Woman lifts her family out of poverty in the West Bank
Starting a business with limited resources in East Jerusalem, West Bank, is a challenge — especially for women.
For Inayat Nageeb, a housewife and a mother of three sons and two daughters, life has not been easy. Her husband works as a guard at a mosque, with a monthly income of approximately US $800. The average income for a family of their size to live decently in East Jerusalem is $2,000. Both Inayat and her husband invested all their resources in sending their five children to school.
Yet Inayat has made it. Today, she is a professional businesswoman earning a decent income by running her own lingerie boutique.
- A total of 2,000 very small and micro enterprises have received financing to expand their enterprises.
- The total value of loans issued by the programme to MFIs is US $6.35 million.
- The success rate for enterprises operating and providing households with sufficient income is 88 percent.
- 29.5 percent of women and 18.8 percent of men are unemployed in the occupied Palestinian territory.
- DEEP provided technical assistance to MFIs by opening new branches in the occupied Palestinian territory’s rural areas, thereby expanding community outreach.
Inayat and her family are benefiting from a $15,000 microfinance scheme provided by UNDP’s Deprived Families Economic Empowerment Program (DEEP), a scheme designed to lift families out of poverty rather than simply alleviate its effects.
“I have been married for 26 years and was always a housewife. Now it is time for me to live,” said Inayat. “Palestinian women are like olive trees, deeply rooted in land. I opened this business because I want to stay in Jerusalem.”
With the new business, she can fulfill her dream to continue her education, secure her children’s future school fees and provide a better life for her family.
In two months, Inayat doubled her family’s income.
Being a farsighted entrepreneur, Inayat adopted a marketing strategy by creating networks with related businesses such as hairdressers, tailors and bridal shops, and reinvested part of her revenue in developing the business.
With sales constantly increasing, Inayat’s business has expanded, and family members are also benefiting from the project. Two of her children, a daughter and a son, have successfully completed their higher education and are pursuing professional careers.
“The project gave me enough money to get on my feet; it is time for me now to make it a success,” Inayat said with a contended look on her face.
Inayat’s family is one of 1,500 families in Jerusalem and 8,500 families in the West Bank that received financial and technical support based on needs assessments and feasibility studies of the market.
DEEP’s strategy is to help people decide on the best means to address their own needs, come up with their own solutions and feel ownership of their new small business or other income-generating initiatives.
Its participatory approach makes sure that projects are tailor-made for specific communities. The programme’s goal is to overcome the long-term problem of dependency produced by the political crisis in the occupied Palestinian territory.
DEEP is a $121 million poverty-reduction programme funded through the Islamic Development Bank and implemented across the West Bank and Gaza by UNDP.
To date, the programme has created 12,000 permanent employment opportunities through grants for microenterprises and has helped more than 66,000 families graduate from poverty to economic self-reliance. The success of the programme encouraged other donors, including the governments of Japan, Sweden and New Zealand, to partner with UNDP in reducing poverty in the occupied Palestinian territory.