Building Peace Through Partnerships
Conflict is a significant cause of poverty in many of the communities where NEF works. Whether it is active warfare or competition over resources and land, the consequences can be devastating and recovery can take years. From Sudan to Palestine, where conflict can flare up at a moments notice, NEF continues to promote dialogue and reconciliation among groups in conflict by presenting opportunities for shared economic benefit.
To establish an environment that promotes peace, NEF identifies opportunities for interaction between opposing groups that focus on common concerns and mutual benefits. NEF facilitates this type of grassroots economic cooperation through value chain development, collaborative natural resource management, and economic reintegration of internally displaced people.
“I saw this as a real opportunity to make may dream comes true”
Sulaiman, a Palestinian husband and father, worked for years on various farms in the Jordan Valley where he was raised. “I didn’t have access to the knowledge or resources to do what I actually wanted to do when I finished school,” he says. His dream was to create and run his own agribusiness.
In the West Bank, NEF works with young Palestinian and Israeli women and men to start joint cross-border agricultural businesses. The aim is to provide opportunities for market expansion, knowledge sharing, and ultimately, mutual understanding between the two groups.
“I saw this as a real opportunity to make my dream come true,” says Sulaiman. Despite skepticism from friends and family, he decided to participate in NEF’s cross-border business development training inside Israel.
There, he met a young Israeli farmer named Walid who also wanted to launch his own agribusiness. Sulaiman and Walid joined forces to invest in a date processing plant in the West Bank with plans to access markets in both Israel and Palestine. By the end of the first training, Sulaiman felt he had benefited greatly saying, “I learned what I needed to start my business.”
Together, Sulaiman and Walid submitted a business plan, which was approved and selected to receive a start-up grant. They used the grant to build a drying facility, a warehouse, and to purchase equipment. When Sulaiman’s friends and family come to visit the business, he describes the pride he feels, saying, “they can’t hide their admiration for what we have built together.”