Entrepreneurship and Employment


Near East Foundation aims to expand economic opportunities inclusively, sustainably, and safely for entrepreneurs across all the countries where we operate. We focus on addressing pressing needs and facilitating empowerment opportunities for the most vulnerable groups disproportionately affected by economic disparity, conflict, displacement and climate change.

By offering a model that is tailored and adapted to specific needs, programming is:

  • Replicable: Community-managed, low-cost, and can be rapidly tailored to local contexts and partnerships.
  • Responsive: Delivers sustainable support that is responsive to the needs prioritized by local communities.
  • Results-driven: Integrates proven methods and tools developed by NEF and its partners.
  • Transferable: Individuals can develop portable skills that can support livelihoods in various sectors and contexts.
  • Inclusive: Supports men, women, and adolescents with a focus on those considered most vulnerable, including displaced populations, people with disabilities, and female- and youth-headed households.

SIRAJ Centers

This program model is delivered through NEF Siraj Centers, a network of community-based livelihood and protection centers in conflict- and displacement-affected areas. NEF partners with local civil society organizations and provides them with standardized training and coaching modules, access to a market platform and finance programs, an organizational toolkit and ongoing support. We train and certify key members of their staff to become business development trainers and coaches.

NEF is increasingly integrating “graduation out of poverty” measures into this program that pair income with access to protection (e.g., legal, psychosocial) and social services (e.g., education, health) to deliver more targeted, holistic, and sustainable results in support of the most vulnerable groups. We also support women, young adults, and other groups to access emerging economic opportunities tied to sustainable, low-carbon, circular, and diverse economies (i.e., green economies).

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