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Building Entrepreneurship in Yemen

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Building Entrepreneurship in Yemen

Fathiya: The First Entrepreneur

Like most women in Mareb, Fathiya had never heard of microfinance or entrepreneurship. Wife to an unemployed husband, and mother to three daughters and a son, her economic prospects seemed bleak. A few months ago, she was lucky enough to be selected as a participant in “The Balqees Initiative”, Partners-Yemen’s leadership development and community-level awareness raising program.

During the workshop, Fathiya immediately showed great interest in entrepreneurship and microfinance, asking more questions about the topic than any other volunteer. The day the workshop ended, she asked the SF to accompany her to the local “Al-Amal Bank,” a microfinance bank. She took out a loan for YR10,000 and began producing simple women’s accessories from home, which she sells locally. Her business has since taken off and she has become a role-model among the women of Mareb.


Through the US Embassy-funded Balquees Initiative, an initial 25 women leaders in Yemen have been recruited and trained in community engagement and basic health, education, and economic development best practices. These women are then responsible for training an additional 240 women from their local communities, who will host 4,000 community outreach events throughout Mareb on relevant education, health, and economic development topics, ultimately reaching over 30,000 women and youth.

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