Women's Learning Partnership for Rights, Development, and Peace

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Women's Learning Partnership (WLP) is an international non-profit, non-governmental organization that is dedicated to women's leadership and empowerment. In cooperation with 20 autonomous partner organizations in the Global South, particularly in Muslim-majority societies, WLP works to empower women to transform their families, communities, and societies. The organization's president is Mahnaz Afkhami.

WLP's primary objective is to increase the number of women taking on leadership and decision-making roles at family, community, and national levels, and to improve the effectiveness of feminist social movements in Muslim-majority societies and globally by strengthening the capacity of our partner organizations.


Since its founding WLP has established a partnership model that allows for a geometric increase in the human and material resources available to partner organizations, maximum use of shared learning across regions, and increased impact of collective networking and solidarity capabilities. The Partnership is based on a relationship of intense and continuous communication and ongoing cooperation in the conception, development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of joint programs. WLP is an international, non-governmental organization (NGO) in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).


WLP's mission is to advance communication and cooperation among and between the women of the world in order to protect human rights, facilitate sustainable development, and promote peace. WLP links those with access to resources, knowledge, and technologies to those without, and augments the voices and visions of the world's resource-poor majority. WLP believes that dialogue across boundaries of culture, class, gender, generation, and nation is essential for achieving socially equitable and environmentally sound development. To secure a healthy, safe, and democratic environment for all, WLP works to advance gender equity, involve men and boys in promoting gender parity, and facilitate the exchange of grassroots strategies within and across different cultures. By instituting a viable knowledge and learning framework, WLP's programs provide women and girls of the Global South with the technical knowledge and practical skills needed to participate in the global dialogue about rights, development, and peace.


Women's Learning Partnership is made up of WLP International in the USA and 20 autonomous and independent partner organizations based in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Turkey, and Zimbabwe.


  • Leadership and Empowerment program promotes a model of participatory leadership and supports women to take on leadership roles in their families, communities, and societies.
  • Organizational Capacity Building program strengthens our partner organizations and their affiliates, contributing to the growth of a dynamic international women's movement.
  • ICT Capacity Building program supports individuals and organizations to develop vital ICT skills, which can be used for collective mobilization for gender equality and social justice.
  • Women's Human Rights program raises awareness of urgent women's human rights challenges and campaigns for legal reforms to improve women's status in Muslim-majority societies.
  • Culture of Peace program cultivates tolerance, pluralism, and cooperation through South-South and South-North dialogue.

Other activities[edit]

WLP currently serves as the Secretariat for the International Women's Democracy Network (IWDN), a functional network of the World Movement for Democracy. The vision of the International Women’s Democracy Network is to build a network of solidarity among women and women’s organizations engaged in democracy activism. The Network will strengthen links among members by developing a virtual resource center and a forum for exchange of information and knowledge.

Management and administration[edit]

WLP’s Board of Directors is made up of a diverse group of leading academics and NGO directors:

  • Mahnaz Afkhami, founder and President, Women’s Learning Partnership (Iran/USA)
  • Leila Ahmed, Professor of Women’s Studies in Religion, Harvard Divinity School (Egypt/USA)
  • Abena Busia, Professor and Chair of the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University (USA)
  • Marian Wright Edelman, founder and President, Children’s Defense Fund (USA)(Board Emeritus)
  • Yakin Ertürk, Council of Europe, Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) (Turkey)
  • Barbara Y. Phillips (USA)
  • Ann Elizabeth Mayer, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, University of Pennsylvania (USA)
  • Thoraya Obaid, former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and the United Nations Population Fund (Saudi Arabia)
  • Jacqueline Pitanguy, founder and President, Cidadania, Estudo, Pesquisa, Informaçao, e Açao (Brazil)
  • Inger Elisabeth Prebensen, former Deputy Director of the Technology and General Services Department at the International Monetary Fund (Norway)

WLP has an International Advisory Council that includes heads of United Nations agencies, leaders of international organizations, and scholars and activists representing diverse professional, cultural, and religious perspectives. The international experts help WLP analyze the social, cultural, political, and gender implications of its programs and fine-tune them accordingly.


WLP's annual operating budget is $2 million USD. The organization has received funding from Channel Foundation, Combined Federal Campaign, Cordaid, The Ford Foundation, Hivos, Libra Foundation, Oxfam Novib, Canadian International Development Agency, Global Fund for Women, The National Endowment for Democracy, New Field Foundation, Open Society Institute, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, Sigrid Rausing Trust, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the Shaler Adams Foundation.




Women’s Learning Partnership, 2012.












See also[edit]

External links[edit]