NAMA, UNHCR to empower Afghan refugee, Pakistani women through crafts
ISLAMABAD, 18 MARCH, 2019: NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) has signed its first-ever agreement with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency to conduct a one-year project to support local and Afghan refugee women in Pakistan.
NAMA’s affiliate, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council and UNHCR will be working in partnership to provide artisanal training to skilled and semi-skilled local and Afghan refugee women in Punjab and Islamabad aimed at improving their income-generating capacity.
Some 150 Afghan refugee and Pakistani women will receive training in the craft of weaving. Using the skills, these female artisans will then be guided to produce Emirati-inspired designs. The project comes in line with Irthi Council’s key role to support women in the crafts sector and empower them socially and economically through vocational and skills training, and enabling access to market opportunities, leading to the creation of sustainable jobs and incomes.
Rizwan Beyg, an internationally-renowned fashion designer from Pakistan will supervise the quality of artisanal technical training, while UNHCR will conduct the life-skills training. All those registered with the project will be treated and compensated fairly and ethically, enabling them to support their families.
The MoU was signed by H.E Reem Bin Karam, Director of NAMA and H.E Ruvendrini Menikdiwela, UNHCR’s Representative in Pakistan, in the presence of Erum Mazher Alvie, Senior Advisor in the Executive Office of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sheikha Hind bint Majed Al Qassimi, Chairperson of Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC) and Rizwan Beyg.
H.E Reem BinKaram remarked: “We are pleased to have signed off on our first collaboration with UNHCR, which will take us closer to achieving NAMA’s goal of engaging 10,000 women by 2020.”
She said they have been expanding their efforts to build a strong and far-reaching international partners network that works to empower women in a variety of sectors across the MENASEA region. She further said that the project will help empower hundreds of local and Afghan refugees through the crafts, which will enable them to access sustainable livelihoods, and lead to better self-reliance and increased resilience, and ultimately boost the local economy.
Ms. Ruvendrini Menikdiwela while appreciating NAMA’s contribution said that this initiative will have a great impact on the lives of the local as well as Afghan refugee women. “Through this project, these women will not only achieve self-reliance in Pakistan but will also improve their future economic prospects upon return to Afghanistan.
She said that refugee women’s economic empowerment is one of the key objectives of UNHCR livelihood strategy. “UNHCR is committed to ensuring that women are able to make a safe and sustainable living that meets their basic needs and contributes to their dignity,” she said.
The signing came as part of a NAMA delegation visit to Islamabad, Pakistan, where the entity organised a ‘Sharjah Welcomes You’ networking event, to explore areas of cooperation and discuss possible partnerships to further women’s economic empowerment.
The delegation also met with the ASR Institute of Women’s Studies in Lahore, and visited the National University of Sciences and Technology.