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, Sudan, Senegal, Jordan, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Palestinian Territories and Egypt-where we work to directly improve the lives of tens of thousands of vulnerable people through programs in peacebuilding, civic engagement, 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 o...
Jul 10, 2014

Farmers Improve Livelihoods and Invest in Communit

The Acacia Senegal tree grows in Sudan’s North Kordofan State and produces a resin known as gum arabic--a major ingredient in paint, glue, cosmetics, and many other products used everyday all over the world. Sudan is one of the world’s biggest producers of gum arabic with 20% percent of Sudan’s population making their living from its cultivation.

With the generous support from donors like you, the Near East Foundation’s (NEF) project in Sudan’s North Kordofan State has had considerable impact on gum arabic production and has helped farmers better provide for their families and invest in their communities. 

NEF has helped gum arabic cultivators empower themselves by providing them with access to micro-credit, business training, Acacia seeds and seedlings, as well as training workshops on how to maximize gum yields while preserving local Acacia woodlands.

With the gum arabic farming communities on stronger footing, this month marks the end of our campaign on Global Giving.  Our work in Sudan and with gum arabic farmers continues – and we hope that you will continue to follow our activities and the impact of our projects through our websiteFacebook page, or Twitter feed

We thank you for your unstinting support for vulnerable farming families in Sudan’s North Kordofan State, and leave you with a few highlights of the impact of your donation. These are just a few of the many successes of the project:

  • Sudanese farmers who participated in trainings increased their average income from 200 SDG to 900 SDG per month – that is nearly $120 USD per month!
  • Farmers in Sudan received 5,000 Acacia Senegal tree seedlings from the Near East Foundation (NEF) with an aim to safeguard the future of an important source of income
  • NEF facilitated the distribution of seeds to 225 farmers in North Kordofan.  Each farmer received 1 pound of seeds—enough to cultivate 9 acres of land; NEF provided 150 tree seeds to each farmer in the project
  • NEF conducted training workshops for over 425 members of Gum Arabic Producer Associations in Sudan at which 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
  • NEF held meetings to explain to communities the importance of protecting Acacia trees, and also worked with Sudan's National Forest Corporation to set new rules and procedures for protecting the trees
  • Farmers received a full range of technical support, including how to determine the best locations to plant, instruction in more efficient harvesting techniques, and guidance in improved storage of the gum arabic (to maintain high quality until it reaches the market) 

Those who have benefited perhaps best express the impact of your donation:

“With the support of the Near East Foundation, I have learned new ways to increase my income and improve my family’s well-being through gum arabic, agriculture, and micro-credit projects,” said Mahdi, a gum arabic farmer from Sudan’s North Kordofan State. “We have also learned the value of gum arabic trees and the importance of protecting this resource.” 

THANK YOU!!!  Your generous support has allowed NEF to work with communities in Sudan to build sustainable solutions that will benefit community members for years to come.  We hope that you will continue to follow NEF’s work! For more on Global Giving, consider NEF's work in rural Armenia. 

Links:

Jul 9, 2014

Market Gardens Change Lives in Rural Mali

Over 70 tons of food harvested from market gardens
Over 70 tons of food harvested from market gardens

For villagers in the Douentza region of northern Mali – who have suffered drought, political turmoil, and occupation by rebels and extremists — market gardens have not only helped them to survive, but have improved livelihoods and strengthened the resilience of communities.

With your support, over the last two years farmers have produced an incredible 70 tons of food in market gardens with an estimated value of 17,700,000CFA – that is an estimated $37,000!  The project has directly benefited 400 farmers, and indirectly benefited thousands in the communities surrounding the eight market gardens.

With communities on stronger footing, this month marks the end of our campaign on Global Giving.  Our work in Mali continues – and we hope that you will continue to follow our activities and the impact of our projects through our website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed

We thank you for your generous support for vulnerable families in northern Mali, and leave you with highlights of the impact of your donation:

  • In 2014, farmers harvested 42.6 tons of food with an estimated value of 10,650,000 CFA—nearly $22,000.
  • 1775kg of seeds distributed to targeted market gardens.
  • Market garden in the eight villages of Bagui, Korientzé, N’Gorodia, (rural commune of Korombana) Dari, Deri (rural commune of N’Diaptodji), Mounouwel, Kikara (rural commune of Gandamia), and Gafity (rural commune of Débéré) produce shallot, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, carrot, lettuce and gumbo from market gardens.  
  • Farmers – men and women—trained in improved techniques and the use of new tools.
  • Communities supported in developing the management skills to maintain market gardens.

The impact of your donation is perhaps best expressed by those who have benefited:

“We have received much support in planning, organization, financial management, and gardening techniques,” Dico (a farmer in N’Gorodia market garden in the Rural Commune of Korombana) said.  “This has been so important for our community, and particularly our women. The benefits are immeasurable.”  

The market gardens have done more than just ensure food security in the eight-targeted communities – they have improved livelihoods and lives. 

“Before market gardening was introduced in our community, nearly all of our girls had to go to towns (Mopti, Bamako, etc.) after the rainy season to serve as housekeepers – with all the risks of disease, crime, and accidents that accompanied this travel,” Aissata, a farmer in the Garity market garden in the Rural Commune of Debere, said.  “With revenues from market gardens, this is no longer necessary. The gardens provide enough revenue for women to set up their marriage trousseau.”

THANK YOU!!!  Your generous support has allowed NEF to work with communities in Mali to build sustainable solutions that will benefit community members for years to come.  We hope that you will continue to follow NEF’s work! For more on Global Giving, consider NEF's work in rural Armenia.

Eight communities benefited from production.
Eight communities benefited from production.
Shallot harvested in market gardens.
Shallot harvested in market gardens.

Links:

May 13, 2014

50 Women Start New Businesses in the West Bank

Khadija
Khadija's clothing shop.
Khadija's clothing shop is one of only two in her village in the West Bank. The addition of alteration services -- with a startup grant from the Near East Foundation -- has given her a competetive advantage in the market.

With support from the Near East Foundation (NEF), made possible in part by your generous support, women like Khadija have started 50 new businesses in the West Bank – creating 103 new jobs

NEF provides women with training in microenterprise development, supports them in the development of professional business plans, and helps the participating women to secure funding for their new projects.  Women have created exciting and unique new businesses – clothes shops, organic food stores, mushroom agribusinesses, and beekeeping operations among others.  These businesses are helping the women and their families achieve financial independence.

Khadija, a single mother, has expanded her clothes shop to include sewing machines so that she can make alterations for her customers.

Her village of Haris, in the West Bank, only had one clothing store.  Whe she overheard people in her community talk about the need for variety, Khadija responded by raising the capital for a new clothing business with her brother. But she soon saw an opportunity to expand. 

“I noticed most of the women who come to buy from my shop also need their clothes altered,” she said. “I realized that a sewing machine would give me a competitive advantage in the market.”

Khadija participated in NEF’s program – creating a business plan to grow her business and successfully securing a start-up grant for expansion.

“Having your own business is not only about money,” she says. “It is also about achieving your social, psychological, and financial independence. My business makes me feel that I’m an active and useful person in this community.”

THANK YOU for your ongoing support and for helping women like Khadija to star new businesses that help their families achieve financial independence and benefit their community.

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