Barriers to women's economic empowerment targeted
With around 100 m2 per inhabitant, land is scarce in Gaza. Whatsmore, water availability and quality keeps reducing, due to the increasing demand both for human consumption and for agriculture that increases salt intrusion.
The blocade causes a shortage of agricultural inputs, which is reflected on their high cost. Energy is another constraint, hindering the cool chain as well as the storage and the processing of products. Small scale producers struggle to add value to their production, and the difficulty in storing products distorts the market and hinders the access to food for the local population.
In Gaza, women are key actors in agricultural production, and especially in the processing of agricultural products. Nonetheless, they suffer from unequal access to training, technology, infrastructure, job opportunity, financial resources. Cultural practices limit women’s participation to training, affect their relationships with mostly male trainers and extension workers and translate into limited control over resources such as land, time, or income. Furthermore, there are concerns over women's safety at work.
The programme addresses these constraints using a M4P (Market for Poor) approach:
- Improvement of the markets of services supplied to urban agriculture processing enterprises;
- Improvement of training and extension service delivery in selected urban agriculture sectors;
- Improvement of the local urban agriculture market system through changes to the policy and governance frameworks.
Evidence of impact on WEE
More than 160 women, mostly engaged in the date value chain, have beneficiated from the programme, both in date production and processing. Programme interventions include training, support to businness planning and marketing (engaging buyers in the West Bank, as a consequence of the blockade), storage and processing facilities (i.e. solar powered cold storage) and facilitated access to credit.
Oxfam has contributed to the launch of “Balah Palestine”, the first women shareholder company for palm date products in Gaza, owned jointly by Al Ahliya, a local enterprise, and by 41 women processors. The women, previously employed in low-paid seasonal work, are now business women and own 65% of the company.
The programme established a policy platform on Urban Agriculture, the Gaza Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture Platform (GUPAP), through which the policy objectives of the project can be reached. It is a multi-stakeholder, interactive and participatory forum that brings together all key actors involved in the development of a resilient Palestinian agricultural sector in the Gaza Strip, facilitating the coordination, networking and organization of market actors and of policy and institutional actors. GUPAP facilitated a series of workshops with women rights activists and civil society actors to analyze the gaps in the Palestinian labor law. As a result, the Women’s Affairs Center (WAC) has launched a lobby and advocacy campaign to enhance economic rights for women laborers working in the agriculture sector.
OPTI - Gaza strip
DonorSwiss Dvelopment and Coperation Agency (SDC)
PartnersResources Centre on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF)
- Market for the poor approach
- Participatory Technology Development (PTD)
- Low external input and sustainable agriculture (LEISA)
- Policy Dialogue Facilitation
3600 direct beneficiaries between small scale producers and processors