Work and profit – a journey into vocational training for Palestinian women entrepreneurs

It’s a matter of priority: go out there and show your products, your traditional food, your art or profession, without thinking about being a breadwinner (which is not uncommon in the framework of the female Palestinian job market and male unemployment, particularly in Gaza). Being there and being recognized, put heart and soul in your own business – that’s the motivation for many workers, that thank to the Italian project are now able to approach their activity from a different perspective.

Immediately the trainers from the BWF identified among the participants, some with a degree and some else with lower education, big lacks about the most common tools for management: no accounting or bookkeeping, no willing to analyze market trends, few ability to present their products and evaluate the selling price in a market oriented outlook. This is a very common flaw in Palestine, due to the invisibility of the female Palestinian workers, that are often not paid and that made them thinking that a not-paid job is might be considered a job. Through classes and practical exercises, the participants acquired a new view that changed their own mind-set (not only a family breadwinner but a business woman, able to sell products in the market) and faced them with challenging situations. We are talking about women used to live home, with big difficulties to socialize and present themselves to strangers, to overcome shyness and insecurity. No one gave up too soon, they all understood the importance of those information to enhance their business.

At the end of the course, they had ten days to work on a business project, that has been analyzed by the trainers and given back to the participants for real actions. But the Italian commitment was not only a tools provision: trainers followed up with the participants after the classes, supporting the development of their business so far. This human and professional sharing allowed to overcome the education gap between the women.

New entrepreneurship and companies with a long-standing activity, coming from villages or big cities of the West Bank, had the opportunity to speak in the same language, understandable for all. Thanks to different games aimed at analyzing the relationship between quality and price, positioning products for selling, shooting the center of the target in order to focus and reach your goals, key concepts such profit or quality became accessible to all the participants, giving an existing business a new lease of life.

These women have a new awareness of the market and themselves now: they can be protagonist of Palestinian political, economical and entrepreneurial life only through the achievement of an equal and new social role.