Economic Empowerment of Women in Rural Areas

The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Beirut, in partnership with the Committee for Women and Children at Lebanese Parliament, the Governor of Baalback Hermel, the SMART Center and the Union of Municipalities in Baalbek, launched the second workshop out of three entitled “Economic Empowerment of Women in Rural Areas”. The workshop took place on the 08.07.2019 in Baalbek in the presence of more than 130 women entrepreneurs, mayors and dignitaries from the region. The workshop, aimed to shed the light at the women entrepreneurs in the region and train them in areas related to financial management, marketing and branding. It also gave the women entrepreneurs from the region the opportunity to network with women entrepreneurs from the region of Tyros and with each other. The theoretical part of the workshop was complemented by practical exercises as well as an exhibition in which the participants presented their goods to a broad public and to each other for review.

The workshop started by an opening session moderated by the president of the syndicate of workers in audiovisual in Lebanon, Ms. Rindala Jabbour. The newly chosen president of the Union of Municipalities in Baalbek, Dr. Hamad Hassan, congratulated the organizers on this pioneering and distinctive project which is one of the main efforts to change towards a culture that promises a better future and he promised to continue the good work of his predecessor.

The executive director of SMART Center, Mrs. Randa Yassir, presented the results of a survey conducted at that time in two regions on the needs of women working in small and medium-sized businesses in the Bekaa. Thus training was provided according to needs and highlighted the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs seeking together with the experts appropriate proposals and solutions. The project will end up with a national study on three regions in Lebanon to be brought up to the responsible bodies, focusing on promoting women work and helping to change the reality.

In addition, the administrative director and project manager at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in the Lebanon Office, Mrs. Hana Nasser, said that women’s participation in economic and political life is part of democracy, it enhances the ability of countries to compete and it limits the emigration of young people. Mrs. Nasser emphasized on the importance of empowering women with knowledge and skills, enhancing their self-confidence, abilities, potential and creative potential. She also presented the foundation's work and role in promoting women's participation in public affairs, political life and decision-making.

The Governor of Baalbek-Hermel, Mr. Bachir Khodr, emphasized on his continuous and sustained support to the cause of women, especially the women of Baalbek and Hermel region and he hoped to use these exhibitions to establish leading commercial and industrial enterprises in the future that contribute to the support and empowerment of rural women. He furthermore insured his support to achieve further development and progress.

The president of the Committee for Women and Children at Lebanese Parliament, HE Dr. Enaya Ezzeddine, stated that the women in Bekaa are known for their determination and activity, and are always looking for more skills, abilities, capabilities and knowledge and that the Lebanese state has not given the rural areas or even areas far from the capital the necessary attention. She also said that the rural areas have fought for comprehensive development policies, which are a prerequisite for balanced development, which is the permanent demand in Lebanon.

The opening session was followed by the opening of the exhibition, where women from different villages from the Bekaa presented their products.

Subsequently, two sessions were hosted. The first session was on “Empowering and Developing Capacities in Financial Management and Finance” and was moderated by the activist, Mrs. Roula Zaayter. During the session Mrs. Abir Dirani talked about “developing financial management for small and medium-sized enterprises”, Dr. Khouloud Khatib talked about “conditions of attracting financing for small businesses and projects” and Mrs. Dounia Khouri talked about “development of rural tourism projects”. The session was followed by the presentation of success stories and a Q&A session.

The second session was on “Challenges and Solutions in Advertising and Marketing” moderated by Dr. Batoul Yahchouchi. During the session, Mrs. Ghada Al – Kari talked about “government support in marketing”. Mr. Nasri Othman talked about “developing the relationship with merchants to improve marketing” and Mrs. Terry Bitar talked about “marketing throughout the Internet”. The sessions were closed by the presentation of success stories and a Q&A session.

KAS thanks all participants and guests for their valued contributions to the panels, discussions and the exhibition.

The event will be repeated for the third time in Halba/Northern Lebanon on 15.07.2019 after the first workshop in Tyros/South Lebanon and this second one in Baalbek/Bekaa.


Hana Nasser