Tell us more about SII program and the impact it aims to create in the Arab world.
SII (Social Innovation Incubator) for women’s employment was designed by social innovator Nezha Alaoui to be a measurable initiative that will empower 1,000 women social entrepreneurs to achieve the goal of all together placing 1 million low-income women in jobs across the Arab world. It will happen through an incubator program that will equip the 1,000 women of the program with training, resources and partnerships to become strong agents for low-income women in the workforce. What makes SII a unique impact project is its level of accountability.
While the SII will create opportunities for women entrepreneurs, what opportunities are we looking at for the existing women workforce?
SII will be continuously advocating for women’s employment among large companies, signing agreements with employment partners such as Mastercard and other key players to get their full support, and seeking the involvement of governments as well to advance the employment of women in the program.
How can fortune companies from across industries collaborate or contribute towards the SII in terms of knowledge sharing or even investments?
SII is looking to grow its ecosystem of partnerships; from expertise partners to employment partners or financial partners and advisory partners. Each of the fortune 500 companies can play a role in the initiative. Mastercard has taken the lead on it and social innovator Nezha Alaoui is planning to continue to knock at many doors to ensure of the success of this impact project that is much needed in the region.
Can you speak about some of the work that has already been carried out so far?
SII is an initiative powered by WOMEN CHOICE an international organization launched by Social innovator, author and impact influencer Nezha Alaoui. Women Choice has been active since 2018 in New York, and since 2011 under the Mayshad Group internationally. WOMEM CHOICE has been working closely with corporations, institutions and governments on advancing gender equality and women’s employment programs. Nezha expanded her organization to the MENA region with an aim to support women’s development in the Arab world. SII is a project she has designed in conversation with UN WOMEN to grasp a clear understanding of the challenges women face in the region and meet the impact criteria and accountability that is required by the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals’ Agenda for 2030.
How are you currently reaching out to the women entrepreneurs and how can one enroll in such initiatives?
SII is planning a series of launch events across the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, especially in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Doha, Cairo and Marrakech in the next 3 months to meet with local partners but also to source the first 20 women (out of the 1,000) social entrepreneurs that will be part of a pilot program that will first impact 20, 000 low income women to be placed in jobs. Womenchoice.org web platform offers an application form. As the partnerships grow, SII will be more present in universities, social media and women’s networks to be accessible to women who want to enrol on an impact journey to each support 1,000 low income women who need to be placed in concrete jobs.