a Syrian woman refugee stand in a window frame looking out

Women Now for Development

Women Now for Development works to organize Syrian women and girls through local women’s centers in Syria, and in refugee’s communities in Lebanon and Turkey, to advance their rights and meet their needs.

With MADRE, Women Now for Development initiates women-led programs to protect Syrian women and girls and assist them to find their political voice and participate in building a new, peaceful Syria that respects and safeguards equal rights for all.

Women Now for Development takes a multi-layered approach:

  • They protect women and girl survivors of war and gender-based violence

  • They train and educate Syrian women and girls to increase their financial independence and advance them as active participants in peacemaking and policy

  • They document and collect testimonials and conduct research and analysis to advance women’s and girls’ human rights in Syria

Why we work in Syria

Women Now for Development aids women and girls to overcome war and gender-based violence, become self-sufficient, and rise up as grassroots leaders and peacemakers.

Syria endured a decade of brutal civil war, creating one of the most severe humanitarian crises in the world. Women and girls suffer the threat of widespread rape and forced marriages on top of the mass displacement, starvation, and trauma from armed attacks against millions of civilians. Refugees who fled their homes for nearby countries struggle to find food, housing, healthcare, and other basics.

a group of Hijabi women sit around speaking to one another

The People’s Peace

With MADRE, Women Now for Development offers trainings, workshops, and conferences to strengthen women’s and girl’s participation in building a peaceful and just future for Syria.

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a group of four hijabi women sit around working and writing

Repurposing Power

MADRE’s support for Women Now for Development advances Syrian women’s and girls’ autonomy through vocational training programs, grants, education, and networking opportunities. Through their feminist research department, they are ensuring every woman and girl has the feminist knowledge they need to gain power and ensure their rights – spreading their feminist research via reports, papers, documentaries, blogs, and illustrations.

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Women Now for Development was founded in 2012 after Syria’s widespread peaceful protests calling for freedom devolved into a horrific war. Initially supporting ten families in the country, the organization expanded to become the largest network of women and girls’ centers in Syria and Syrian refugee communities, serving over 10,000 people.

Growing toward a peaceful Syria

a Syrian mother walks with her four children a top a hill overlooking a refugee camp

“A group of local activist women organized a toy drive for children of fathers martyred in the rebellion against the regime, but also for the children of fathers killed on the regime’s side. This shows how women actively oppose division, even during conflict, to fight for an equal country.”

Dr. Maria Al Abdeh Executive Director, Women Now for Development
a cutout headshot of Mariah Alabdeh

Women Now for Development offers support to women and girls recovering from the war and its atrocities.

The organization’s women’s centers offer qualified social workers for women and girls

In Lebanon, the group maintains a dedicated psychosocial support team for the Syrian refugee community.



MADRE’s strong relationship with grassroots groups like Women Now for Development allows us to deliver life-saving aid and medical supplies when and where they are most needed, and provide tools and training to Syrian health workers and first responders.

women in the back of large truck going to work in the cotton field

Yusuf Aslan

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