LOCATION: Sebastia Municipality, Nablus Governorate
Being the first municipality in the northern West Bank to have a woman mayor is but one facet of Sebastia’s rich history. Located in the hills northwest of Nablus, Sebastia boasts archeological ruins dating back 10,000 years. In 1997 the Ministry of Local Governance accorded Sebastia municipal status. A 2009 Community Leadership Empowerment Program award equipped local women with a training hall. The municipal council acknowledges that, until this point, it had only ever focused on immediate needs. The Community Leadership Empowerment Program strategic planning process resulted in the people coming together to prioritize their infrastructure and service needs and articulate how they will address them. The municipality’s second in-kind award provided sewing machines to women who are now generating their own income. Sebastia has emerged with a plan to market and host an international festival to celebrate and share its cultural heritage with the world.