Choose to Challenge is Not Just a Slogan

This International Women’s Day we are celebrating motivated and brave women who chose to challenge and lead on the GEF/UNDP Birdlife International “Migratory Soaring Birds (MSB)” Project. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “choose to challenge”, which invites us all to choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. From challenge comes change.

Let us celebrate women’s achievements. Get ready to read MSB women fascinating stories and their advice to other women aiming to embark on careers like theirs.

Women have no other option

Bassima Al Khatib – Assistant General Director, Lebanon

“Believe in yourself and your qualifications, even if you have to work harder to prove yourself. Women have to be strong to reach their goals because they have no other option.”

Living in Lebanon, with all political and economic obstacles, is more than a challenge. Being the eldest sister, in a family of two sisters, had overburdened Bassima Al Khatib, Assistant Director General at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL), with extra responsibilities. Her passion about environment and its conservation encouraged her to be one of the main members of the SPNL. She was able to prove herself in the domain in different situations, where she was the only woman in various meetings at national and regional levels.

She started working on the MSB project from its inception. The project’s approach is unique, where it is interacting with other projects and creating strong relationships with different NGOs, private and public sector organizations along the flyway. This had empowered her in networking with other partners, learning from their experiences, and knowing how to tackle the five sectors.

Despite the uniqueness of this project, Bassima faced a serious challenge to deal with men, especially within the hunting sector. In Lebanon, hunting is restricted to men. They hesitated to talk to a woman about hunting and its legal aspect because they think she knows nothing about it. Bassima’s experience and strength allowed her to stand up to men and gain their respect, where for the first time, they listen to a woman about the legal aspect of hunting and its threats on birds.



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