Sharjah: The UAE-based non-profit Nama Women Advancement Establishment (Nama) has set in motion plans to improve the lives of more than 25,000 women living in poverty.
Nama and UN Women signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in New York recently to consolidate their efforts in implementing the UN Women flagship programme ‘Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs’ in South Africa, the UAE and the region, with support from UN Women headquarters.
To be implemented in a period of three years, the programme will target approximately 25,000 women, especially those living in poverty and facing heightened social discrimination, and seek to stimulate demand for women entrepreneurs’ products and services by promoting gender-responsive public and private procurement. They will also promote access to entrepreneurial skills and finance opportunities for talented women so that they can benefit from global value chains.
In the UAE, once the implementation team is on board, a needs assessment will be conducted to determine the sectors and the target groups. By leveraging virtual learning, it is expected that 10,000 women entrepreneurs will benefit from this programme in the region.
A key component of the partnership is the organisation of the Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS) that will be held in the UAE in 2019. The first Global Summit co-organised by Nama and UN Women was held in Sharjah in December 2017.
The Nama-UN Women partnership in South Africa will focus on investing in building the capacity of thousands of women-owned businesses to take on increasingly larger procurement contracts, particularly in non-traditional sectors.
Among the attendees at the MoU signing ceremony, which was held at UN Women headquarters in New York, were Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women; Reem Bin Karam, Director of Nama; Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations; and other high-level international stakeholders working towards realising their shared goal of ensuring that female entrepreneurs have equal opportunities.
Welcoming the new partnership between the two entities, Bin Karam said: “The partnership with UN Women will make it possible to reach a broad spectrum of women entrepreneurs and procurement entities in the Middle East and South Africa to support women’s enhanced and equal participation in global value chains.”
Highlighting the significance of the continued partnership with Nama to further their shared goal of changing discriminatory social norms and stereotypes that enable discrimination against women, Mlambo-Ngcuka remarked: “UN Women looks forward to working with Nama for a world where women’s entrepreneurship can be an engine for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. By facilitating an enabling environment and access to markets, finance and critical skills for women entrepreneurs, the programme will make a significant contribution to women’s economic empowerment.”
At the signing, Ambassador Nusseibeh noted: “Today, we are here to celebrate a new partnership between UN Women and the Nama Women Advancement Establishment, an organisation committed to advancing the status of women in the UAE.
“We hope that this programme will serve to foster women’s economic empowerment by providing women entrepreneurs with access to markets, finance, and skills.”
Key outputs of the programme will include enhanced knowledge, skills and capacity of organisations to leverage their buying power to support economic empowerment, in addition to online and offline training for women to start high-growth businesses that can meet buyers’ demands. The programme will also focus on creating a community of practice in the finance industry to encourage investment in women’s enterprises and gender equality, more broadly.