NEAR EAST FOUNDATION wrote -
NEF helps economically marginalized people gain the business skills and resources they need to start income generating activities. We need your help to reach more families in desperate need of opportunities.
WHERE ARE WE DOING THIS?
JORDAN and LEBANON:
As the Syrian crisis enters its fifth year, millions of refugees continue to seek safety and dignified lives in Jordan and Lebanon. Currently, Jordan hosts more than 600,000 registered Syrian refugees, and in Lebanon, approximately 1.07 million registered Syrian refugees constitute 25 percent of the country’s population. NEF is assisting Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and vulnerable members of their host communities, to achieve economic resilience by helping them expand or launch home-based microenterprises, build peer support networks, and establish savings and loan associations.
- 1,034 Jordanians and Iraqi and Syrian refugees received training in business development, vocational skills, and financial literacy.
- In Jordan, 833 women started home-based businesses, increasing their household incomes by an average of 64% (75% among refugees).
“I was having some trouble with the purchasing of raw materials and with the calculation of costs. The training was clear and easy. I learned to plan, calculate capital, and deal with customers.”
— Lutfiyeh Iskander, sweets and handicrafts producer who has successfully grown her at-home business
Domestic violence is widespread in Armenia, where 59 percent of women report being subjected to physical, psychological, or sexual violence at the hands of their domestic partners. By 2017, NEF aims to help more than 250 women survivors of gender-based violence achieve economic independence through vocational training, entrepreneurship skill building, and business and financial support to help them launch small businesses. Working with community associations in four regions, NEF has organized policy roundtables and public forums to raise awareness and start dialogue around gender-based violence and inequality.
- 57 women received career development training and coaching.
- 59 women received business development training and coaching.
- 48 women developed business plans, of which 36 received grants to support their businesses.
“You changed my family’s outlook—women are not created only for sitting at home, but also for working and earning.”
— Armenian woman who received vocational training and is now working as a hairdresser
Although women are key players in the Palestinian economy,Palestine has one of the lowest female labor participation rates in the world. Hindered by social norms, limited access to financial resources, and lack of institutional support, the role of women in the economy is largely informal and uncompensated. Despite their high levels of education, women account for only 19 percent of the Palestinian labor market, while 65 percent express a desire to own a business. In addition to helping launch start-up businesses in rural areas, NEF focuses on the “missing middle” of women who have existing businesses ready to be taken to scale.
- 524 women received business development training and coaching; 311 developed business plans.
- 267 women launched or significantly expanded businesses.
- Women entrepreneurs created 330 new jobs for women.
“One day I will have a brand name and stores in each city here in Palestine. Who knows? Maybe I will export Sana Sweets internationally.”
— Sana Al-Sayeh, Palestinian woman who expanded her candymaking business with NEF support
Reoccurring conflict in Sudan has destroyed economic institutions, markets, and jobs, leaving 46.5 percent of the population in poverty. Unemployment continues to be one of the major issues facing women and youth. NEF promotes peaceful and participatory economic recovery among internally displaced, returnees, and vulnerable populations in Sudan through microenterprise development and income-generating activities.
- 2,330 people, including 1,375 women, in Central Darfur received training in business development and management; 917 prepared business plans and started new enterprises.
- 77 at-risk women in Khartoum’s peri-urban slums started or expanded small businesses based on NEF vocational and life skills trainings.
- 40 young women and 60 young men in Al-Qoz and Delling in South Kordofan received vocational skills training to increase employment opportunities and build economic resilience; 60 of them have already reported improved income.
- 2 women’s centers were constructed in Central Darfur to provide microenterprise facilities for women.
“Before attending the workshop, life was very difficult because I didn’t have a real full-time job. Now I can practice a profession I feel is my true calling. My personal financial distress has been completely relieved. And my children are doing well at school as a result of my economic stability.”
— Kharif Abdulla, an NEF-trained para-veterinarian from Central Darfur
With more than 50 percent of Morocco’s young working-age population out of school and out of work, youth unemployment is a serious concern. Working with youth councils in two coastal provinces, NEF is organizing business training programs, incubators, and support networks to help young people start their own businesses in the formal sector. NEF’s strategy with the councils is to put people, resources, and funding in place to sustain and expand business creation among young people. In parallel, NEF is working with Parent Teacher Associations in the High Atlas Mountains to establish small businesses that will generate funds to invest in improving access to quality education and better engage communities in their schools.
- 486 youth completed entrepreneurship training.
- 67 business plans have already been funded and 21 have launched with a target of 250 by the end of 2016.
Beneficiary Testimonial: “My involvement in this project has shown me the important role that young people can play as a catalyst for the economy. I have learned new skills and teamwork, and have had an opportunity to share my experience.”
— Amine El Bouazzi, a 24-year-old master trainer certified through NEF’s youth entrepreneurship program