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Gateway to self-employment

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Additional Info

Program Type Development program in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and Jordan
Project Location The program was implemented in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon and in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
Target Group The beneficiaries of the project were Palestinian refugee women in Jordan and Lebanon, but also women in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, who lived under extreme poverty. Their common characteristic was that they engaged in traditional occupations (embroidery, handicrafts, ceramics, weaving, food processing etc). The program supported the structures (cooperatives), which cooperated with these women, improving their infrastructure according to their needs, so that they are in a better position to provide qualitative services.
Duration 18 months (2004-2006)
Partners The Culture and Free Thought Association (Gaza Strip), Cooperation for Development / Asira Women Association (West Bank), Najdeh Association/ Al Badia (Lebanon) and Al Masmya Association / Al Baqa'a Camp (Jordan)
Budget - Funding The total budget came up to the amount of 416.667 EURO, with a 75% (312.500 Euro) co-financing received from the International Development Cooperation Department-Hellenic Aid of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The remaining 25 % (104.167 Euro) constituted our organization's own contribution towards the project.
Program state Finished program

Gateway to self-employment, Palestinian Women Cooperatives' empowerment in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan

The program aimed at securing the long-term viability of the cooperatives of Palestinian Refugee women, but also women who dwell in rural areas and engage in the creation of ceramics, embroidery, weaving, food processing and other traditional occupations.


By adopting a holistic approach, the infrastructure of the cooperatives was upgraded and both the women working in the cooperatives, but also the ones cooperating with them became recipients of training seminars, but also methodologies for the improvement of their marketing, management and promotion processes.

The program had the following objectives:

  • Increase of the incomes of the women, so that their harsh living conditions and their poverty is effectively combated.
  • Improvement of the overall standing of women in local societies, so that they can undertake entrepreneurial initiatives and become self-employed, improving their living standards.
  • Improvement of the internal processes of the cooperatives (management, marketing, networking and promotion of the products), so that these are improved both on the qualitative and quantitative level.

In order to be able to realize the aforementioned objectives, KESSA DIMITRA implemented the following respective activities:

  • Elaboration of studies of needs for 2 out of 4 cooperatives.
  • Elaboration of business plans and continuous provision of consultancy to the cooperatives.
  • Purchase of additional equipment.
  • Training of the cooperatives' personnel and the women who cooperate with the cooperatives (processing olive oil for the women of Asira, creation of decorative mosaics for the women of Culture and Free Thought Association and Al Masmya and new embroidery techniques for the Women of Al Badia).
  • Creation of promotional materials for the 4 Cooperatives, both in English and Greek.
  • Launching of the project's Internet Mall, which presents in detail the Cooperatives' products and allows the visitors buy online and directly from the Cooperatives.
  • Participation in the exhibition ROTA, Traditional Art-Handicrafts, which took place in Athens in January 2006, in order to promote the products of the cooperatives and also expand their buying market.
  • Participation in the River Peneus Festival, which was organized by the Municipality of Larissa from the 11th until the 17th of June 2006, so as to present the products to the people of Larissa.
  • Participation in a Cultural Products exhibition, which took place on the island of Rhodes from the 28th until the 31st of July 2006.