Women in Active Citizens workshop

Empowering women and girls and achieving gender equality are crucial to creating inclusive, open and prosperous societies.  Gender inequalities, however, persist in many countries so it is important that we find new ways of addressing this issue.  We contribute to this agenda by creating opportunities for dialogue to influence policies that benefit women and girls; work with partners to promote access and opportunity for women and girls and build the skills and confidence of women and girls to achieve their potential and have more influence over decisions that affect their lives.

Examples of our work:

Women Participating in Public Life, Middle East and North Africa Region (co-funded by the Arab Partnership Initiative)

We are working with women’s organisations in Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia to enable greater participation of women in the development of their societies. We do this in the following ways:

  • We give young women the power to influence and make a difference in their local communities through our British Council community leadership programme, Active Citizens. This project builds confidence, values difference and supports social action. By 2015, our community leadership programme will involve 18 communities, having trained more than 50 facilitators and more than 2500 young people. 
  • We help existing and emerging coalitions of women’s organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), authorities and media to support women’s public participation. This is done through capacity-building workshops and exchange visits with leading UK women’s organisations.
  • We provide training opportunities in action research to support partners in advocating women participation through evidence-based data. Throughout the trainings we cover other topics as advocacy, awareness raising, stakeholder analysis, and use of media. 
  • We provide platforms for experience-sharing and learning. We run regional events including study visits, conferences and workshops to support work and share the learning.


Visit our Active Citizens website to read more about our development work, and visit our Facebook page and Twitter account for updates



Springboard is a leading UK-based women’s development programme designed by women, for women. The British Council drawing on its close relationship with the Arab World where it has been working for more than 30 years, adapted the programme to the Arab culture and translated it to Arabic to help Arab women to release their potentials and achieve success in both their personal and professional lives. The British Council built capacity within the Arab community and certified more than 100 professional women as licensed trainers qualified to run the British Council Springboard programmes within their organizations, communities and societies. 

With more than 10000 Arab women engaged with this programme, British Council Springboard is the premier personal and work development programme for both individuals and organizations in the Middle East. The programme catered to Arab women at any age or stage in life and from all backgrounds. It enabled them to take more control over their lives by identifying the clear, practical and realistic steps that they need to take by developing the skills and confidence to take them.

It equally helped organizations in the Middle East that are interested in developing their staff to their full potential and provide them with opportunities to grow within the organization. Springboard was ideal for Saudi British Bank which placed its entire female cadre across the kingdom on a tailored version of this programme supporting them to move into decision making positions.

Watch this video to know more about our Springboard programme

Gender in Nigeria Report 2012 (DFID funded)

Gender in Nigeria Report 2012: Improving the lives of girls and women in Nigeria presented an evidence base on the status of women and adolescent girls in the country and identified priorities for action. It was developed to influence key decision makers and policy makers in the federal and state governments and the National Assembly, as well as religious leaders, the banking sector, the private sector and civil society. The report is helping development partners design appropriate programmes to address the significant challenge of gender equality and empowerment or, especially in northern Nigeria. The ultimate goal of the project is to bring about changes in policies and attitudes that result in more equitable outcomes for girls and women in Nigeria.

Read the 2012 Gender in Nigeria Report 

Maternal and newborn health: Research and Advocacy Fund, Pakistan (DFID funded)

We contribute to the improvement of evidence-based decision making in maternal and newborn health in Pakistan, with a particular focus on poor and marginalised women and children.  

This is achieved through grant-making, capacity support and civil society strengthening activities aimed at maximising the effectiveness, impact and sustainability of research and advocacy implementation activities. Through this programme we are supporting international and Pakistan NGOs, research bodies and academic institutions to influence policy and practice which affects millions of women in Pakistan. 

This project now ended. For more information about our Society work in Pakistan plese visit British Council Pakistan website


Justice for all, Nigeria (DFID funded)


This DFID funded programme is working with the justice sector in Nigeria to ensure that women and girls have equal access to safety, security and justice systems. This includes introducing Family Support Units in the Police force which provide support to victims of crime, particularly women, increasing awareness of women’s rights in the justice system, supporting coordination groups to implement reforms that enhance the delivery of justice for women and promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms, which provide effective and accessible options to small business owners, many of whom are women.

Visit the Justice for all website and read the gender impact report to find out how the programme is transforming women’s access to justice in Nigeria 



External links