A New Women’s Empowerment Program Begins in the West Bank
Khyria, a baker from Qabalan, was a participant in Women Can I.
August 28, 2020 | Washington, DC – We are pleased to announce that Islamic Relief USA will be funding a second round of our successful women’s empowerment program, “Women Can,” in the West Bank. Anera partners with the Ministry of Social Affairs, and coordinates with the Ministry of Agriculture and local civil society organizations to identify low-income women, prioritizing female-headed families. Phase two of Women Can intends to reach an additional 113 families in Salfit and Ramallah governorates.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reports that 87 percent of women-headed families are not “economically active” and identify them as one of the most vulnerable groups, as they are exposed to economic deprivation and social marginalization.
Naser Qadous, Anera’s program manager, comments:
“This project helps many desperate families achieve some of their dreams. In our local communities, men are commonly the primary breadwinners for families. When women lose husbands due to death or divorce, or if he becomes unable to work because of an illness, women find themselves totally responsible for their family. This project is designed to help women to be more productive and part of the workforce, thereby increasing their self-confidence and independence as well as their families’ resilience.”
Women Can II strengthens women’s skills so they are better able to develop small businesses based on their interests and assets. The goal is to generate income and combat poverty. Building on the success of Women Can I, implemented last year, Anera will expand the program to new communities. Women Can II is tailored to the new COVID-19 environment. Anera will ensure the safety of the women entrepreneurs at all stages by conducting awareness sessions on COVID-19 and practicing all precautions to avoid spread. The phased business management training will offer online sessions through social platforms with the possibility of some in-person classes, if public health circumstances change.
Furthermore, Women Can II will focus on sustainable businesses that are less likely to be affected by the lockdown, such as agriculture, shops and animal husbandry. Another facet of the training will center on social empowerment by providing psychosocial support to women who have suffered traumas due to the death of husbands or divorces. “Our goal is both to improve women’s income and their families’ well-being, and to empower them to overcome social barriers and become independent,” Qadous says.
Anera’s Women Can coordinator Nariman Othman comments:
“It’s a humanitarian project that creates safe spaces for women and widens their social networks. For many of these women, it’s transformational – moving them from a state of depression and inaction to becoming decision-makers and leaders in their communities.”
Anera will employ a combination of remote data collection as well as video-based interviews with candidates via Zoom to confirm women’s qualifications. Anera will also provide internet connection to participants whenever is needed.
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Since 1968, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate humanitarian relief and for sustainable health, education, and economic development efforts. Our staff are from the communities they serve, navigating the politics that constrict progress to get help where it’s needed most. In this way, Anera has grown to deliver more than $65 million in programming annually. We will keep building better lives until hope finds its way in the Middle East.
This project is being implemented with the generous support of the Islamic Relief USA. The views expressed herein are those of Anera and shall not, in any way whatsoever, be construed to reflect the official opinion of IRUSA, its Islamic Relief affiliates, or its donors.