Bank of Palestine organized a number of workshops that targeted women entrepreneurs. The workshops were conducted based on the bank’s signed agreement with the Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Palestinian governorates, and as part of the Felestineya Banking Awareness Program. A total of 18 workshops were conducted to raise the awareness of 300 Palestinian business women and women entrepreneurs from the governorates of Nablus, TulKarem, Qalqiliah, Salfit, Jenin, Hebron, Gaza, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Tubas.

These workshops were organized through the bank’s partnership with the Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, and as part of the Banking Literacy Program for women members and non-members in the Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The workshops introduced women participants to the services offered by the bank for micro, small, medium sized and large enterprise, and most of them were held at the premises of the bank’s main branches or at the premises of chambers of commerce in the aforementioned cities. The workshops also aim to raise the awareness of women about the importance of becoming members in chambers of commerce, and women and participants are encouraged to register so that they are able to move from the informal to the formal sector.

Mr. Hashim Al Shawa, the Chairman and General Manager of Bank of Palestine, pointed out that the bank conducted a great many efforts during the past few years at the level of women development. He added that the bank took big steps to empower Palestinian women internally and externally starting with banking literacy through the Felestineya program, developing the capacities of women to manage various projects through the Mini MBA program, giving women more incentive through the Best Business Plan for Women competition, and launching various funding programs that respond to the financial and banking needs of women by developing a number of credit facilitations to assist them in starting their own project, such as the Felestineya Personal Gold Loan for Women, the Felestineya Business Gold Loan for Women, and the Felestineya Collateral-Free Loan for Women.

Al Shawa expressed his pride towards the success achieved by the partnership and memorandum of cooperation that was signed with the Federation of Palestinian Chambers, which contributed to spreading the awareness of women to enter the business sector in a formal manner and benefit from a number of advantages and privileges given to them. Al Shawa expressed hope that such programs will continue to advance and attain a high level of economic and social development in Palestine.

Mr. Khalil Rizeq, the President of the Federation of Palestinian Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, praised the constructive cooperation with Bank of Palestine and the role it plays in serving the private sector in general and women owners of small and medium sized enterprise in particular. He believes that such endeavors empowers women economically and promotes their role in economic and social development as well as their participation in the job market. He added that the agreement signed with Bank of Palestine played a major role in registering women in chambers of commerce, allowing them to move from the informal to the formal sector, and providing them business development services offered by chambers of commerce. Mr. Rizeq added that Palestinian chambers of commerce and industry continuously seek to provide services that are compatible with the needs of women business owners, especially owners of small and medium sized enterprise, and to achieve this, the chambers established special units and hired an entire staff to follow up on the needs of these women and offer them awareness training sessions and workshops in the various administrative, technical, financial and marketing fields.

All these efforts aim to promote the role of Palestinian women, and encourage them to initiate, think, work and penetrate economic life that contributes to strengthening economic projects and encouraging their owners, both men and women, to continuously develop their activities. These workshops were implemented for women entrepreneurs who are affiliated and not affiliated with Bank of Palestine, because the latter believes that the empowerment of women begins with securing their equal treatment in terms of rights and employment based duties within the bank, and providing a comfortable and appropriate work environment for women employees, as well as special privileges for working mothers.

During the workshops, activities were focused on spreading the awareness of women participants about the work conducted by the bank and the developmental and social roles it plays, clarifying the concepts of banking and all types of financial services provided by the banking sector, and how to benefit from these services to develop their projects. Topics covered include an introduction about the bank, the needs for banking services and how to obtain them, bank accounts and deposits, cheques, credit facilitations, types of cards and their uses and advantages, international financial transfers and their advantages, electronic banking services and other services that every women can obtain through the Felestineya Banking Literacy Program that aims to spread banking awareness among women.