TUNIS, January 21, 2015—The Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability (WES), with generous funding from the United States Government, announces the launch of five new Centers for Women’s Business Development in Beja, Bizerte, El Kef, Touzeur and Tataouine. With the expansion of the program to five new regions, the program now supports women entrepreneurs through 13 Centers across 11 regions of Tunisia.
The Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability program provides training, curricula and financial support to the partner organizations, enabling them to create new Centers for Women’s Business Development using a social enterprise model. By charging nominal fees for training and services, partner organizations recover some of their operating costs and increase their own sustainability and reach, while supporting women entrepreneurs in their communities.
“What is really important about the Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability program,” explains Afef Zaddem, WES Center Director at the National Union of Tunisian Women, Kairouan, “is that it builds our capacities. It is transforming our NGOs from volunteer-based to professional organizations.”
WES Centers provide aspiring, emerging and established women entrepreneurs affordable business development training and coaching. The Centers also facilitate access to experts, mentors and financial services that support women entrepreneurs to launch and grow businesses. They offer training and business support services at different levels – basic, intermediate and advanced – to best meet the needs of women with various educational backgrounds.
“At such a critical time in Tunisian history, we want our present and future to be shaped by men and women who create wealth and jobs. WES encourages women from all backgrounds to dream, and to reach for their dreams. By creating economic opportunities for women, we are also helping to build the foundation for a stable and prosperous society” says Chema Gargouri, WES Country Director.“The WES program encourages innovation and entrepreneurialism at both the individual and organizational level. By supporting local partner organizations to operate Centers as social enterprises, the aim is for the Centers to continue supporting women entrepreneurs long after the program ends,” adds Julia Hendrickson, Program Director, Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability, Institute of International Education.
The Women’s Enterprise for Sustainability program in Tunisia is funded by the U.S. Government through the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative. The initiative was designed by the Institute of International Education’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives in San Francisco. It is managed by a team in Tunis and San Francisco, implemented in collaboration with 13 local civil society organizations.
WES Tunisian Partner Organizations
Continuing WES Partners
- Association for the Development of the South of Gafsa (ADGS Gafsa)
- Kairouanians for the Culture of Citizenship (KPCC Kairouan)
- National Union of Tunisian Women (UNFT Kairouan)
- Association of Continuity of Generations (ACG Sfax)
- Optima Syphax (Sfax)
- The NOOR Association for Human Development (ANDH Sousse)
- Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS Tunis)
- Association of Sustainable Development and International Cooperation in Zarzis (ADDCI Zarzis)
New WES Partners
- Association Horizons Kef pour le Développement Intégral (AHKDI Kef)
- Jeunesse et du Développement (J&D Béja)
- La Ruche de La Citoyenneté Active à Tozeur (La Ruche Tozeur)
- NOOR Tataouine (NOOR Tataouine)
- Youth & Skills (Y&S Bizerte)
About the Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative
The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) is a unique program designed to engage directly with and invest in the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). MEPI works to create vibrant partnerships with citizens to foster the development of pluralistic, participatory, and prosperous societies throughout the MENA region. To do this, MEPI partners with local, regional and international nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, academic institutions, and governments.
About the Institute of International Education’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives
The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements educational and leadership training programs in 175 countries, impacting over 25,000 people annually. IIE’s San Francisco office houses the Institute’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, which provides opportunities for women worldwide to participate in cutting-edge professional development trainings and pursue higher education. Through the Center’s programs, women develop and join networks of peers and mentors and serve as innovative leaders in the public and private sectors around the world.
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