Call for Thematic Research Papers

Call for Thematic Research Papers

About WHRDMENA Coalition: WHRDMENA Coalition is a membership-based coalition of organizations and women human rights defenders engaging with and defending a spectrum of rights and struggles in MENA. The Coalition works through different tracks such as advocacy, digital security, documentation, knowledge production and dissemination to highlight and amplify the work of Women Human Rights Defenders in MENA. 

About the research consultancy:

Since 2015, the Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders has been working with WHRDs from across the region. The WHRDMENA Coalition hosted different meetings, training and forums in order to bring WHRDs together and ask questions related to their work, challenges and ways to move forward as a WHRD movement in the region. Additionally, the Coalition worked on establishing different local networks in different countries such as Palestine and Iraq. Throughout its work, the Coalition has also focused on producing knowledge and content related to WHRDs, from analyzing violations documented through the Coalition’s tools and advocating for regional solidarity through multimedia content such as animated videos and interactive infographic. Thus, producing content has been at the core of what the Coalition does and it is now at the forefront of the strategy for 2020 as the Coalition aims to explore questions that need to be addressed before 2021. 

2020 has been a turning point year for a lot of WHRDs and contexts in the region, and in order to move forward, the Coalition will hire three researchers who will navigate and explore questions related to three main themes, which are:

  • Major trends and analysis of WHRDs in the MENA 2015-2020.
  • WHRDs in the areas of sexuality, displacement and migrations. 
  • Impact of funding on the work of WHRDs in MENA. 

Overall objective:

To produce research papers to inform the WHRDMENA Coalition’s strategy for the coming and to start a deeper conversation with stakeholders on the issues we would like to explore and produce needed knowledge and content about it. 

Specific objectives of each thematic research paper:

  • Analyzing major trends related to WHRDs from 2015-2020:

This paper will analyze trends related to the contexts in which WHRDs work for the past 5 years (2015-2020) and it is expected to provide answers for the theme above. Below are examples of some of the questions but not limited to them. 

Since 2015 up until now, what were the main trends and patterns that highlighted WHRDs’ work context, in terms of violation, challenges, and work?

  • Based on the above answer, how is 2020 the start of a new era in terms of human rights work in the MENA? How was such work and activism impacted by the political, economical and financial tensions of 2020?
  • How can we understand the impact of these patterns and trends, in the light of the new era, in terms of shrinking space and constant targeting of the public sphere & the limitation of WHRDs’ work and how that intersects with and impacts movements and broader themes as well?


  • Research papers on WHRDs in the areas of sexuality, displacement, and migrations: 

This paper will analyze WHRDs working on issues related to sexuality, displacement and migrations in terms of their positionalities within the WHRD movement and it is expected to provide answers to some of the questions such as the below but not limited to them : 

How are WHRDs working on issues related to sexuality, displacement, migrations and refugeehood placed in a positionality that is proximate to different forms of violations and risks? 

  • What are the different contexts in which these WHRDs work and what kind of challenges do they face? 
  • What are the recommendations and the suggestions that can provide more solidarity and protection to these WHRDs? 
  • How do we understand such precarious situations in which WHRDs work and their vulnerabilities and how do we approach their work with the framework of WHRDs but with a different perspective? 
  • work.


  • Research paper on the impact of funding on the work of WHRDs in MENA

This paper will analyze funding in the context of increasing shrinking space and limitations on human rights, women’s rights and feminist work. This paper is expected to answer questions related to funding, some of these questions can be but not limited to : 

  • How accessible is funding to WHRDs and how is it impacting sustainability? What are the challenges and opportunities?
  • Which themes are being addressed and funded?  Is the approach of donors’ to restrict funding to only a few specific themes impacting WHRDs’ grassroots work? 
  • How do WHRDs understand the relationship between limitations of funding itself due to internal factions with external factors such as increased surveillance on banking systems and funding processes and sanctions in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine and other countries?
  • What lessons can be learned and how can WHRDs move forward based on past learned lessons and experiences?

   Researchers interested in applying need to send a letter of interest and an outline of proposed methodology, key questions, deliverables and a timeframe for work and budget. 

Research can be submitted in EN. However, researchers must have excellent command of Arabic. 

Researchers can collaborate with artists and deliver visualized content for some themes. 

The Coalition is looking for researchers that are:

1- Young academics from the MENA with a feminist background. 


2- Can be activists with previous experience in producing research. 

3- Capable of demonstrating a good understanding and knowledge of CSO work in MENA. 

4- Capable of demonstrating a good understanding and knowledge of Human Rights & CSOs work in MENA and all WHRD resolutions and protocols. 

5- Knowledge in content production and its protocols. 

6-  Able to provide references for their work  

7-  Respectful to deadlines, and are self motivated. 


Start date 1 August 2020 

delivery  of final approved paper : 30 OCTOBER 2020

Send required information and documents to