the website and database of the unique research Center entirely dedicated to gender issues in the Gulf Region. The database has over 1000 references of books, studies and papers on Kuwaiti women.

  5. USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA TO REACH OUT TO YOUTH ABOUT GENDER ISSUES
    • 700 visitors and over 10000 clicks on the website in a month.
    • 18 followers on Twitter in one week, 38 tweets and 20 retweets.

  6. NATIONAL AND REGIONAL INTEREST OF PARTNERSHIP
    • The Supreme Council for Planning and Development’s Statistics Bureau proposed to sign an MoU and share their gender aggregated statistics on the WRSC website.

    • The Center of Arab Women for Training and Research (CAWTAR) shared all their data on Kuwaiti women with the WRSC.

    • The Gulf University for Sciences and Technologies (GUST University) is sharing its gender references with the WRSC database.

    • Both CAWTAR and GUST University are interested in signing a MoU for a long-term partnership with the WRSC.


PUBLICATIONS PRODUCED
The CEDAW Kuwait booklet.
The National Women married to non-Nationals study

Who finances this project?

Government of Kuwait