Syria: Meddling in the name of ‘empowering women’

Since the forces led by the Syrian government have gained the upper hand in Syria, Canada has been unable to justify openly going into Syria which it had sought to do in the past. Recently, Canada announced $45 million to fund programs in Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, countries that neighbour Syria.

The funding is allegedly to “assist grass roots women’s organizations and assist Jordanian and Lebanese communities in hosting over 1,660,000 registered Syrian refugees.” Canada has a history of financing various projects to recruit and use women as a means to meddle in countries’ internal affairs in the name of “empowerment.” For example, Canada has been playing this card for some time by “training” women to participate in UN-facilitated peace negotiations as part of the anti-Syrian government opposition forces.[1]

This posturing and ulterior motive are further exposed when one considers the Trudeau government’s refusal to provide proper infrastructure and facilities to First Nations youth in their communities or ensure that the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women fulfills the demands of Indigenous peoples and the relatives of those murdered or disappeared.

The four programs Canada is funding are outlined below:

Improving municipal services and social resilience: To “improve municipal services and infrastructure in Jordanian municipalities that are hosting high numbers of Syrian refugees. Delivered in partnership with the World Bank Group and Jordan’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs, this funding will also help to increase women’s involvement in community level decision-making, improve their access to employment and services, and help municipal governments deliver gender-inclusive programs.”

Improving solid waste management and income generation in host communities: “Delivered in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and Jordan’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs, this initiative will help improve the capacity and working conditions at Al-Akeidar, Jordan’s second-largest landfill. This contribution will also be used to establish a community-based recycling centre which will be operated by women of the northern region of Jordan.”

Support for the Global Concessional Financing Facility: To “ensure that Jordan and Lebanon continue to have access to concessional-rate financing through the World Bank Group’s Global Concessional Financing Facility. These low-cost loans will be used to finance public infrastructure that responds to the needs of Syrian refugees and the communities which host them.”

The Middle East Women’s Voice and Leadership Program: “This contribution will advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. The funding will strengthen the capacity of a variety of grassroots women’s organizations to empower and defend the rights of women and girls.”[2]


1. See “Training the Syrian Opposition in the Name of Empowering Women” TML Weekly, May 28, 2016.

2. “Canada provides support for initiatives in Jordan and the Middle East,” PMO, August 29, 2017.

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Filed under Canada, West Asia (Middle East)

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