At MECI our approach to empowering women is a bit different from other programs relying on micro-finance and micro-enterprise. At MECI, we inspire and guide women down the path of "Self Empowerment." We do so because too often women are abandoned when the direct funding stops and sustainable development for women means helping women help themselves. We are happy to report that they, not we, have succeeded!
Our crowning achievement in promoting the vision of Women's Self-Empowerment is the Deir Ghassaneh Women's Association (DGWA). For the last seven years, the network of women in our villages in the Bani Zeid municipality have worked with local farmers to procure the produce daily healthy food needed to serve over 300,000 meals to our students. This network of women (the association) now has 60 members and business is growing each day.
Initially, the women's association was highly enthusiastic about providing supplementary nutrition for the children in our villages so it was only natural that catering became a major focus. We witnessed the ingenuity of these women when they decided, with our help, to generate income opportunities in similar sectors.
Today, the women's association has grown from a one-room operation to six buildings. Aside from the 5 school canteens they currently manage, the association fully owns and operates: