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 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.

Apr 11, 2014

The Difference that Encouragement and a Small Grant Can Make

Alis has opened a manicure business.
Alis has opened a manicure business.

Another survivor of domestic violence in Armenia has become a successful businesswoman thanks to your generous support.  Alis now has a thriving nail-art business. She is earning up to US$350 per month doing something she loves.

From an early age, Alis was interested in arts and crafts.  She later became fascinated with manicuring and nail art – she found it to be a useful outlet for expressing her emotions. Unfortunately, the turmoil in her life prevented her from even thinking about getting any formal technical training, let alone starting her own business.

Alis was grateful to find the help she needed from the Women’s Support Center – where women needing to escape violent relationships can access counseling and shelter services. The Near East Foundation (NEF) is partnering with the Center to help 50 of their visitors gain financial independence through either job readiness or business training and start-up support.

The NEF project was the perfect opportunity for Alis. She took part in a business training workshop and became determined to build a small business of her own. The project paid the fees for a nail care and design course so she could perfect her technical skills. Impressed with her enthusiasm and dedication, project staff then provided Alis with seed money to purchase basic equipment to get her business started.

“If it weren’t for this program, for the encouragement and the financial support I would never have taken the risk of starting a business on my own. I hope many other women have this opportunity in the future.”

Ten more women have just started the next business training course and Alis is helping these survivors to see that it is possible to start a new life.

* Due to the sensitive nature of this program, we are unable to use real names or show pictures of beneficiaries. But we are able to show off Alis’s work in the above photo.

Alis
Alis' creative nail art.
Alis
Alis' art attracts new customers.
 
   

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