- Project: Women and Youth Entrepreneurs Leading Change, West Bank and Gaza
- Goal: Supporting low-income women and female and male youth entrepreneurs and employees in increasing their economic power and prosperity. (Enhance the economic empowerment and increase the prosperity of low-income women and/or female and male youth as entrepreneurs and employees)
- Target groups: Low-income women and female and male youth
- Where: Central (Nablus, Ramallah) and south (Hebron) West Bank and Gaza Strip
- Duration: March 2018 to May 2022
As you may already know, the West Bank and Gaza continues to be affected by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in 2019. Palestinians living in either territory (West Bank or Gaza Strip) face many challenges as a result: high unemployment, economic stagnation, inequalities between women and men and high rates of poverty. In particular, women and youth entrepreneurs face barriers that prevent them from increasing their participation and power in the Palestinian economy and lifting themselves and their families out of poverty. Such barriers include poor application of government regulations and policies, poor socio-economic conditions, high discrimination based on gender and age within enterprises and economic sectors, low levels of access to specialized education (business management and entrepreneurial skills) and few financial support opportunities that are accessible to women and youth.
Despite the rise in women’s participation in the labor force over the past ten years, the rate is still low. Women’s participation is mainly concentrated in the informal sector of the economy. Severe and moderate food insecurity are higher among households led by women. Households’ ability to face and recuperate quickly from shocks (also called resilience) is decreased as a result of high unemployment rate among women, women’s limited access to resources and the tendency for women’s traditional economic activities to be affected by protection issues.
Youth also face significant barriers linked with deeply embedded cultural norms. In addition, current education programs do not equip them with the technical skills and self-confidence required to produce high quality products and develop viable businesses. Financial institutions also require them to own high-value assets as collateral to access the credit needed for them to start and grow businesses. These challenges are amplified for female youth, who also face heightened mobility restrictions due to social norms that limit their participation in the public sphere.
What CARE is Doing
In close partnership with four local civil society organizations, the OBADER project, funded by the Government of Canada:
- addresses the social norms and perceptions currently influencing how and to which extent women and youth are equally able to undertake entrepreneurship through gender equality and women’s rights awareness sessions with women, youth, community and family members, actors providing support and/or services to entrepreneurs and other business dealers of the Palestinian economy.
- supports low-income women (30 years old and above) and youth (up to 29 years old) to successfully establish and grow sustainable businesses by facilitating the development of personal and business skills.
- collaborates with the Palestinian Authority in developing action plans for the newly developed Female Entrepreneurship Framework in the different zones where the project is being implemented.
OBADER intends to:
- Reach a total of 4,586 individuals directly: 1,210 women entrepreneurs and 1,396 youth entrepreneurs (40% female youth and 60% male youth).
- Engage 450 community members (55% men/45% women) within 15 communities in gender equality awareness sessions, and support 12 student-led initiatives to challenge gender stereotypes, that are expected to reach 9,600 individuals (50% men, 50% women).
- Benefit approximately 322,412 individuals (50% men, 50% women, 30% youth) who are household and community members or employees of women and youth entrepreneurs.