New vocational training program to help more women get specialized jobs in Palestinian Territories
With funding from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), in partnership with Lutheran World Federation Jerusalem (LWF), has begun a $10 million program to improve education, training and employment for Palestinian women in non-traditional fields.
“In the Palestinian Territories, unemployment is a main cause of poverty,” says Suhad Kasbari, project manager at LWF.
“Women have fewer opportunities than men to find employment, and the opportunities that do exist are difficult to access. This exacerbates existing economic and social barriers, compounding the challenges they already face. For women with disabilities, the situation is even more difficult.”
The new program, called GRIT (Gender-Responsive and Inclusive Technical and Vocational Education and Training), will give women better access to technical and vocational training programs suited to their specific needs, helping them get jobs and gain financial independence.
“GRIT will open new doors for these women, providing greater economic freedom and confidence within their families and communities,” says Kasbari.
LWF has delivered a successful vocational training program since 1949, but often the program is not considered by women as an acceptable post-secondary option in a culture where traditional gender roles are prominent. By expanding existing programs and introducing new courses for women in a variety of fields, including those that have typically been attended by male students, GRIT aims to normalize women’s involvement in diverse roles within their communities.
“This new initiative builds on LWF’s many years of experience providing vocational training in the West Bank, which Canadian Lutheran World Relief has been a proud partner in for many years,” says Karin Achtelstetter, executive director at CLWR. “Each year, we’re inspired by the number of talented young people who graduate from the program and find work within their fields. By increasing the focus on education for women, GRIT will have a major impact on hundreds of women who face barriers to education, employment and equality.”
GRIT is part of Canada’s ongoing commitment to improving quality education for women and girls in developing countries. The $10 million contribution is part of Canada’s $400 million investment announced in support of the G7 Charlevoix “Declaration on Quality Education for Girls, Adolescent Girls and Women in Developing Countries.”
“Improving gender equality is at the core of Canada’s international assistance efforts,” says Robin Wettlaufer, Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority. “Increasing women’s access to quality, market-relevant education is a crucial step in furthering gender equality in the West Bank. We are pleased to support a project that will help women gain greater social and economic freedom, particularly young, marginalized women and women with disabilities.”