Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine—Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund

Client: U.K. Department for International Development, Islamic Development Bank

Duration: 2015-2020

Region: Middle East and North Africa

Country: Egypt, Jordan, Palestine

Solutions: Economic Growth

Funded by the U.K. Department for International Development and the Islamic Development Bank and working in Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine, Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF) is the first project of its kind. AWEF will stimulate increased women’s economic empowerment and agency through a market systems approach. This partnership will address gaps in women’s economic empowerment in the region, which has one of the lowest rates of female labour force participation in the world. Among other results, AWEF aims to improve gender awareness and sensitivity across target companies’ human resources policies, increase employment and retention of women in the labour force, and raise awareness and uptake of standards and certification of products made by women working at home.

AWEF is the only market systems-based development programme in the region that also puts women’s economic empowerment at the core of its objectives and impacts. DAI is joined by subcontractors Market Share Associates, a global social enterprise focused on collaborative approaches to international development, and Education for Employment, a nongovernmental organization working throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Sample Activities

  • Support businesses to increase focus on women’s working conditions in Egypt’s food retail, citrus, and ready-made garment sectors, and on gender-sensitive recruitment, human resource management, and training policies. 

  • Assist women home-based producers in Jordan’s dairy sector to raise awareness of the value of testing and certification of products to increase their competitiveness and value.

  • Work with government standards institutes, the private sector, and women producers of food products such as maftoul, cheese, and yoghurt to streamline certification processes and services and better enable women to move up the value chain.

  • Support introduction of fee-based, female para-veterinary services to make basic animal health care services more available locally, particularly to home-based production run by women.

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