The Rural Women’s Association of Al Aqaba is making good progress in their development of a business plan for the Rural Women’s Restaurant, yet to be built. Last month, I visited Al Aqaba village and joined the Rural Women’s Center’s board in a meeting with youth from the entrepreneurs club of Al Aqaba. We discussed how to implement a survey of potential customers, created by the Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII) team to determine how many people would come to the future Rural Women’s Restaurant. The MEII Technical Assistance Program team has come to Al Aqaba to hold discussions with Al Aqaba Rural Women Association, Al Aqaba village council and Rebuilding Alliance. Rebuilding Alliance had introduced the MEII Technical Assistance Program to the Al Aqaba Rural Womens Association to help plan their income-generating enterprises, specifically their restaurant, guest house, and wedding hall. They start with a restaurant that would serve different groups: (1) the community of Al Aqaba village and surrounding area, (2) students at the kindergarten and elementary school, and maybe also schools nearby, (3) governmental and non-governmental visitors attending workshops and meetings in Al Aqaba (there is a vibrant conference center) and (4) internationals delegations and visitors. The survey targeted three areas; Al Aqaba village, Tayaseer village and Tubas town. We were delighted to have the help of the youth of Al Aqaba in this task. 12 volunteers attended the meeting; 4 from each area. Based on the population of each area, they completed 120 surveys for Tubas area, 50 for Tayaseer and 50 for Al Aqaba. Ibn Rush’d Librarian Kefah Taleb (who is also the coordinator for the Ibn Rush’d Youth Entrepreneurship program) helped in planning and tabulated their results.
"There's a lot of local enthusiasm about building a Rural Women's Restaurant in Al Aqaba," said Librarian and Entrepreneurship coordinated Kifah as the survey results came in. I translated the survey results so you can take a look (click on it below). The MEII TAP team recently completed their financial analysis and shared their suggestions and perspective with Al Aqaba Rural Women Association. They thought the Rural Women's Restaurant is just viable -- we still have a lot of questions and are meeting with the Rural Women's Association and the TAP team in ten day's time to move the business plan forward. We look forward to raising funds for construction of the restaurant!
Thank you for your faith in us and in this project.
P.S. On Wednesday, March 18th you can stretch your donation the Rural Women's Restaurant in Area C! It's a Global Giving match day and all donations up to $1,000 will be matched by 30% starting at 9 a.m. EST. Please set your alarm!
Dear Friend of the Rural Women's Center,
The Rural Women’s Association (RWA) in Al Aqaba dreamt of building a community center to generate jobs. Imagine 300 women dancing in the wedding hall, with the RWA preparing the banquet! In August, Australian Designer Hana Hakim, Palestinian architect Renad Shequerat, and the RWA worked with us to finalize plans for the Rural Women’s Center — and our designs touched your heart. Together we won GlobalGiving’s Regional Bonus Day!
Your support on the Bonus Day led to a big surprise. That win resulted in an offer by the Catholic Church to lease the Rural Women’s Association a vacant 15th century convent in nearby Tayasir, and RIWAQ Center for Architectural Conservation offered an 80% matching grant for restoration! The Rural Women’s Association is interested and the designers and architect are delighted. Next step: a site visit by the RWA and RIWAQ with the Office of the Latin Patriarchate to explore restoration, discuss terms, and decide how to protect the 3rd Century mosaics there.
Generous donor, what do you think? The new proposal is to transform an abandoned 15th Century century convent into a thriving community center run by the remarkable Al Aqaba Rural Women's Association, the group that has been our partner for nearly 10 years now. It is still very much a green building, but now instead of $200K in project costs, we'll see a significant reduction in costs as well as matching grants and good alliances. Does this work for you?
I look forward to your reply. Feel free to give me a call at (650) 440-9667 if you have any questions or suggestions.
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