Women’s economic empowerment in practice: the RUWOMED project at the European Week of Regions and Cities

Ms. Needa Salama, a Palestinian beekeeper, will tell the audience of the European Week of Regions and Cities how the support received through the RUWOMED project has enabled her to improve the standard of living of her family.

In a deteriorated socioeconomic environment, more and more women in Palestine are entering the labour force in order to achieve decent livehood for their family. However, women face limited employment opportunities in rural areas and specific challenges "in relation to the access, control over and ownership of assets, including finance" (source: UN Women for Palestine). In addition, the "perception of women’s income as supportive or secondary" is an additional the inclusion of women in the economic life.

RUWOMED, a project funded by the ENPI CBC Med Programme, has worked over the past years on the issue of the economic empowerment of women from Palestine, and Palestinian women living in refugee camps in Lebanon: this cross-border cooperation initiative has supported hundreds of women in the development of small businesses in the agri-food sector so they can work and contribute to the income of their family.

Ms. Needa Salama, one the project beneficiaries, will tell her story during a workshop to take place in Brussels on 11th of October in the framework of the European Week of Regions and Cities. The event is organized by European Commission’s DG NEAR and TESIM (a technical assistance project funded by the European Commission to help the implementation and management of the ENI CBC programmes for the period 2014-2020).

A mother of 5, Ms. Salama will travel all the way from her small Palestinian village of Kufur Malik to explain how her life has changed thanks to her involvement in RUWOMED. Before the project, she was a housewife spending most of her time taking care of home duties. Now, together with a group of 5 women from her village, she is running a small beekeeping business.

Thanks to the project, she was provided with tools, equipment and hives needed to start honey production. Ms. Salama also took part in training sessions to learn about agriculture techniques, business management, accountability, marketing, and travelled to Madrid to showcase her organic honey during a fair trade exhibition.

Eventually, Salama and the other women of the Muntaha group are now able to produce 150 kg of honey each year whilst they did not know anything about bees before the RUWOMED project: the honey is sold locally through family networks and Salama intends to reach soon bigger cities like Ramallah or markets outside Palestine. Ms. Salama says she is happy because she can reap the results of her hard work. Bust most of all, she has high hopes for the future with plans to develop other products derived from honey like royal jelly, creams, soaps, cosmetics.

Her touching and inspiring story will be told during a workshop entitled "Building Bridges at the EU’s external borders: growing together to find common solutions to common challenges through the ENI CBC" which will look at the results of cross-border cooperation projects in the fields of social inclusion and entrepreneurship.

See the programme of the workshop here (page 10).
22.10.2016 - See Needa Salama's presentation

About the European Week of Regions and Cities
The European Week of Regions and Cities is the annual key event for regional and local authorities. Organized by the EU Committee of the Regions and the European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO), this communication and networking platform regularly brings together regions and cities from all over Europe and beyond, providing to thousands of local, regional, national and European decision-makers, experts, academia and business representatives a real market place for exchange and debate on projects and questions related to regional and local development.

It welcomes some 6.000 participants in October each year (local, regional, national and European decision-makers and experts) for more than 100 workshops and debates, exhibitions and networking opportunities.

Visit the website of the European Week of Regions and Cities

RUWOMED is funded by the EU for an amount of € 1.7 million. The project is managed by the Spanhi NGO Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz and locally implemented in Palestine by PARC (Agricultural Development Association) For more information, please visit the following website: www.acpp.com/ruwomed

Kirsten Sutherland
Project manager
Asamblea de Cooperación por la Paz
Tel: 0034 954562928 / 0034 679519869
Email: orientemedio@acpp.com

Video on the RUWOMED project activities in Palestine