In Lebanon under the compacted crises, women are the ones hardest hit by the socio-economic repercussions of the pandemic, given that they are already found in informal and part-time work with poor social protection, have increased unpaid care work and suffer from gender inequalities. Despite these challenges, women are leading the fight against the pandemic by producing masks to fill the gap of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the market, contributing to their community’s safety.

While most income-generating activities were suspended during the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, UNDP, with the support of Germany through KfW, has continued engaging women in PPE production through flexible short-term work modalities, supporting them to generate income, sustain basic needs, and improve wellbeing.  Most importantly, the PPE production from their homes enabled women’s contribution to the pandemic response effort. 

“The situation suspended my work as an interior architect, but it didn’t limit my drive to adapt and be active,” said Darine Nasr, 42

“I’m using my skills and know-how to sew masks creatively. Working for the protection of families and communities from the pandemic is rewarding,” she added

 “What is motivating about this project is that it’s a cycle. I am benefiting from my time at home during the forced lockdown to generate much needed income and offer safety for those who don’t have access to protection,” Christine, 44 year-old from Kfardebian.

“This work empowered me, through it, I feel financially independent, I can rely on myself and support my family during these difficult times,” said Nada Akiki, 36

“I’m earning my pocket money and saving to register at the nursing school next year,” said Rita Najem, 19

“I will keep smiling against the challenges and sewing masks from home because I believe that together we can fight the virus,” said Ghazwa from Ajalatoun

 

From the safety and flexibility of their homes, women of all ages are turning a national lockdown into a productive experience, demonstrating empowerment and leadership. Mobilized to fight the COVID19 pandemic, women are reshaping the meaning of working from home and social responsibility.

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