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...
Apr 13, 2012

Six New Businesses Launched in Rural Armenia

Rural livelihoods continue to improve in rural Armenia, where NEF’s project in support of entrepreneurs is helping to rebuild the economy, and break the cycle of unemployment and poverty.

In the first three months of 2012, a total of six entrepreneurs received funding for their business ventures. The entrepreneurs are from four rural villages in the regions of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh, Gegharkunik, and Tavush.   

Each of the businesses has a different focus.  The range of enterprises includes a beekeeping venture, dried fruit production, a souvenir shop, a bakery, a sheep-breeding farm, and a vegetable greenhouse.

Since 2008, NEF has worked with local partners in rural Armenia to promote sustainable local economic development by strengthening economic sub-sectors (such as the ones supported in 2012) where rural areas have a competitive advantage.  Our program helps at every stage of business development – from formulating a business plan to gaining access to micro-credit (capital) and providing ongoing mentoring and support services during the launch phase.

We thank you for your generous support, which is helping entrepreneurs build strong businesses and contribute to the revitalization of their communities!

 

Apr 13, 2012

Microcredit Lending Increases by 25 Percent in Rural Sudan

In the past year, Gum Arabic Producer Associations participating in the Near East Foundation’s project to support farmers and fight poverty in Sudan have increased their microcredit funds by 25 percent—from 7,500 Sudanese Pounds (SDG) to 10,000 SDG—through loan reimbursements and fees from gum farmers who have borrowed money.  Having more money in the funds means more money is available to loan in support of more impoverished rural families.

Gaining access to credit is a challenge for rural farmers in Sudan’s “Gum Belt,” where poverty rates are between 60 and 95 percent. The microcredit funds provided by this project support gum producers in their harvesting activities and in livelihood diversification, offering gum producers the capital they need to operate with favorable, non-predatory lending terms.

Gum Arabic harvesting is generally financed by local traders who act as intermediaries between gum producers and gum markets. The traders provide cash, seeds, tools, and basic commodities to allow families to get through the annual “hunger season” – the window between harvesting seasons. However, farmers must reimburse this credit at unfavorable prices and pay disproportionate credit charges over which they have little power or choice.

The Near East Foundation project is helping gum producers break free of debt bondage to gum merchants, and establishing a sustainable lending mechanism—controlled by local communities—that will provide ongoing support to gum producers into the future.

NEF’s work with Sudanese Gum Arabic Producer Associations employs a three-pronged strategy to improve the livelihoods of rural families: (1) build capacity of its farmer members by providing training in sustainable forest management to improve the efficiency of their harvesting techniques to increase their production and income; (2) facilitate microcredit lending (for the first time in some places) through local associations to expand farmer operations, and free gum producers from local lending practices that keep them in poverty; and (3) support community associations to develop sustainable natural resource management.

Thank you for your generous support, which is helping farmers break the cycle of poverty and debt bondage, and preserve forest resources to ensure a healthy planet for us all!

 

 

 

Mar 26, 2012

Stability in South Kordofan

Sudan’s South Kordofan state erupted into conflict in June 2011. The conflict left an estimated 75,000 individuals displaced.  In a primarily agricultural region, farmers worried about how they would cultivate crops and feed their families once they were able to return home.

NEF has been on the ground since farmers began to return to their land in the Fall of 2011.  Through its emergency farming project, NEF supported 300 farmers in planting and harvesting crops.  This has assured food security for families in a region otherwise threatened by famine. We thank you for your interest in and generous support of this important project

With the humanitarian situation in South Kordofan beginning to stabilize, NEF will be focusing its attention on its more long-term development efforts in Sudan. NEF continues to support the development of a sustainable peace in the region through its on-going work to strengthen the livelihoods of ex-combatants in the region. NEF also works with farmers in North Kordofan to conserve natural resources and foster peace through training in sustainable gum Arabic harvesting techniques and training in conflict management. 

For more information on this project and to continue to support NEF’s important work in Sudan, visit our project titled “Support Farmers and Fight Poverty in Sudan.” http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/sustainable-gum-arabic-in-sudan/

 

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The Near East Foundation is a U.S.-based international development NGO leading innovative social and economic change in the Middle East and Africa. Founded in 1915, NEF has worked to empower citizens in disadvantaged, vulnerable communities for almost 100 years. NEF field staff - all of them from the countries in which they work - partner with local organizations to find grassroots solutions to their development challenges. Our comprehensive "knowledge, voice, and enterprise" approach is helping build more prosperous, inclusive communities throughout the region. To learn more visit www.neareast.org

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