Between November 11th and 16th, 50 Palestinian Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) were awarded a grant in the framework of WE CHANGE - Participatory gender pathway and promotion of women’s economic empowerment in Palestine project, funded by the Italian Agency for Development cooperation as part of the AMAL- Human rights and gender equality programme, and implemented by WeWorld Onlus, Overseas Onlus, the Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development – REFORM and Business Women's Forum-Palestine (BWF).

The three-year project implemented in the West Bank and Gaza Strip promotes gender equality, the economic empowerment of women and job opportunities in the labour market in Palestine. The project adopts different participatory and inclusive approaches such as the Social Transformation methodology and the Adaptive Leadership Approach on one side, which focus on stimulating opinions’ exchange and peer-to-peer debates; and the Positive Deviance Approach on the other side, to challenge gender stereotypes and traditional roles within the society as a way of contributing to the promotion of women’s rights and empowerment. Within this framework, the project foresees a series of conferences, the realization of policy papers on Women’s Economic Empowerment and monitoring of policies implementation as well as training sessions and financing for SMEs. In addition to that, six cultural events will be organized to promote and disseminate the artistic production on gender-related topics and issues to stimulate debate and reflection within the Palestinian society.

150 women were directly involved in capacity buildings sessions during the project providing a solid background to the women entrepreneurs and improving their entrepreneurial projects through the enhancement of personal capacities such as leadership, business management, marketing, digital marketing, gender equality and positive deviance. 

Following the sessions, 50 women leading Palestinian SMEs in both the traditional and art sector were awarded grants in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, this funding will be accompanied by coaching activities in order to provide support during the projects implementation and technical reinforcement on their businesses development and sustainability.

Fedaa Awad, the owner of the Zoaq Delights Project, is one of the beneficiaries who are receiving a grant to improve her business.

Awad, a mother of three daughters, decided to go on with her small business to another level while participating in the project.

It was a hard time while everyone was in lockdown for COVID-19, but we had the chance to participate in online sessions that helped me and other women participants to better improve our businesses,” Awad said.

According to the planned activities, each one of the 50 beneficiaries will be receiving close coaching from experts to improve their businesses and marketing plans.

I am looking forward to using the grant to improve my delights production, I will purchase new equipment, and I hope with the support of the coach, marketing will be improved too” Awad added.