Ma’an, meaning “together” in Arabic, is a partnership of Bedouin Women’s Organizations located in the Naqab / Negev desert.

The organization is structured as a forum whereby members (activists and representatives of different women’s organizations) shape policies and organizational structure. Together we implement projects for the advancement of women's equality and rights.


The Context and Need for our work

Of the 200,000 Bedouins living in the Negev, half live in seven towns set up by the Israeli government, which are characterized by unemployment and neglect. The rest of the community is dispersed throughout 34 villages, struggling for recognition by the government and lacking basic infrastructure, such as running water, electricity, roads and access to health care and schools. Residents in the "unrecognized" villages are continuously under threat of home demolitions by the State. Such social tensions in a traditional patriarchal society underpin discrimination against vulnerable members of the community, which typically manifests as domestic violence, with the victims having limited support systems.

Ma’an offers Bedouin women vitally needed advocacy services and emotional support, which is freely available to Bedouin women in the Naqab who urgently need help regarding issues of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse. The vast majority of the women who call Ma’an’s Crisis Hotline suffer serious domestic violence. Bedouin women are facing increasing ordeals as a doubly discriminated minority, on the one hand because they belong to an ethnic minority and on the other because they are women subject to living in a traditional patriarchal society rife with gender oppression. Bedouin women are economically dependent on their fathers, husbands, or sons. Their access to the public sphere is limited, as is access to educational and employment opportunities. The practice of polygamy further exacerbates the vulnerability of Bedouin women, and while it is illegal by the Israeli law, polygamy remains a very significant part of Bedouin women’s lives, with c.40% of Bedouin families being polygamous. With an unemployment rate of c.89% for Bedouin women, paying for legal aid is not a realistic option. In addition, women are not allowed to leave their villages unescorted by a man, which makes it even harder for women to get legal aid (which is unavailable in the villages).  These women are unable to turn elsewhere for legal advice and support because of their financial situation and the background of their conservative culture.



our VIsion

Ma'an aspires to bring a lasting and significant social change to the Naqab region regarding the rights of Bedouin women and gender equality in general. We contribute to building a just and democratic society that ensures to all of its members equality, especially women, through the realization of their fundamental human rights. Our work based on humanitarian principles, human rights, and dignity, as enshrined in the international human rights treaties and documents.


our Mission

As a grassroots Arab organization based and founded in Beer Sheva in 2001, and led by Arab women activists, Ma’an is rooted in the community that it serves. It is uniquely qualified to support, work with, empower, and advocate for Arab Bedouin women and women’s rights activists, and to lead the design and implementation of project activities to empower our core beneficiary group. Through cooperative advocacy, strategic litigation, and awareness rising, Ma’an works with the women from the Arab-Bedouin community so they can participate and contribute to society as equal citizens. Our work enhances cooperation between civil society actors advocating gender equality, and provides legal leverage for the enforcement of domestic and international law relating to women’s rights.  Ma’an is nonpartisan, working with many groups and organizations, and we aim solely to improve the lives of Arab-Bedouin women living in the Naqab.



our Goals

  1. To empower and develop the Arab society in the Naqab in all areas, with a strong focus on women’s rights and the development of women's organizations in order to remove obstacles that prevent the empowerment of the Arab women in the south.
  2. To make a significant impact in our response to the socially complicated and sensitive issues that arises in our work.
  3. To creating a sustainable movement for the leadership of local women to lead the process of social change.
  4. To increase social awareness of the needs and capabilities of Arab Bedouin women.
  5. To advocate on behalf of Arab Bedouin women to allow them to equally enjoy access to all the services available to the citizens according to the inalienable rights of all citizens.
  6. To empower Arab Bedouin women to develop their full potential, with a healthy sense of self-esteem and confidence.
  7. To educate and inform professionals and public servants to include Arab Bedouin women in the decision-making processes that have a direct effect on their lives.