The National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has partnered with Shamsaha, a non-profit corporation focusing on women’s empowerment and protection, to launch the first edition of the Micro-Finance and Economic Independence Program.
As part of Shamsaha’s mandate to support female empowerment and development in Bahrain, the project aims to help women gain economic independence, professional empowerment and entrepreneurial skills.
The project consists of two phases over a one-year period, with focus on product development and training followed by business and entrepreneurship support. Six women, who are clients of Shamsaha, will be selected every month to be part of the project and will receive training in designing, producing and selling various types of handicrafts, arts and other products. The chosen women will receive micro-loans to cover the costs of raw materials, transportation, marketing and sales, as well as small business and entrepreneurship training.
This is made possible by the National Bank of Bahrain’s support, who is sponsoring the first edition of the project.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Shafi Al Mannai – Head – Compensation and Benefits at NBB, said: “At NBB, we continuously aim to become an effective enabler in empowering women in the workplace and the community. Hence, the bank was delighted to partner with “Shamsaha” initiative to assist in providing a suitable environment for women to help them gain professional empowerment, financial independence and entrepreneurial skills. Furthermore, our partnership with “Shamsaha” project also aims to strengthen the SME sector by providing opportunities to participants and further develop their contribution to the Kingdom’s business growth, and to ensure their readiness for potential challenges in the workplace.”
Shamsaha will also promote and sell the products on its online platforms and with its retail and training partners including Ashrafs, Mosaic House, Studio Ceramic, and Vogue.
Mary-Justine Todd, founder and executive director of Shamsaha, commented: “On behalf of everyone at Shamsaha and the women selected for this project, I want to express our most sincere gratitude to the National Bank of Bahrain for placing their support and faith in us and this project.”
“With this project, we want to build and strengthen the skills and experience of the many talented women in Bahrain, nurturing and supporting them to grow into their most empowered and successful selves.”
“The women selected for this project will gain skills, confidence, business experience, and they will start to generate an income – some of them for the very first time.”
Shamsaha is the only existing women’s crisis advocacy response program in the Middle East, providing 24/7 free and confidential crisis care for women in search of empowerment, independence and safety.