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Food choices

for kids


Art talk with







gems on the

banks of the








w w w . s a u d i g a z e t t e . c o m . s a

VOL: 348 — ISSUE NO: 14428 — SATURDAY 25 MARCH 2017, 26 JAMAD II — 1438



The luxury

electric vehicle

Drive P11






Brazil, Argentina

on course

Sports P16



Meet the six Saudis on Qatif ‘s graffiti ‘hit list’


Mosul’s east begins to bustle


London attack: Joining the dots


Saudi training and internship programs need a boost 






Women as breadwinners


HEN Daesh



invaded her


of Kobani

in Syria, Shorash didn’t initially

see it as a career opportunity.

Grabbing only what she

could carry, Shorash and her

family trekked on foot across

the Turkish border. After months

of sleeping rough in parks and

bouncing from one refugee

camp to another, they eventually

settled near Erbil, in Iraq’s rela-

tively stable Kurdistan region.

“I had been looking for work

without any success, and was

feeling rather bored and frustrat-

ed,” said 23-year-old Shorash,

who did not disclose her surname

for security reasons.

One day, her husband told

her about a local women’s center,

run by non-profit group “Women

for Women International”

(WfWI), that offered training to

help women establish businesses.

A law graduate, Shorash was

a diligent student and attended

all classes, even giving birth to

her daughter just hours after her

final exams.

She developed a plan to es-

tablish a greenhouse construction

business — in demand in the

region as a modern way to grow

fruit and vegetables.

“The program changed my

life — I no longer feel lonely and

isolated as before,” she said.

Gender equality and empow-

erment of women are among the

17 global Sustainable Develop-

ment Goals designed to tackle

poverty, inequality and climate

change by 2030.

Nowhere is support for wom-

en more important and urgent

than in post-conflict situations,

experts say.

“We believe that women

survivors of war are agents of

change, (and) that through em-

powering women we will actu-

ally empower the entire commu-

nity,” said Mandana Hendessi,

WfWI’s director for the Syria

crisis response and Iraq.

The WfWI center, one of

three in Iraq, enables women to

rebuild their lives after conflict,

to meet in a safe space, and to

learn new skills.

“People do have a very

distorted view of refugee life,”

Hendessi told the Thomson Re-

uters Foundation. “They think

everybody is just sitting there in

a tent waiting for food to arrive

or for medicine... but we’re talk-

ing about women who back in

Syria were incredibly resource-

ful, generally quite educated and

losing all of their identity once

they became a refugee.”

Some 4.9 million Syrians —

the majority women and children

— are refugees in neighboring

states, according to the UN refu-

gee agency UNHCR.

The WfWI program in Iraq

supports around 400 mainly Syr-

ian and Yazidi female refugees,

and also works with men to en-

sure social cohesion.

As is common in post-

conflict societies, many of the

women have lost their male rela-

A displaced Iraqi woman carries her child at Hammam Al-Alil camp, as Iraqi forces battle with Daesh militants in Mosul, Iraq. — Reuters




Hail blanketed many parts of

the Qassim region on Thursday.

People had a nice time play-

ing with the pellets of frozen

rain. The General Authority of

Meteorology and Environmen-

tal Protection expects rainfall

accompanied by sand and dust

storm to continue in Riyadh,

Eastern Province, Qassim, Hail,

Jouf, Northern Borders, Najran,

Jazan, Asir, Baha, Makkah and

Madinah. — SPA

tives to war, and find themselves

thrust into the position of sole

breadwinner. One in four Syrian

refugee families is now headed

by a woman, according to WfWI.

Projects like that supporting

Shorash encourage women to

grasp entrepreneurial opportuni-

ties, nurturing start-ups from

wedding services and hair-salons

to bakeries and sweet shops.

Research suggests men often

do not adapt as well as women

to new roles in times of conflict,

said Nicola Jones, principal

research fellow at the London-

based Overseas Development


“Often women have been

more flexible,” she said.

Rather than waiting for insti-

tutions to be rebuilt after wars,

which can take generations,

women’s informal networks are

an increasingly powerful tool for

driving forward economic and

social recovery, she added.

In northern Nigeria, a region

under the shadow of Boko Ha-

ram militants, Fatima Adamu is

working to equip young women

to become midwives and health-

care practitioners.

In patriarchal rural communi-

ties, Adamu negotiates with lo-

cal leaders to nominate a young

woman to train in the city who

will then return home to help

close the village healthcare gap.

“The reality is nobody is

coming from the city to fill that

space for you, (so) you must

provide,” said Adamu, explain-

ing how she persuades villages to


The “Women for Health”

program, led by Health Partners

International, aims to train more

than 6,000 female workers and

deploy them to rural health fa-

cilities in a region where up to 90

percent of women deliver their

babies without a skilled birth

attendant present.

On graduating, the young

women are usually employed

by local governments, and must

work for a minimum of three

years in their villages before they

can move elsewhere.

The program has faced some

resistance, however.

At least a handful of women

have been divorced during their

absence or returned home to find

their husbands have taken an-

other wife, said Adamu.

In some cases, the commu-

nity has rallied to pressure the

husband to support his wife’s

training, knowing the village will

benefit in the long term.

The women often take up

leadership roles when they return

and are more able to negotiate

power structures, said Adamu.

Educating women and girls

is “the surest way to address the

challenges of extremism, poverty

and... break the cycle of inequal-

ity”, she said, in the region rav-

aged by Boko Haram, an Islamist

group whose insurgency has

killed 15,000 people and forced

some 2 million from their homes.

Historically, conflicts can

accelerate women’s rights and

social opportunities, as seen after

World War Two in Europe, while

working women can help pick

up the pieces and contribute sig-

nificantly to rebuilding war-torn

communities, experts say.

“Often post-conflict there are

real opportunities to rethink the

social and political contract with

citizens,” said ODI’s Jones.

— Thomson Reuters


We believe

that women

survivors of war

are agents of

change, (and)

that through


women we will

actually empower

the entire


Mandana Hendessi

WfWI’s director

for the Syria crisis

response and Iraq