Dr. Taroub Harb Faramand
Title: Founder and President
Organization: WI-HER LLC (Women Influencing Health, Education, and Rule of Law)
Technical Expertise: Gender related development and health projects, early and forced marriage, public sexual harassment, counter human trafficking, women’s peace and security, sexual and reproductive health rights, gender mainstreaming and integration, qualitative data collection and analysis, technical research and writing, project evaluation, strategic planning and program design, training and local capacity building.
- Why did you join this community of practice?
I am very excited to share WI-HER’s work through this online platform, it will provide us with the chance to learn from and engage with other passionate practitioners and leaders in the field, as well as give us the opportunity to highlight the areas in which are working to identify and implement creative solutions to complex health and social challenges to achieve better, healthier lives for women, men, girls, and boys.Through WI-HER’s extensive work in international development and health around the world, we have worked on gender-related efforts in conflict-affected areas and in communities experiencing the lingering effects of war and violence. The challenges faced by women, men, girls, and boys in conflict-affected areas are unique and can vary greatly from one situation to the next, with women and vulnerable populations often experiencing the most severe and long-term social, health, and economic consequences related to war, violence, and instability. WI-HER’s work around the world in conflict affected areas has made it clear that locally-tailored capacity building and training efforts are absolutely vital to ensure that the community as a whole is actively and equitably engaged in efforts to serve and protect the most vulnerable in conflict-zones, as well as stabilize, recover, rebuild, and thrive sustainably post-conflict. Working to enable localized ownership over development and health-related projects is essential, and must be accompanied with high quality, gender-sensitive training based on localized realities and with the engagement of diverse leaders, gate keepers, and stakeholders to truly make a lasting and empowering impact at the local level.
- What have been some of your most interesting or challenging assignments?
Throughout my 35 years of professional experience around the world, and specifically through my exciting work with WI–HER, I have worked on a range of assignments that have been incredibly meaningful to me in terms of the project’s social and development impact and the inspiring individuals I have had the privilege of working alongside through these experiences. Currently, WI-HER is leading gender integration in efforts in 20+ countries globally through the USAID Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) Project. Under ASSIST, we are working on the exciting DREAMS Initiative, a project funded by USAID, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Nike, where we work to provide gender-sensitive training and capacity building to address the structural drivers that directly and indirectly increase girls’ HIV risk – including poverty, gender inequality, sexual violence, and lack of education. We are working closely with incredible young women and girls (DREAMS Girls) in Uganda, many of whom have experienced conflict-related sexual and gender based violence at the hands of militant rebels, in addition to our local staff and implementing partners. WI-HER has designed an innovative capacity building and gender-sensitive training program that engages the DREAMS Girls, as well as their male sexual partners, mothers and fathers, and the local leaders and service providers from each of their communities, as DREAMS Trainers who will benefit from the training on reproductive health, healthy relationship building, HIV/AIDS, self-confidence, and economic empowerment. DREAMS Trainers will then return to their own communities and work with their individual peer groups to pass on their training and knowledge to a new generation of trainers. Through this method, we emphasize the importance of community-driven capacity building and program sustainability. In addition, WI-HER is providing financial support to DREAMS Girls who have transformed the knowledge gained through the DREAMS Initiative into income generating projects, ranging from a female farming collective, an artisan beaded bag and jewelry company, and a women-owned grain mill – all run and operated by young women who have experienced conflict-related sexual violence and abuse. I believe it is incredibly important to understand and work alongside communities to help address the significant challenges facing women, men, girls, and boys in conflict-affected areas, but also to emphasize that women and girls are more than their vulnerability and are incredibly powerful change-makers who have the power to transform their communities for the better.
- What trends are you noticing in your area of work?
There has been an increasing emphasis on locally-driven capacity building and training throughout the field, stemming from the understanding that local communities know their own needs, challenges, and entry points better than any outside entity. WI-HER wholeheartedly believes in working alongside stakeholders within the communities we are implementing projects in so that we can best understand the social, economic, health, religious, and political complexities that may drive or exacerbate gender-related challenges, as well as the best methods to address these issues through culturally-sensitive and locally tailored methodologies. Working extensively within the field of gender and human rights, it has been encouraging to see the increasing emphasis on gender mainstreaming and the requirement to include a gender component within development projects around the world. At the same time, however, I have also noticed that the concept of “gender” is often misunderstood or limited only the challenges, needs, and experiences women and girls, excluding men, boys, and persons with a diverse range of gender and sexual identities from the conversation and action.
- Do you have a go-to resource that you use in your daily work? If so, what is it and why is it useful?
Due to the multi-disciplinary range of technical fields I work in (always utilizing a gender-sensitive lens and approach throughout) I regularly guide my project efforts based on country needs in addition to reports, technical guides, and policies developed by our donors and implementing partners, as well as the latest research and methodologies created by researchers and practitioners who have expertise in each project’s specific technical field.Throughout my gender-sensitive international development and health-related work, I also relay on the innovative gender-integration approach that I developed to guide WI-HER’s efforts integrating gender into programs, policies, and performance frameworks. Our approach to integrating and mainstreaming gender utilizes science and evidence-based best practices, alongside gender assessment tools, audits, checklists, and expertise to develop gender technical guidance and gender responsive performance monitoring frameworks to improve our donors, implementing partners and community stakeholders.