Change Agents: Women WEAVE Their Own Opportunities

Change Agents: Women WEAVE Their Own Opportunities

New beginnings: scaling economic opportunities for women through the Carol Bellamy WEAVE Fellowship

The Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), a GCTF Inspired Institution, leads capacity-building projects in many regions of the world that complement and reinforce the Forum’s good practices and recommendations. GCERF is turning policy guidance into action on the ground. The Carol Bellamy Women Entrepreneurs Against Violent Extremism (WEAVE) fellowship is one example. 

Haïfa and Abir dropped out of school at a young age due to social and financial difficulties. They lived in neighborhoods where high rates of delinquency and crime, radicalization and recruitment into violent extremist groups were present. Many hold the belief that economic opportunities are exclusively available for the political and social elite. Haïfa and Abir grappled between the frustrations of a life with few job opportunities and resisting forms of violence in their communities.

As this was becoming a growing concern in Tunisia, GCERF offered financial support, training, and business-related mentorship to 10 women as a part of its WEAVE fellowship. Named after GCERF’s founding Chair of the Governing Board and following the Start and Improve Your Business Programme developed by the International Labour Organization, the WEAVE fellowship supports start-ups and entrepreneurship projects led by women.

Today, Haïfa is working on her catalogues and progressing on diversifying her dressmaking portfolio. “This project opened new doors and [showed] new hope for me and my family. I now have an objective in life that can help me to be more resilient to confront any trap of violent extremism,” said Haïfa. Following a similar path, Abir began from scratch and learned how to evaluate production costs, source fabrics, and how to sell her tailored-made clothes.

Eight other women between the ages of 19 and 29 have benefitted from the fellowship. To learn more about fellowship winners in Tunisia, watch the video.

Read more GCERF Snap Shots here.

GCERF is a GCTF Inspired Institution. The Inspired Institutions are independent organizations that complement the Forum’s mission and reinforce the practical use of GCTF resources across the globe.

Photo credit: provided by GCERF.