Empower Women Entrepreneurs in Palestine & Jordan

Nov 14, 2012

Families increase their incomes, more women will receive support to start small enterprises

Palestinian woman harvesting time
Palestinian woman harvesting time

Forty Palestinian women have increased their income by an average of $300 per family after receiving agricultural management training and support from NEF field staff since January 2012.

The women successfully increased their income by developing sustainable small enterprises harvesting thyme.  

In October 2012, not even a year after the project began, the 40 participating women had a second thyme harvest that was productive in both crop yield and income generation. In the future they will continue to harvest regularly.

Throughout the project, NEF technical staff trained women on seedless propagation of crops in their fields. Through this training, seven women increased their planted thyme area by 200%.

Additionally, ten women learned to process thyme with oregano and sesame to make “Za’tar,” which is 50% more profitable than selling fresh thyme. Combined with olive oil and bread, “Za’tar” is a common breakfast food for Palestinian families.

These 40 women have proven their ability to manage their new microenterprises and are well on their way to becoming successful entrepreneurs. The Near East Foundation will continue to provide them with guidance as needed.

NEF strives to empower women to be successful and independent entrepreneurs. This includes adapting to changing business conditions.

For example, the Balata Women’s Association received NEF support to prepare and distribute nutritionally fortified snacks through the World Food Programme’s school feeding program. When funding ended, Balata women used their experience to establish concessions in primary schools, providing nutritious snacks to children as a private business. With training from NEF, they have created jobs for women and a revenue stream to invest in social development activities that benefit all of them.

As our women partners successfully establish their small enterprises, we can expand our model to help more women. When the thyme project concludes, a new group of women will receive support to develop a variety of business initiatives.

NEF is currently launching a new cycle of support for women micro-entrepreneurs, with a goal of supporting the establishment of at least 150 women micro-enterprises by 2016. These women will receive assistance in:

  • Identifying high potential businesses through regional economic assessments;
  • Developing micro-enterprise and business management skills;
  • Accessing micro-credit for micro-enterprise start-ups; and
  • Developing an enduring support system through micro-franchising and a women’s business support network.

This exciting expansion will launch in the coming months. We look forward to sharing updates about the impact with you. 

Your support to women’s business development increases incomes and opportunities for families in the Palestinian Territories. Thank You! 

Thyme growing in the field
Thyme growing in the field
Preparing the dried herbs
Preparing the dried herbs
A variety of herbs to sell at market
A variety of herbs to sell at market
A women-owned school canteen supported by NEF
A women-owned school canteen supported by NEF



About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.

donate now:


Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

Still want to help?
Support another project run by Near East Foundation (NEF) that needs your help, such as:


Project Leader

Sarah Peterson

Program Officer
Syracuse, New York United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Empower Women Entrepreneurs in Palestine & Jordan