Nablus's Deputy Governor offers Support and Wisdom

As part of the information-gathering and outreach phase of "Fostering Women Entrepreneurs in Nablus," our cooperation with the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, TYO staff members met Ms. Anan Atteereh, Deputy Governor of Nablus, and Director General of the Governorate (at center in photo, with FWEN project manager Fatima Irshaid at left, Wynne Mancini, TYO Center Director and Nell Derick Debevoise, TYO Director at right). Ms. Atteereh had some wonderful perspectives to share about our project, based on her own experience as well as a variety of initiatives that the Governorate is pursuing. For example, a Council on Employment has been convened by the Governorate of Nablus to address a variety of issues related to unemployment, with particular focus on youth and women. In addition, the Palestinian representative office in Milan is planning an exposition of Palestinian products in April 2010, in an effort to facilitate their entry into European markets. Of course, we were thrilled to hear of these initiatives, given our recently launched efforts to promote women's economic empowerment.

Ms. Atteereh spoke eloquently about the obstacles to full employment in Nablus, particularly for marginalized groups like women and young people. However, she also presented an inspiring and well-reasoned perspective about necessary next steps toward a stronger economy. For example, the Ministry of Labor had offered to provide thorough statistics about the labor market for the use of Nablus's new Council on Employment, but hadn't yet provided such data. Ms. Atteereh still hopes to receive this information as an essential first step in the Council's work, but also is working to commission original studies here in Nablus so that the Council might proceed more quickly and efficiently. She cited the importance of planning: a frequent stumbling block for projects in Palestine, whether because of the volatility of the political situation, constraints imposed by donors, or otherwise. Ms. Atteereh was clear about the emphasis that her office is trying to put on the planning phase of their work, as well as their efforts to promote planning skills among smaller project implementers and local business owners.

We are grateful to Ms. Atteereh for her perspective, great effort and interest in TYO's work for the children and women of Nablus. We look forward to working closely together as we move forward with our respective endeavors.

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