NAMA’s five-year journey of advancing women gives opportunities

December 14, 2021 / 12:27 PM
Sharjah24: What began five years ago for NAMA Women Advancement (NAMA) as a mission to advance gender equality by creating enabling environments in support of inclusive growth and development, is today transforming the lives of thousands of women, not only in the UAE and the region but in many countries across the world.
Founded by  His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and under the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of NAMA, the UAE-based organisation designs and implements impactful initiatives that support women across economic, professional and social sectors through its three affiliates – Sharjah Business Women Council (SBWC), Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council (Irthi) and Badiri Education and Development Academy (Badiri), in partnership with local and global entities.

Speaking about being part of NAMA’s powerful growth story at the five-year anniversary celebration event, Her Excellency Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, said: “Since its establishment in December 2015, NAMA has been successfully implementing its initiatives to support women through its three affiliates – Sharjah Business Women Council, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, and Badri Education and Development Academy,  in partnership with local and international organisations and institutions.” 

She added: “NAMA’s success can be attributed to its strategic action plan with a clear objective and measurable results that has helped all three entities grow sustainably under the directives and wise leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs. At NAMA, we take a holistic three-step approach to women’s advancement through a comprehensive support system that helps women excel professionally and economically by upskilling them, increasing their efficiency and qualifying them to enter the labour market; investing in their talents and helping them set up SMEs or grow their businesses; and by creating an ecosystem that allows them to not only grow professionally and personally, but also play an active role in shaping an equitable world for women while contributing to the nation’s economic development.” 

“NAMA’s achievements are a direct result of not only choosing the right objectives, but also investing in hardworking and passionate people who have taken it upon themselves to turn this grand vision into a reality that has changed the tide for women not only in Sharjah and the UAE, but across the world,” BinKaram concluded commending the NAMA staff on their dedication. 

Footprints in South East Asia, Beirut and Nigeria
Over the years, NAMA and its affiliates have supported women through several local as well as global projects. The entity has contributed to building more resilient communities in South East Asia by promoting the participation of women and girls in peacebuilding efforts and providing them with the skills to counter violence and extremism and transform societies affected by conflicts. 

By partnering with Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) through their Girl Ambassadors for Peace Programme (GA4P) in Bangladesh and Indonesia, NAMA supported cross-learning and knowledge-sharing between young women and girls, as well as their economic empowerment through skills development and entrepreneurship training.

Closer to home, NAMA partnered with the UAE-based The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) and Save the Children to provide a safe space for young girls and boys affected by the tragic Beirut blast in 2020 to receive psycho-social support and help them process trauma and express their emotions in a healthy way.

Aligning with its goals to secure a better future for children through education, NAMA teamed up with TBHF and Malala Fund in 2020 pumping in more than AED200,000 to fund educational opportunities for more than 65,000 girls and boys as well as strengthening teaching capacity by training 300 teachers in Nigeria.

Over the years, NAMA has engaged with grass-roots organisations in extending support to women in need, including providing acid attack victims in Pakistan with psychological and psycho-social assistance to facilitate their social reintegration and employment.

Investing in women’s economic inclusion
Under the ongoing Flagship Programme Initiative (FPI), NAMA partnered with UN Women to empower women entrepreneurs worldwide and close existing gaps in women’s access to procurement markets by addressing both demand and supply side constraints. NAMA also co-hosted the biennial Women Economic Empowerment Global Summit (WEEGS) in Sharjah to strengthen women’s business skills and provide them with an effective networking platform. 

NAMA has also contributed to more inclusive economic growth across several counties in the region. Its partnership with Education for Employment (EFE) has been extremely productive in Jordan, Egypt and Palestine, connecting youth – including 50 percent females – to meaningful employment opportunities. 

In collaboration with TBHF, NAMA contributed to supporting Kenyan women’s economic inclusion through skills development training and education in Nanyuki village.

The entity’s initiatives to support economic empowerment of women in MENASA region includes:  mentorship programmes and career development opportunities - in partnership with Global Thinkers Forum - across different sectors; collaborating with the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) platform to support women leaders who wish to drive change, innovation and sustainability in order to advance UN’s SDG Agenda 2030; supporting gender mainstreaming in business practices and addressing barriers to women’s career advancement in the private sector through its Irtiqa platform; and contributing to policy discussions at the national and international level by providing insights on various issues affecting women’s inclusion in society, including most recently at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Support from sponsors
Attended by 165+ employees of NAMA and its three affiliates, the organisation’s five-year anniversary event was sponsored by a host of public and private sector entities in the UAE, including Air Arabia, Sharjah Ladies Club, RAK Hilton Beach Resort, Al Jada by Arada, MYSK Al Badayer Retreat, L’Occitane, INGLOT – Apparel Group, WOMAD, Ashyana, Abdar, Eli’s Label, and Al Khayal Café.
December 14, 2021 / 12:27 PM

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