OPT/Gaza - For two consecutive years, the Women’s Leadership Incubator Project has made a remarkable change in the lives of women and girls across the Gaza Strip’s marginalized areas.
As part of local institutions operating in Gaza’s rural areas, women and girls have benefited from different courses and initiatives led by WLI team. The project was implemented by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, funded by the Swedish Kvinna till Kvinna, or Woman to Woman, Foundation, and was supported by Rahma Austria.
The project has so far helped these female participants develop various skills and gain many experiences in their respective fields. With their training concluded, and opportunities opened for them, these women and girls have become success stories and examples to be followed by peers in their communities
Under the umbrella of this project, many girls have been able to start their own initiatives and projects as well as to seek new work opportunities.
Asma Qandil, 25, a 2016 graduate of English from Al-Aqsa University, participated in the “How to Use Online Platforms” initiative implemented by the Association of University Graduates in the Gaza Strip, funded by Euro-Med Monitor’s Women's Leadership Incubator Project.
Qandil told her success story and how the WLI project contributed to changing her life career, providing her with a job opportunity and a good source of income for herself and her family.
“After graduating from the university, I worked in several places, but I could not continue due to the difficult circumstances, such as the long working hours coupled with the inadequate salary, as well as the extra effort and the endless requirements. So, I used to work for 3 to 6 months only” said Qandil.
She explained that after that, she decided to go for freelancing, where she started her way from scratch, did not have any experience in this field. After that, she communicated with several organizations interested in freelancing to take training and improve her online skills.
“I saw an ad posted on the Alumni Association - Gaza website asking women to join a training course on freelance online platforms,” she said. “In this training program, I took part, together with some 30 graduate students from the English and IT departments - in the initiative and began this experience, which has since become a source for professional and economic support,” added Qandil.
After joining the online freelancing training, funded by the Women's Leadership Incubator Project at the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, Qandil learned about the principles of self-employment, how to join freelancing platforms, how to market what she could offer for clients, obtain projects, and deal with them after getting work as well as after completion.
Self-employment training has served as a major turning point in the lives of trainees; many of them got jobs and started various projects with many customers.
“I got 3 different translation jobs during the training period and got a high customer rating, which increased my chances of getting other projects,” Qandil said. After completing the training, she also managed to get 30 projects; she was able to secure a comfortable source of income, exchanged experiences, and forged many working relationships with foreign translators.
At the end of her intervention during the final session of the project, Qandil advised all graduates to pay attention to self-employment and to constantly develop their skills, especially in light of the difficult economic conditions and the scarcity of job opportunities in the Gaza Strip.
In January 2017, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor launched the second round of the Women's Leadership Incubator project to help empower Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip, promote gender equality, and encourage the integration of women into the community leadership structures by training local and NGO staff. This was done by including women as team leaders working to improve their living and work conditions in local institutions and communities.