In 2009, Seeds of Peace launched the “Women’s Leadership Training Program for Greater Economic Participation” to create opportunities for its graduates to contribute to the economic empowerment of women in their communities.
This important pilot program, funded by ExxonMobil, put the role of women as full economic participants at the center of efforts to transform regions of historic conflict into more stable and peaceful environments. In partnership with the Center for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), fifteen Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, and Jordanian Seeds of Peace graduates, ranging in age from 18-28, were trained to work with local NGOs and lead projects to increase women’s economic participation in their home countries.
The program began in April with a six-day training in Amman, Jordan, to learn how to address policy, regulatory and gender-based challenges impacting women’s economic participation in their countries. In preparation for the development of their own projects, participants heard from the Jordanian Minister of Social Development, H.E. Hala Lattouf, and studied the basic concepts and best practices of successful women’s economic empowerment projects in areas such as advocacy, community mobilization, and project design and management. After developing detailed action plans, the group spent the next seven months applying their skills to real issues facing women in their communities.
From December 1 to 9, these 15 remarkable Seeds came back together in Washington, DC, to share their successes and challenges, continue building their skills, and meet with leading international organizations working to strengthen women’s economic participation as well as with government officials on Capitol Hill. During those meetings, the group had the opportunity to share their experiences and educate members of Congress and others about the importance of women’s leadership for economic empowerment and peace-building.
On Your Own Merit: Israeli Seeds are training a diverse group of single mothers for workforce readiness in an underprivileged neighborhood in Jerusalem.
Take Grip of Your Economic Independence!: Jordanian Seeds are conducting workforce readiness training and employment outreach for women in an underprivileged community, based on an initial needs assessment on factors affecting their economic participation.
Empowering Women through Business and Education: In conjunction with a local NGO, a Jordanian Seed is organizing and helping to conduct workforce readiness preparation, employment outreach, and small business training with potential seed funding for underprivileged women. She is also providing tutoring for women working towards a high school degree.
Two Neighbors Apparel Project: Partnering with the Center for Emerging Futures on a joint Palestinian and Israeli venture, Palestinian Seeds are conducting entrepreneurial training for women in severely underdeveloped villages in Southern Hebron.
Egyptian Women’s Advancement Community: Egyptian Seeds are conducting a needs assessment before developing a first-of-its-kind sorority in Cairo dedicated to advancing women’s economic participation by providing young women with entrepreneurial skills and tools.
Social Enterprise in the Arab World: An Egyptian Seed is examining the viability of social enterprise ventures that aim to offer employment and aid to female refugees in the Middle East.
Women’s Leadership in the Workplace: An Israeli Seed is creating a resource that provides women with information and tools to improve their economic participation and elevate them into leadership roles, distributed online and in print to and through local women’s NGOs.
Women’s Leadership and Gender Training: An Israeli Seed is training Israeli and Palestinian youth on the concepts of gender equality and women’s economic participation, with a practical application component.
Seeds of Peace is particularly grateful to ExxonMobil, which is generously underwriting the program as part of its Educating Women & Girls Initiative, and our partner, CEDPA, which is internationally recognized for improving the lives of women and girls worldwide by helping them to fulfill their leadership potential.