Minister Garneau witnesses the innovative impact of Canadian international assistance in the West Bank News

5 July, 2021

WEST BANK, July 5, 2021 – The Generating Revenue Opportunities for Women and Youth in the West Bank (GROW) Project, implemented by Cowater International, hosted today a visit by the Honourable Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mr. Garneau visited the Palestinian Authority during a tour to the Middle East and had the opportunity to learn firsthand about the impact of Canadian international assistance in empowering women and youth in the West Bank through job creation, economic opportunities, and a focus on environmental sustainability.

GROW is a $9 million CAD, 4.5-year initiative (2018-22) funded by Global Affairs Canada. The project aims to enhance the economic empowerment and increase prosperity for low-income women and youth in the West Bank. It has three major priorities. First, reducing barriers to entrepreneurship faced by women. Second, enhancing opportunities for women entrepreneurs to successfully establish and grow sustainable businesses. Third, increasing opportunities for female entrepreneurs, particularly female youth, to support the adoption of renewable energy in the olive and agro-food processing value chains.

“Women and youth are facing a unique set of economic and social difficulties in a generally challenging environment that characterizes life in the West Bank”, said David Baron, President and CEO of Cowater International. “We are delighted that Minister Garneau had the opportunity to visit our GROW project and meet some of the project beneficiaries. Canada’s global leadership in advancing women’s rights and environmental sustainability are contributing to some truly transformational initiatives, such as GROW.”

Engineering student who benefitted from GROW project support

GROW project beneficiary addresses Minister Garneau during a visit to the West Bank

To date, the project has supported over 2500 women in accessing environmental and gender-responsive entrepreneurship, business management and financial literacy training. Around 100 young female students participated in training and job placement programs and over 440 members across 36 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and cooperatives will have benefited from access to solar installations by the end of this year.

During his visit, Minister Garneau had the opportunity to meet some of the project beneficiaries. Nourah Omar was supported by GROW to implement her innovative idea of designing a device that relies on solar panels to increase the shelf life of fruits, such as dates and strawberries, for up to 3 years. The device helps store agricultural produce in varying temperatures and preserves their nutritional value, allowing producers to bring their goods to market all year round.

About Cowater International

Founded in 1985, Cowater International is a leading global development consulting company. Headquartered in Ottawa and with corporate hubs in Brussels, London (UK), Montreal and Nairobi, Cowater International has successfully delivered a portfolio of over 2500 projects and assignments in more than 95 countries. We work with governments, private sector actors and communities implementing projects that support socio-economic development, institutional strengthening, environmental improvements and advance equal opportunities for all. We are a diverse and experienced team committed to building a better tomorrow for the people we serve.

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