The Socially Responsible Women Run School Canteens Programme is implemented by the UN Women, and funded by the Norwegian Representative Office (NRO), with the aim to promote and strengthen the sustainability and financial autonomy of women's Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) and to create employment opportunities for women in marginalized communities in the West Bank in the State of Palestine.
This three-year Programme works on enhancing the partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Palestine and the MA`AN Development Center, with a specific aim to support women run CBOs to provide healthy nutritious food to school children within the targeted schools` canteens. The Programme builds the capacities of the women`s centers to allow them to effectively run the schools` canteens to ensure they become sustainable through generating income. Among the services UN Women provides the women CBOs with include: financial, managerial and marketing skills development, as well as, food processing, hygiene and basic safety measurements. In addition, UN Women works on renovating and furnishing the canteens, as well as rehabilitating and furnishing the women`s CBO`s kitchens.
Launched in 2009, the Programme has supported 41 CBOs, out of which 23 attained financial sustainability; the Programme also provided part-time employment opportunities and a secure stable income for 493 women with the average monthly income of USD 250. One of the Programme`s main objectives is to achieve financial independence for the women CBOs by providing them with the necessary tools to sustain their businesses and income.
Among the featured outcomes of the Programme are the following:
- Sustainable income for targeted women centers;
- Increase awareness on women run school canteens model;
- Increase awareness on healthy nutritious food for children;
- Networking among CBOs enhanced.
Through the Programme, over 245 schools and more than 77,000 school children benefited from healthy nutritional food provided by the 41 CBOs. The Programme succeeded in establishing a strong partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE); in which, the latter has recognized the women-run school canteen mechanism as a successful business model that should be nationalized. In addition, UN Women, in cooperation with the MoEHE, succeeded in incorporating the Women Run Schools` Canteen business model into the National Education Strategy to ensure that all public school canteens in the West Bank are run by women CBOs and in conformity with the Palestinian labour standards.
In its third phase of implementation, UN Women aims to target an additional 27 CBOs to benefit from the Programme.
Key partners: Norwegian Representative Office (donor), UN Women (Lead agency), Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Palestine (Governmental - National Partner), Maan Development Center (local NGO)
Programme Associate - Women Run School Canteens Program