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...
Feb 11, 2014

Woman Entrepreneur Turns Passion Into Profits

Carmen launched her business with your support!
Carmen launched her business with your support!

Until very recently, Carmen, a young Palestinian woman studying computer science, never imagined she could start a full-time business doing henna artwork--something she loves but always considered only a hobby.

“I was scared in the beginning,” she said. “I was just practicing my skills... I never had the motivation to turn it into a business, but the Near East Foundation opens the door for us.”

Carmen is one of almost 50 Palestinian women who started their own business in 2013 with Near East Foundation support, thanks to the generosity of donors like you.

The new businesses have created nearly 100 new jobs!

In total, NEF is providing training to 200 Palestinian women entrepreneurs and supporting them in creating 150 new businesses.

On average, women entrepreneurs provide 75% of the start-up capital and NEF contributes the remaining 25%, in addition to ongoing training and mentoring support.

The program allows Carmen and women entrepreneurs like her to plan for their futures knowing they can provide income for themselves. The new businesses range from small farms and bakery operations to retail shops. 

Carmen’s future aspirations extend to those like her. “I hope NEF continues to include more women so they can benefit from this program as I have benefitted. And I hope NEF keeps following up with us to help improve and expand our microenterprises,” she said enthusiastically.

THANK YOU for your continuing support of this vital work to create sustainable economic opportunities for impoverished Palestinian women and their families!

Jan 13, 2014

"A new chapter in my life"

Since our last report, twelve Armenian women who are survivors of domestic violence have received training in business planning and management thanks to your generous support.

Four of the women have already launched their own small businesses!

“This project has helped me start a new chapter in my life. Thanks to my new business, I will be able to provide for myself and for my children’s livelihood by doing my favorite activity,” shared one beneficiary who is now earning an income with her sewing skills.

NEF is economically empowering Armenian women survivors of domestic abuse by helping them gain the vocational and business skills to sustain themselves financially. Women participate in workshops and trainings before developing a business plan. The women choose their business focus themselves based on their respective skills and interests.

Once their business plan is reviewed and approved for financing, the women receive guidance from a business coach who advises them through the start-up phase and helps them strengthen their business network. The coach also organizes visits to similar businesses to allow the women to observe how a viable business operates.

Four more women will soon receive financial support to launch their businesses after receiving additional training.  The businesses range in focus from cosmetology to embroidery and agriculture.

Thanks to your generosity, the women receiving this support can escape the cycle of abuse occurring in their homes and take control of their lives.

A beneficiary who started a manicuring business shared, “I’ve learned the skills on how to organize my business, and I’ve also acquired all the necessary items to start my business. Now I will no longer be dependent on my husband’s income, and I can live separately with my kids without fear of abuse by him. I clearly understand the importance of this award for women like me, so I plan to get only the most important items for my business to save the funds for other women.’’   

The women’s enthusiasm for the project is growing as they see tangible results in their financial situations and begin to gain economic independence. Your donation is helping them to move forward with increasing confidence towards a new life for their families. THANK YOU!

Jan 9, 2014

Lives are Changing with Support of Farmers

Preparing the ground in a community market garden
Preparing the ground in a community market garden

In a region that only a year ago was ravaged by drought and political unrest, NEF’s support for vulnerable farmers – made possible by generous donors like you – is helping communities recover and rebuild food security.

During the last three months, farmers in Northern Mali began planting for another harvest season. NEF helped the farmers in preparing soil with organic manure, planting seeds, and improving irrigation. Through market gardens, the farmers will produce crops to eat and sell including shallots, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, eggplants, and cabbage.

The best way to share what a great impact we’re having is through the words of the beneficiaries themselves. Here’s what one woman from the village of Mounouwel had to say about how the market garden initiative has changed life for her family:

“The project has helped us meet our needs. Money from the selling of vegetables has allowed me to pay for my daughter's clothes and help with education expenses … In addition, the contribution to family finances has helped maintain a climate of harmony in my household as we are less worried about how to pay for basic expenses. While expressing my deep gratitude to all partners, I ask that the project continues to support us to improve and enhance our production. I sincerely thank you.”

Families across the region are experiencing similar progress because of your support!  

In addition to working with individual farmers, NEF is also working at the community level to strengthen production and natural resource management. To help build sustainability into the areas we’re serving, we’re supporting the creation of community-level management committees to provide support to farmers.  

Over the past quarter, members of management committees from eight participating villages attended trainings on the management of investments and good governance.  With the skills they have learned, members of these committees will provide ongoing support to farmers to improve livelihoods into the future.

Your generous contribution makes it possible for NEF to continue this life-changing work. THANK YOU!

Watering the crops in a new market garden
Watering the crops in a new market garden
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