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Teenagers Leading Change (Past Project)

Inspiring and empowering young disadvantaged Arab Israeli women.


The project

“The Teenagers Leading Change program improved my connection with my school. I started to learn seriously and decided to do the matriculation exams. I understood the importance of education, and now I believe I can succeed.” – Arab Israeli teenager and program participant.

The Challenge

Arab women in Israel face major challenges: both as members of a minority group and as part of the more traditional Arab society. Their political representation is almost non-existent and they have few opportunities to be part of any decision-making processes. They remain the poorest, lowest paid, and least educated segment of Israeli society.

The number of Arab girls in Israel who continue to higher studies after completing mid-level education remains very low. This drastically reduces their chances of achieving their full potential, obtaining work, or becoming independent and lifting themselves out of poverty.

The Approach

“Reaching girls at this influential age can lead to deep-seated transformations in their lives and can change their academic and professional career paths.” – Antonella Notari, Director Womanity Foundation.

In 2008, with the Israeli Women’s Network (IWN), the Womanity Foundation developed the program, Teenagers Leading Change (TLC). This was a unique leadership training course, intended to promote the empowerment and personal development of young Arab women in Israel. Validated by the Israeli Ministry of Education, the training targeted Arab women aged 16 and 17 in the city of Jaffa in East Jerusalem, and in the so-called Triangle area.

The course was delivered by specialized facilitators in 10 weekly sessions. Through role-play, discussion, practical exercises, and lectures, the course examined social inequality issues, perceptions of stereotypes, sexual identity, and other gender-related topics. It provided participants with skills needed to gain confidence, exercise leadership roles, and make life-determining choices, whilst providing a safe environment to share views and feelings about the role and status of women in their communities.

The training took place during school hours to ensure full student participation. Schools selected the classes in which the course was taught, based largely on the number and interest of students.

The Impact

Womanity worked with IWN to carry out an independent and in-depth evaluation of the program’s impact, especially in relation to changes in attitudes and behaviour among participants. The evaluation considered in-depth interviews and facilitators’ feedback on the groups they led.

  • Over 1,500 young Arab women aged 15 to 17 have participated in the program, furthering their critical thinking skills and personal development.
  • In 2013, the program was strengthen by introducing modules aimed at encouraging girls’ taking on leadership roles and independent decisions.
  • The evaluation showed a positive impact in improved wellbeing, better listening skills and empathy in the participants who as a result were most likely to consider continuing their studies and pursuing a professional career.

 Teenagers Leading Change Valued Partners

The Israeli Women’s Network (IWN)