About us

Mission

We mobilize financial, political and technical resources to give grants and offer close accompaniment to feminist groups and engaged feminist scholars in the MENA region. We work to ensure they have the necessary resources to sustain and develop their activism, identify and determine their priorities independently, produce homegrown knowledge by and for their movements and advocate for the rights of all women and LGBTQ+ individuals and groups in their countries.

Independent feminist groups in the MENA region are at the forefront of the fight for justice and equality for all women and LGBTQ+ individuals and organisations. These vibrant and active groups are often under-resourced and sidelined by various forces and ideologies. They deal with enormous social and political backlash in their countries often at the risk of their own safety and security.

Our values

Diversity and Inclusion
Solidarity
Holistic Approach
Sustainability
Visibility
Respect
Co-creation
Radical Trust

History

The founder of the Doria Fund for Women, Mozn Hassan, had established an independent feminist organisation in Egypt called Nazra for Feminist Studies. Nazra and Mozn received the Right Livelihood Award and the decision was made to allocate the totality of this award for the creation of the Doria Feminist Fund.

The Doria Feminist Fund is the culmination of a journey of struggle, learning and recognition.

Board

The Doria Feminist Fund is governed by a Board of Directors who give their time, expertise and network on a voluntary basis. Day to day work is assumed by a small group of feminist consultants and advisors. Doria also relies on a core group of feminist organisations and scholars from the region to provide the much valued coaching and mentoring.

Mozn Hassan

Mozn Hassan is an Egyptian feminist activist and founder of ‘Nazra for Feminist Studies’.  She has received many awards, amongst them the Global Fund for Women’s inaugural Charlotte Bunch Human Rights Award in 2013. Hassan and Nazra were jointly awarded one of the Right Livelihood Awards, often called the "Alternative Nobel Peace Prize", in 2016 "for asserting the equality and rights of women in circumstances where they are subject to ongoing violence, abuse and discrimination”. In 20209, Hassan received the Hrant Dink Award for peace , rights and equality. 

In her work through Nazra, Hassan has been involved in a range of different activities and campaigns to address gender-based inequalities and forms of injustices while also strengthening feminist mobilization and women’s participation in politics.  Nazra has played a particularly important role in documenting human rights abuses and sexual violence during and after the revolution of 2011, and has been supporting and advocating for the survivors of sexual assault. 

Hind Ahmed Zaki

Hind Ahmed Zaki is an Assistant Professor of Political Science, with a joint appointment in the department of Language, Culture, and Literature at the University of Connecticut. She is specialist in comparative politics with a special emphasis in gender and politics and the Middle East and North Africa. Her research focuses on theories of state feminism, feminist movements, gender-based violence, and qualitative research methods. Her current book project focuses on the politics of women’s rights in Egypt and Tunisia in the period following the Arab spring. The book manuscript analyzes how historical constructions of women’s rights, as represented in institutions and narratives of state feminism, shaped feminist mobilization in the course of the Arab Spring, resulting in surprisingly empowering episodes of legal and political mobilization for women’s rights. Her broader research interests includes understanding different models of state feminism in the region and how they influenced the history and development and agenda of feminist movements in the Arab world. Hind serves as a consultant and board member for Nazra for Feminist Studies since 2013.

Zeina Zaatari

For over 20 years Zeina Zaatari has worked on gender and racial justice in Arab and Arab American communities both within academic and non-profit spaces in programming, philanthropic, and producing knowledge. Zeina currently works as the Director of the Arab American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Previously, she worked as Research Director at Political Research Associates, and as the Regional Director for the MENA Program at Global Fund for Women (2004-2012) where she managed a diverse grantmaking program to support women’s and trans movements in the Middle East and North Africa. Zeina earned her PhD in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis in Feminist Theory from the University of California at Davis.

Zeina serves as the Associate Editor for the Middle East and Africa (northern and sub-Saharan) for the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures. She is a trainer and mentor for The Muslim Women in the Media Training Institute, and a co-founder and member of the Training to Engaged Research Group that provides training and mentorship to junior faculty and graduate students in mostly national universities in the Arab region on how to conceptualize research projects, draft research proposals, conduct the research, analyze the data, and get published.

She served for the past six years as Secretary of the Board of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development, a member of the International Advisory Board for Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, and an elected Advisor for the MENA Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders. More info on publications at:

Fahima Hashim

Founder and former director of Salmmah Women Centre

Fahima Hashim a feminist activist for over 25 years, experienced in action research and feminist training, in the areas of women and peace, Violence Against Women and feminist movement building. Fahima is devoting her life to promote radical change for women/young women and their place in society.

