For a more productive society…Small and Microenterprise Days launched [Archives:2007/1058/Front Page]

June 11 2007

By: Fatima Al-Ajel
SANA'A, June 19 – The Social Fund for Development on Sunday launched the third Activities Days for the Small and Microenterprise Development, or SMED, unit being held June 10-16 at Saba'een Park.

The kickoff was done in the presence of Prime Minister Ali Mujawar and Abdul Kareem Al-Arhabi, minister of planning and international cooperation and managing director of the Social Fund for Development, among other ministers.

The Activities Days seek to improve the income of microentrepreneurs in both urban and rural areas of Yemen, especially for women, by providing them with sustainable financial as well as non-financial services to fulfill the needs of poor families.

Additionally, the SMED unit aims to draw attention to the importance of the microfinancing industry in a nation's economic development and its contribution to improving the living conditions of low-income households and small entrepreneurs.

For the first time, as well as through previous SMED activities, clients will have a chance to demonstrate and directly sell their products at the open exhibition, where customer interaction was high during the first day. Moreover, it's an opportunity to bring together national agencies and individuals from across Yemen who are concerned with the microfinancing industry.

The exhibition launched with 12 programs and foundations providing either individual or group loans for clients' projects, who in turn comply with the loan repayment schedule within an appropriate timetable.

In pursuit of its objectives, the SMED unit focuses its activities in three program areas: community development, economic empowerment and human resources capacity-building.

SMED has established and supports 12 programs and foundations providing financial and non-financial services to winners of small and microenterprises in various fields in numerous Yemeni governorates.

Through such foundations and agencies, SMED focuses on increasing national awareness about the importance of small and microenterprises in arresting poverty and limiting unemployment problems. The unit also seeks to encourage both national and international organizations and donors to work in the field of small and microenterprise development.

Many participants expressed their interest in such an activity. “It's a good chance for us to provide more support for poor families to improve their incomes,” stated Talha Abdulkarim, a member of Abyan's loan and moneysaving program, which supports more than 1,972 clients with additional support from the Social Fund for Development.

Al-Awael for Microfinance is another company participating in the event by providing technical assistance to women handicraft laborers with the aim of developing their skills and overriding some of their problems.

Commenting at the exhibition, Najabah Al-Haddad, deputy of the Culture Ministry's cultural and theater sector, noted, “Such an exhibition will contribute to raising families' economic and social positions and help protect them from poverty.”