Near East Foundation (NEF)

Founded in 1915, the Near East Foundation's mission is to help build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities in the Middle East and Africa through education, governance, and economic development initiatives. NEF is an operational NGO with projects in seven countries -- Armenia, Egypt, Jordan, Mali, Morocco, Palestine, and Sudan -- where we work to directly improve the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable people through programs in Peacebuilding, Civic Engagement and Education, Sustainable Agriculture, and Business Development. In the field, approximately 50 NEF staff members-all of them from the countries in which they work-partner with local organizations to find homeg...
Jan 6, 2015

Women's Empowerment and Advocacy Makes Strides

The Near East Foundation‘s Women’s Empowerment and Advocacy (WEEA) project continues to make great strides in supporting survivors of domestic violence in Armenia. Training and support is provided for women who want to find employment and for those who want to start microenterprises.

NEF has now trained 30 participants on how to write a CV and prepare for a job interview; strengthen time and risk management skills; and learn about Armenian labor laws and rights, has enabled many women to become productive participants in the labor market.

After gaining basic work skills, the women were then able to build professional networks, identify jobs in their chosen fields, and with the help of the project expert, negotiate with prospective employers. As a result, 24 women found jobs in different sectors of the labor market as nurses, managers, cleaners, bakers, hairdressers, and sale managers.

NEF’s WEEA project has enabled women to find job security and financial independence by building a distinguished network of potential employers who were willing and eager to work with them. To date, the project has helped women find jobs that pay up to $400 per month, a decent wage in Armenia. A recent survey shows that the participation in the project has also significantly increased women’s self-confidence and helped them have a more positive outlook on their future. Often, the main beneficiaries of the WEEA project are single mothers who are the sole provider for their families. 

Oct 8, 2014

New Mother Achieves Economic Independence

When thirty-five-year-old Anahit found out she was pregnant, she began receiving threats from her partner and his family. The relentless conflict made Anahit’s environment unbearable, and she was quickly referred to a shelter run by one of Near East Foundation’s local partners. Once safe and secure, Anahit began attending trainings on domestic violence to help process her trauma. Additionally, as her due date approached, she received parenting guidance, as well as financial and health assistance to prepare her for her new role as a mother.

By the time her daughter was born, Anahit had found work as a manicurist. However, with a new baby to provide for, Anahit aspired for something more. It was this inclination that propelled her to join NEF’s Women’s Economic Empowerment and Advocacy (WEEA) project.

Anahit’s background in cosmetology gave her a marketable skill, and through NEF’s trainings, she learned business strategies such as planning and budgeting. With this new knowledge, she was able to acquire a small grant from NEF to start her own laser hair removal business. One of the best parts of Anahit’s business is the work-from-home component, a desirable element for a mother with a new baby.

NEF’s WEEA project works with survivors of domestic violence like Anahit, to provide them with skills and resources they need to become economically independent. The initiative aims to assist at least fifty women experiencing domestic violence in Armenia with skills, resources, and support networks to reach economic independence and advocate for economic rights. Ultimately, women have the option of choosing whether to find employment or begin a microenterprise.

Today, Anahit is able to financially support herself and her daughter. “I never knew that I was capable of being so goal-oriented,” she said. “I’m back on my feet again, and I’m not dependent on anyone. I can take care of my baby and myself.”

So far, NEF has worked with 36 women who are now operating viable microenterprise projects and hold sustainable employment positions.

 

THANK YOU for supporting this critical work to help women survivors of domestic violence in Armenia gain skills and earn an income so they can build a new life for their families!

*Anahit is a fictional name used to protect her identity.

Aug 11, 2014

Women Launch 73 New Businesses!

Ilham holds a tray of Mo
Ilham holds a tray of Mo'ajanat, a rolled pastry.

Ilham holds a tray of Mo’ajanat, a rolled pastry sweetened with dates, baked as part of her food processing business in the West Bank. With training, support, and startup grants from the Near East Foundation, women in the West Bank are developing professional business plans and launching businesses.

Through your generous support, women like Ilham have now launched over 73 new or expanded businesses in the West Bank. NEF provides participants with training in microenterprise development, offers support in the development of professional business plans, and helps to secure funding for new projects. 

Ilham first learned about NEF’s project through her local women’s association. Hoping to expand her baking business and gain new clients, she reached out to participate in the project .  With new skills from training sessions, a professional business plan, and financing, Ilham was able to invest in and expand her business.  She has seen much success in her expanded business, increasing her income and supporting her family.  

“Now not only can I buy raw materials and supplies, I also have money to pay for my personal needs and wants, and I can give my children daily pocket money,” Ilham said.

Learn more about Ilham’s story through this video.

The project’s support does not end after businesses are launched; NEF continues to provide ongoing monitoring and coaching to women entrepreneurs in their first years.  

While the work is ongoing, this month marks the end of our campaign on Global Giving.  Our work in the West Bank continues – and we hope that you will continue to follow our activities and the impact of our projects through our websiteFacebook page, or Twitter feed

THANK YOU for your ongoing support and for helping women like Ilham to grow their businesses, help their families achieve financial independence and benefit their community.  We hope that you will continue to follow NEF’s work! For more on Global Giving, consider NEF's work in rural Armenia. 

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