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 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
Jan 9, 2014

Life is Changing with Improved Harvest & Profits

Farmers use their new skills to improve profits
Farmers use their new skills to improve profits

For Idris Abdullah, a gum arabic farmer from Al Adiat Asharqia, the arrival of summer used to signal the time for his annual migration in search of alternative sources of income. This meant leaving his family and village behind for uncertain prospects and no guarantee of financial reward for his journey.

However, life has changed for Idris and his family because of the support he received from NEF thanks to generous donors like you.

By employing new skills he learned from NEF trainings, Idris increased his sesame harvest from 2 to 5 sacks in previous years to 35 sacks this year! With the increase in production and profits from his crop, Idris is able to provide for his family without having to journey away from his village.

NEF offers workshops where hundreds of farmers like Idris have learned a variety of new skills to improve the management and sustainability of gum arabic-producing Acacia trees on which their livelihoods – and a substantial portion of the local economy in North Kordofan, Sudan – is based. This is no small matter when one considers that a large part of the world’s supply of gum arabic, which is used in many everyday products such as soft drinks, comes from this region.

With his additional income, Idris is providing financial backing to his village to help advance their collective efforts to protect the Acacia woodlands from fire, arbitrary cutting, and improper harvesting practices.

At the NEF training workshops, farmers also learn new skills in other areas such as project and financial management. This is crucial to help farmers prepare to handle the increased revenue they may earn through better farming methods. We also share strategies on how to efficiently use micro-loan financing they may receive to support the planting of new crops.

NEF recently conducted four training workshops for over 425 members of Gum Arabic Producer Associations in Sudan. During the workshops farmers gained knowledge and had the opportunity to see the impact of the project’s activities first hand through tours of local farms and communities where improved gum arabic management techniques have been put into practice.

With the success of farmers like Idris, word about the project and its benefits is spreading to neighboring villages beyond the project area. Local farmers are sharing the best practices they’ve learned to increase the quality and quantity of their harvest – and ultimately increase market value and profits.

Thanks to your support, more are more vulnerable farmers like Idris have the ability to better provide for their families and communities, and to help protect the sustainability of the natural resources they depend upon for survival. THANK YOU!

Nov 13, 2013

44 Women-owned Businesses Launching in Palestine!

A beekeeping entrepreneur in Nablus-Asira
A beekeeping entrepreneur in Nablus-Asira

It has been an incredible time for women entrepreneurs in the West Bank participating in NEF’s program to help them launch their own small businesses!

Because of the generosity of donors like you, NEF will be able to provide up to 30% of their start-up funds in the form of grants that do not need to be repaid.

After receiving skills training and carefully developing their business plans, and now with funding, the women entrepreneurs are at the stage of starting their businesses!

As you can see in the pictures, the 44 women-owned businesses range from farming to food processing and also other areas – like craft production or retail shops.

During this time as the women launch their businesses, we’ve continued to provide additional training and mentoring support to help them navigate the at times difficult process of becoming a business owner.

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

Launching a home gardening small enterprise
Launching a home gardening small enterprise
Operating a school canteen serving children snacks
Operating a school canteen serving children snacks

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