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...
Oct 14, 2013

Support for Gum Arabic Farmers Shows Results

In the last quarter, farmers in Sudan received 5,000 Acacia Senegal tree seedlings from the Near East Foundation (NEF) as efforts to ensure the future of an important source of income continue.

The trees provide gum arabic, a stabilizer used in products as varied as soft drinks and watercolor paint. Sudan is one of the top producers of gum arabic in the world.

NEF not only is training small farmers in methods to increase gum arabic production in the present, the organization also is working to ensure there will be enough trees for future production.

NEF held meetings to explain to communities why it's important to protect the Acacia trees, and also worked with Sudan's National Forest Corporation to set new rules and procedures for protecting the trees. Along with distributing the seedlings, NEF and the National Forest Corporation recently dispensed seeds.

The amount of gum arabic being harvested already is increasing as a result of NEF's training on production and small business operations. As a result, area farmers are starting to see an increase in their incomes!

Your support is vital to Sudan's gum arabic farmers and to NEF's efforts on their behalf. Thank you for helping these farmers support themselves and their families and for making sure there are Acacia trees for future generations!

Oct 14, 2013

Business Skills Training Underway!

The first business skills training sessions begin this month (October) for the women taking part in NEF’s newest initiative in Armenia.

Over the next 18 months, some 50 women will be trained in business and job skills in space provided by SME Development National Center of Armenia, so that these survivors of domestic violence will be able to start their own businesses or find jobs that will lead to their economic independence.

This quarter also saw NEF complete its assessment of the economy and labor market for the city of Yerevan.

The training follows focus groups that NEF and its partners conducted to determine the women’s existing job skills and to better understand why they want to start a business or what they are looking for in a job. 

THANK YOU for supporting this program! Helping women gain skills that will lead to employment may help them find alternatives to their abusive homes.

Oct 10, 2013

Commitment to Gardening Project Remains Strong

Given the outstanding amount of food that these market gardens have produced, and the effect these gardens have had in improving the lives of people in the eight villages taking part in the project, NEF-Mali is entering the new quarter with a strong commitment to continuing this program. There is considerable interest in focusing on encouraging youth and women in the participating villages to become involved.

Farmers used the winter months (July – September) to meet and review the previous season’s results, analyze the overall market garden plan, and work out solutions to challenges they encountered. NEF organized meetings to assess how much water is available and to check on seed production levels as well as to set a production schedule for the upcoming growing season. The NEF team also advised farmers on techniques that will help them continue to increase their market gardening production potential. 

NEF has helped farmers in eight villages launch and operate market gardens where they sell a portion of their produce to meet community food needs and meet their own financial needs. Families eat the remaining portion of their produce at home.

The villages in need where farmers are now producing vegetables with NEF support include: Bagui, Korientzé, N'Gorodia (rural town of Korombana), Dari, Deri (rural town of N'Diaptodji), Mounouwel, Kikara (rural town of Gandamia), and Gafity (rural town of Debere).

THANK YOU for supporting families in Mali as they recover from drought and occupation! YOU are improving their lives today and helping them build food security for the future!

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