Integrating Women in Social and Economic Development [Archives:1998/16/Reportage]

April 20 1998

The Minister of Insurance and Social Affairs, Mr. Mohammed Al-Batani has on 16 April officially opened the Model Center for Productive Families in Mahweet. In cooperation with the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), a special administrative and technical cadre is trained and the essential raw materials are provided for the center.
This center comes as part of the trend to establish small-scale projects to combat poverty and help limited-income people. The training provided will be in accordance with the needs of the locals and the demands of the labor market. Courses provided will include the teaching of English, computer usage, and other necessary skills required in the various cities, towns, and villages around the country.
Most important of all is education and eradicating women’s illiteracy. Mr. Ahmed Al-Sermi, the general manager of the education office in Mahweet, assures that “involving educated women like teachers and school students will help making this project a success. This will be a good step towards actualizing women activities in the society,” says Mr. Al-Sermi. “On the way to achieve a financial and administrative reform, the project also offers job opportunities for unemployed people,” he adds.
Ms. Adeeba Al-Radi, the tricot teacher of the center says, “the project includes offering training of sewing, tricot and needle work, and teaching some health programs for women of the city. The people of Mahweet are responding well to the project, especially those who are uneducated.”
“This project is the first of its kind. The center has all the necessary tools and equipment. In addition, it employs a mobile unit of four educated women to teach health programs, planting, sewing, and tracing out clothes patterns. This team has the responsibility to give medical advice and training courses to people who cannot come to the center. They have a car and all the equipment they need while on duty,” says Rasheeda Al-Noseiri, the director of the project.
The project program encourages and supports the women who highly succeeded in making small-scale marketing projects. In the near future, the project will offer secretarial courses in Sanaa and Aden including teaching the English language. Since the Mahweet center has 6 urban centers and 9 rural centers, the center has to send a qualified staff to these centers. For this purpose, an 8-month training course was carried out as a part of the project’s program to get a well qualified staff.
Ms. Afrah Al-Saidi, a health counsellor in Mahweet, says “we worked in three villages, Al-Arqoob, No’man, and Jabal Taraf. We taught old women sewing and other skills. Though people of those villages are uneducated, we really found a big response to all that we have done. In Al-Arqoob village, the number of women who came to the center at first exceeded 100. This number grew day by day. Despite of their big duties at home and in planting lands, women are eager to learn and to get trained. For that reason, we tried to organize our courses at a convenient time for them.”
Amatulsalam Al-Lesani, the manager of Mahweet center says, “the center has 32 machines and 10 tricot machines. We will make wool sweaters and clothing for women and children and then we will make an exhibition to sell our products.”
On opening the Model Center for Productive Families in Mahweet, the following facilities are available at the center:
1. A well-repaired suitable center with all necessary services.
2. Administrative and technical staff of 9 women and a watchman.
3. All the raw materials necessary for the training of sewing, cutting out, needle work and tricot.
4. Providing the center with 37 machines ( 10 Joki machines, 20 Singer machines, 15 of them for the villages and the mobile teams, 4 needlework machines, and 3 tricot machines) .
5. A mobile unit or team of 4 trained women and a driver to work in Al-Arqoob, Al-No’aman, and Jabal Al-Taraf villages.
6. Machines and furniture are provided to these villages. This mobile unit will have the necessary medical supplies and training equipment.
Ahlam Al-Mutawakil, Yemen Times