MECA recently began an exciting partnership with the Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agricultural Platform (GUPAP) to support women “agripreneurs” whose lives and income were particularly impacted by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in May 2021.

MECA Director of Gaza Projects Dr. Mona El-Farra describes her experience meeting with the women who are starting small businesses based on traditional agricultural practices and shares the words of Leila Muhammed Zubbeidi who started a small food business.

An increasing number of women are suffering from post-traumatic stress and domestic violence, hand in hand with enduring tough poverty, no work chances, very low income. The list of deprivations is too long to count.

On the bright side of life, I attended a meeting that was organized by MECA partner the Gaza Urban and Peri-Urban Agricultural Platform and met thirty lovely and brave women. They have worked hard and presented their small income-generating projects that help to support themselves and their families. The projects varied from honey production to spices and herbs, from livestock to fishing, from natural cosmetic products to detergent manufacturing and much more.

Some of these women are living by the borders in Gaza, just 300 meters away from their land that was stolen in 1948. Others are fisherwomen or housewives who are striving to make a living. Many are single mothers.

MECA’s project with GUPAP “Enhancing resilience of Gaza women agripreneurs in crisis” gave them a chance to make the change for themselves and their families.

I am very proud of Palestinian women. This is our resilience against occupation.

Power to women and love to MECA supporters everywhere. With your solidarity and your support, we can continue to fight poverty and oppression of the occupation, we can continue our struggle for our rights, for peace and justice in Palestine.

MECA Gaza staff met with women “agripreneurs” to learn about their “urban agriculture” businesses.

The Making of Maftoul
By Leila Muhammed Zubbeidi
Jabalia Refugee Camp, Gaza, Palestine, originally from Beit Dares.

I started this project alongside my daughter Aya and my niece Safa’, where our marketing strategy relied on word of mouth through our family, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. We also played part in preparing healthy food parcels for organizations and initiatives, where this helped provide jobs for 15 women—including recent university graduates.

This project provides maftoul [Palestinian couscous] favored by many, does not cost much to prepare, and we provide the best quality and professionalism at doing this. We started this project with support from Dr. Mona El-Farra where she helped us get the pots and material to prepare the maftoul.

On a personal level, our lives have been touched and changed by this project, now we have a source of income – a solid source of income—in addition to having this amazing community of hard-working passionate women. Eighteen amazing women to be exact.

We are beyond blessed and grateful to have gotten support from Gaza’s Agricultural Forum and MECA where they’ve provided the necessary equipment for us to launch our project, in addition to providing training in communication and marketing skills.