In a little over a year, the Arab Women's Entrepreneurship Project (AWEP) — an AMIDEAST partnership with Citi Foundation to expand opportunities for entrepreneurship training for women in the Arab world — completed a first round of training and recently launched a second one.
The effects of gender inequality are pronounced among the poor who live in marginalized communities of Cairo — some not far from AMIDEAST's offices in the center of the city. Young women in these neighborhoods find it difficult to overcome longstanding social and economic barriers in order to benefit from the access to education, jobs, and other resources that large cities typically offer
Since summer 2011, the Women’s Individual and Social Empowerment (WISE) Program has been helping 75 young women from some of these neighborhoods improve their chances of breaking out of the cycle of poverty. Implemented with funding from the U.S. Department of State, the program emphasizes English language, life skills, and leadership training and awareness-raising through activities focused on topics such as personal safety, community engagement, and economic empowerment.
Some American students may have thought twice about travel and study in the Middle East or North Africa when the Arab Spring began sweeping across the region in 2011. One year later, enrollments in AMIDEAST’s study abroad programs are up across the board, especially in Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco, as young Americans seek out in-region opportunities to hone Arabic language skills and improve their understanding of the region’s dynamics.