Ramallah - Nisaa FM - On Tuesday the 3th of June, Nisaa FM implemented the first radio episode under the program “Qarib” in cooperation with the French Agency for Media Development and the French Agency for Development.
The project includes the production of four radio spots and ten radio episodes within “Qarib” project which will continue for 3 months. The topics will focus on "The Impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) on Palestinian Women.”
Nisaa FM implemented till now 6 episodes. here's a brief:
The Second Episode entitled - “The effects of Coronavirus on women in Palestine” discussed the psychological and social effects of lockdown on women, by psychotherapist and head of the Mental Health Unit at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Samah Jabr, and the Preventive Medicine official in Primary Health Care Dr. Ali Abed Rabo.
This episode addressed the psychological services offered by the Palestinian Ministry of Health for infected persons & their families, also for medical staff who are placed under pressure in dealing with Covid-19, as well as, ways in which to raise awareness about the situation to the most VULNERABALE GROUP TO BE INFECTED WITH THE VIRUS.
Dr. Samah noted that they are working on Hotlines to deal with cases of violence cases against women in homes, as well as developing programs to talk about the importance of social distancing. Dr. Ali explained the role played by the Ministry of Health in dealing with pregnant women who are infected with the virus.
The Third Episode – dealt with the effects of lockdown and the coronavirus for persons with disabilities, poor communities, and raising the awareness on prevention. Dawood Al-Deek, from the Ministry of Social Development explained the process that the Ministry worked on through lockdown, based on supplying food to thousands of people in need, and supporting 30,000 poor families, including families headed by women, battered women, and women who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Amna Badawneh, responsible for lobbying and advocacy at the Stars of Hope Association, to empower women with disabilities, explained the process that they work through – they take count of women with disabilities and define their needs, and not only their medical ones.
This process pointed out the medical and cash needs, but also focused on violations these women encountered at work, especially the violence against them. Badawneh explained the Association’s process appears to fill the gap that the Ministry of Health dealt with prior to the lockdown.
Al-Deek confirmed that the medical centers were configured for people with disabilities despite their sex, or ages, as well as elderly homes.
The Fourth episode - discussed the economic situation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, and how it affected women locally and internationally. Financial and banking expert Mohammed Salama said that the numbers show that 10% of families are headed by women, 19% of women are working, and the unemployment average for women is 32%.
He added that lockdown leads to disrupt the work of entrepreneurs and small businesses; they can’t sell as usual because they cannot advertise for their products, however, the lockdown puts double pressure on women with duties inside homes, as a result, some of them are forced to leave their work, women’s income decreased and the opportunities to work outside their homes decreased.
Executive Director of the Business Women Forum Doaa Wadi said that the effects of coronavirus were double on women, whether they were employed or entrepreneurs or owning their business.
Wadi added that the appearance of coronavirus was a surprise and there were no contingency plans, so small projects were significantly damaged.
According to a report that the Business Women Forum published, it targeted 280 women entrepreneurs, showing that women lost the selling season for handicrafts and household products, and part of them were forced to close their projects, as women entrepreneurs were affected by the closure of annual exhibitions.
In the Fifth episode - Nisaa FM and it guests explained how to support businesswomen who bore economic losses caused by Covid-19. Businesswoman and member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Mariam Abuain, said that the implications of the coronavirus were t dangerous and shockingly traumatic for that the global economy, including Palestine, especially the pandemics effects on women entrepreneurs and businesswomen.
Abuain added that on average, 90% of Women’s SMEs ceased working, many of them were managed by women who are breadwinners for their families, exacerbating their economic conditions. She called for the necessity of providing financial facilities - support "without interest" loans to women entrepreneurs.
The owner of the Caramel project in Ramallah, Fayha'a Ennab, participated in our program, after she was forced under the current circumstances to close down her sweets shop and turn it into an online orders business. Ennab explained that she decided to do so, after much thought about the current conditions, the losses, the high cost of rents, and the operating costs, and she also called for support to private women's projects.
Executive Director of the Palestinian Fund for Employment and Social Protection of Workers, Mahdi Hamdan talked about the Somod program of emergency lending to support and enable the owners of SMEs, which were directly and indirectly affected by the spread of coronavirus, by providing financial and technical support for these projects.
He explained that half of the Ministry allocations, which amounted to $ 2 million, were disbursed, and the percentage of women who benefited from it, was estimated at 15%. He added that there is a policy to support women, in the future programs, and the share to women will be more than 50% of the total benefits.
The Six episodes discussed coronavirus effects on feminist projects, and how to support women's business to avoid economic losses caused by COVID-19.
The Head of the Gender Unit in the Ministry of National Economy, Abeer Omran, said that small projects are very important for women entrepreneurs, but the closure led to the accumulation of women's goods and the loss of a large and important part of their projects, as they faced a problem in marketing.
The Ministry of Economy added that there are projects available for women, including the establishment of the Solidarity Fund initiative, which aims to empower marginalized women and promote their well-being, it provides funding grants to develop women's projects and to create new projects. And the Fund is now working on providing an online platform for women to promote their projects.
The owner of the Illar Heritage Project and the owner of the office of Tamimi Tourism and Travel Sherin Shawer Tamimi said that most of small projects stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic, since March until, adding that stopping incoming tourism posed new challenges and double financial obligations. She began partnerships with businesspersons to support and sustain its projects, and she said that the partnership with the private sector was a savior. She added "Today, governments are required to provide non-refundable grants and long-term loans, and there must be platforms and sites promoting all SME products.”
Trainer for Human Development and Administrative Development, Aida Zawahreh, said that the world went through the crisis of coronavirus and its health and economic reflections on everyone, and added that the priorities differed, so the consumer no longer thinks about luxuries but rather the fundamentals. Women entrepreneurs had to think about maintaining the relationship with the consumer by contacting and continuing advertising products, and women should never stop promoting their projects and products on various social media sites.