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 13, 2013

Palestinian Women Generate $130,000 in Revenue with NEF Support

School children buy nutritious snacks at canteen
School children buy nutritious snacks at canteen

At 10 a.m. every morning, 300 children burst through the doors of the Jerusalem school Madraseh al-Quds and run towards the outdoor playground. Before the children begin to play, they race to the canteen to buy a morning snack. Because of the Near East Foundation’s (NEF) work with local women’s associations, the school is able to provide its students with fresh and nutritious snacks every day—while also supporting the livelihoods of participating women.

The savory Palestinian treats produced by the women’s associations supported by NEF are filled with local cheese and spices. Members of these women’s associations have learned new skills in NEF trainings – including accounting and business management – and have participated in horticulture projects. Combined, these activities have led to the creation of more than 168 jobs for women.

The Balata Women’s Society, located in the Balata refugee camp, is one of the women’s associations that has benefited from NEF training and whose members sell baked goods in the school canteen. The canteen’s shelves were once filled with candy, juice boxes and potato chips--representative of the malnutrition problem faced by more than 20% of the Palestinian youth. Now, the canteen provides healthy alternative snacks to the children, many of whom come to school with an empty stomach.

On an average school day, the Balata Women’s Society makes about $80 by selling snacks in the canteen. The profits are distributed among the women who work there. In 2012, there were a total of 57 school canteens set up by women’s associations supported by NEF, which collectively have generated $130,000 in revenue.  The women are excited to continue providing children with nutritious alternatives, while at the same time continuing to invest in their self-created businesses and supporting women members of their associations.

Your support to women’s business development increases incomes and opportunities for families in the Palestinian Territories.  We are excited to expand our work and share similar stories of the impact our activities have on families. Thank You! 

Women's canteen at Madraseh al-Quds School
A child enjoys a nutritious snack at school
A child enjoys a nutritious snack at school


Jan 14, 2013

Eight Community Gardens to Feed the Hungry with Near East Foundation Assistance

With your support, the Near East Foundation is at work in Mali purchasing seeds and basic agricultural supplies for eight community gardens in the villages of Korientzé, M'Bessena, N'Gorodia, Dari, Deri, Kikara, and Mounouwel Gafity.

These villages are located in the Mopti Region - one of many areas that have little or no food security due to Mali’s political instability and last year’s poor harvest.

It is now the planting season for vegetables. The seeds and supplies being provided by our team – thanks to donations like yours – will produce badly needed crops of shallots, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, beets, cabbage, and lettuce to feed a multitude of families in the coming months.

Your gift is supporting our ongoing relief work during this time of crisis in Mali. Thank you!

Jan 14, 2013

Farmer Income and Production Continue to Rise

In Sudan’s North Kordofan State, communities participating in the Near East Foundation’s project to improve livelihoods continue to benefit from important skills and opportunities gained through our work – in spite of growing challenges in the region. 

The microcredit fund we helped establish is successfully supporting community members – providing them with financing to undertake activities that have increased their incomes, improved production, and protected local gum arabic (acacia) trees. 

A total of 24 new projects have been launched by community members over the past several months in four villages. Combined with an average 20% increase in gum arabic production, some farmers have increased their incomes by as much as 900 Sudanese Pounds (SDG) – or $200 – per month.

These microcredit loans continue to have a high rate of repayment. When the funds are repaid, more money can be lent to community members for additional projects that improve livelihoods.

These improvements come at a critical time in our partner communities. Because of ongoing conflict in neighboring South Kordofan State, many nomads and pastoralists have traveled to North Kordofan – placing an increasing strain on their natural resources. 

NEF’s work with gum arabic producer associations has developed the capacity of participating communities to constructively manage and protect their community’s natural resources. There's a growing public awareness about the importance of acacia trees, and the communities continue to establish protected forest areas around their villages.

Your support to vulnerable gum arabic farmers in North Kordofan helps build peace and promote sustainable livelihoods in Sudan. Thank you!

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