A significant conviction in AGFUND methodology is that many development deficiencies in Arab communities are caused by absence of women participation in community development. “Arab woman has no less ability or creativity than women in western communities. She needs only to be given the opportunity, doors to be opened for her, religious rights to be given to her, instead of tying her with unorthodox traditions and norms” said HRH Prince Talal Bin Abdul Aziz.
In 1993, AGFUND attracted prominent international and regional partnerships to establish independent regional Arab organization to develop Arab woman capabilities namely the Center of Arab Woman for Training and Research (CAWTAR), which responds to the growing need of Arab woman to prove her capacity to build her future and positively contribute to development of her country through promoted participation in development and presence in decision making.
With its projects targeting women, AGFUND aims to correct the wrong image about women and underscore her development role through enabling her economically. While most AGFUND projects are directed to women and family in general, CAWTAR initiative clearly reflects the woman caliber in AGFUND’s development strategy. Being created by private initiative and international support, CAWTAR has independence in activities and roles.
CAWTAR objectives are based on “Knowledge is the basis of development”. They participate in development of a new perspective of Arab women, and act upon raising awareness of policy makers and planners of the status of Arab woman and her real and possible contributions in development.
Having its headquarter in Tunisia, CAWTAR aims to participate in boosting capacities of governments and NGOs to analyze the variables in gender roles, follow them, draw the suitable policies, and prepare the programs and projects depending on social gender approach. CAWTAR also coordinates efforts with government agencies, NGOs, and national, regional and international organizations working in the domain of women and development, to achieve common objectives. CAWTAR promotes training and developing skills and capacities, and conducts development research that opens new horizons to encounter women issues and solving their problems.
Empowerment of women is a major objective for microfinance banks (Ibdaa banks) founded by AGFUND in partnership with the businessmen who believe in development of their communities, with the aim of achieving financial inclusion of the poor. Most AGFUND banks customers are women who established strong commitment to their liabilities in loans. They have completed micro projects that have grown with feminine effort and the loans of banks for the poor. There are many success stories to be told about widows who challenges their conditions, moved forward positively towards life, and succeeded.