Board member of Nazra for Studies and Research working with women in the MENA Region, and an advisory Board member for Doria Feminist Fund (first feminist fund for women in the MENA region).

She served as the Director for Salmmah Women’s Resource Centre which was forced closed by the Sudan government in June 2014.

Lina Abou-Habib

Lina Abou-Habib is the Interim Director of the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of Beirut.  She also teaches undergraduate and graduate gender courses at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Beirut.  She serves as the Chair of Collective for Research and Training for Development – Action and as a Board Member for Gender at Work as well as the MENA strategic advisor for the Global Fund for Women.  She is also a member of the editorial Board of the Gender and Development journal published by Oxfam.

Lina Abou-Habib was previously the Executive Director of Women’s Learning Partnership  and before that, the director of CRTD.A. She has worked extensively with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and with several international and regional organisations in designing and managing programmes in the Middle East and North Africa region on issues related to gender and citizenship, economy, trade and gender and leadership. She has considerable experience in qualitative research, gender analysis, and training/facilitation.  She was a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Applied Humanities, Institute of Public Policy (Auckland University of Technology).  As a global gender consultant, Abou-Habib worked in most countries of the MENA region, in West Africa and the Caucuses.

Sussan Tahmasebi

Sussan Tahmasebi has been working to strengthen civil society and advocate women’s rights in Iran and in the MENA region for 20 years. Currently she serves as the Executive Director of FEMENA, an organization that supports women human rights defenders, their organizations and movements with a particular focus on transitioning contexts or contexts of limited or constrained civil society space in the MENA and Asia regions. Prior to this role, Tahmasebi was the Director of MENA/Asia region at the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) (2011-2017), an organization focused on promoting peace and security, which she co-founded. Between 1999-2010 Tahmasebi was based in Iran where she co-founded the Iran Civil Society Training and Research Center, focused on building the capacity of Iranian civil society and conducting social research. Tahmasebi is also a founding member the One Million Signatures Campaign, a grassroots effort working to end gender-biased laws in Iran and continues to maintain strong ties to the Iranian civil society and women’s movement. Tahmasebi’s expertise include movement building in contexts of shrinking civic space, reform of women’s rights in Muslim societies, civil society capacity building and women’s peace and security in MENA and Asia region, among other issues.

In 2010 and 2011 Tahmasebi was honored for her work in Iran by Human Rights Watch with the Alison Des Forges Award for extraordinary activism, HRW’s highest honor. In 2011 she was named by Newsweek as one of 150 women who “Shake the World.” In 2016 she was awarded the Power to Inspire award by the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta Georgia, where her work as an advocate of women’s rights in Iran is featured. In 2016, Tahmasebi was honored by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) as a feminist activist who will make you hopeful for a future without fundamentalisms.

Tahmasebi is Iranian and American by birth and is fluent in both English and Farsi. She resides in Washington DC.

Follower her on Twitter: @sussantweets

Farah Salka

Farah Salka is a feminist and anti-racism organizer and trainer, based in Beirut, Lebanon. She studied Poli-Sci and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut, then received her MA from University of Malta in Human Rights Law in 2007. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Anti-Racism Movement and has been working on organizing with migrant communities, asylum seekers and domestic workers on issues of racism, discrimination and labour exploitation. She is involved with the Migrant Community Center(s) whose main strategies involve providing resources to sustain migrant community networks and activists mobilizing collaboration between local activists and MDWs against racist abuse and kafala system brutality in Lebanon. Farah is a member of the Global Advisory panel of Equality Fund and on the Advisory Board of The A-Project. She is also a board member and co-chair of Mamacash.

Lidia Al Pizar

Lydia Alpízar Durán, Founding Member and Co-Executive Director, Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras), Costa Rica-Mexico

Organization Twitter Handle:@IM_Defensoras

Personal Twitter Handle:@LydiaAlpizar

Lydia Alpízar Durán is a Costa Rican-Mexican feminist activist and the Co-Executive Director of IM-Defensoras, a unique local-to-regional alliance of women human rights defenders (WHRDs), organizations, multiple social movements and national WHRD networks from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador. IM-Defensoras works collaboratively to advance strategies of feminist holistic protection for WHRDs in order to sustain their struggles in favor of human rights in Mesoamerica and towards their security, wellbeing, leadership and autonomy. Lydia served for a decade as Executive Director of the global feminist organization, the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID); she is currently a Board Member of the Urgent Action Fund Latin America (FAU-LA) and a member of the Advisory Group of the Indian and NYC-based organization CREA (Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action). She is a sociologist and a graduate from the Human Rights Advocacy Training Program from Columbia University's Center for the Study of Human Rights.