After 3 years of hard work, determination and success, the project “Promoting Hima Women Empowerment for Conservation and Livelihood” funded by the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality has come to an end. The closing ceremony took place on the 6th of November, 2015 in the beautiful city of Anjar that brought together a large number of people including local and national authorities, local and surrounding community members, donors, NGOs and especially women. Speeches were given by the mayor of Anjar Municipality, SPNL Hima Programs Officer, Head of Armenian Red Cross in Anjar and the Regional Programme Specialist of the UN Women Fund for Gender Equality in Lebanon Ms rana Houjeiri. All were very pleased with the project outcomes throughout the past 3 years and aimed for further future achievements and sustainability for gender equality and women empowerment. A brief presentation about the project and its major achievements was given by the Project Manager followed by short videos of each Hima site involved in the project.
After this, all participants proceeded to witness the opening of the kiosk or “Hima Shop” at the entrance of the ruins in Anjar. This ceremony was led by an official religious opening to commemorate the initiative under the UN Women project in the presence of the Mayor of Anjar as well as Mrs. Rana El-Houjeiri. The “Hima Shop” or “دكانة حمى عنجر” will serve as an outlet to market ‘Souk El Hima’ products made by the women throughout the project. This will help ensure economic empowerment for the women as well as provide income generating activities that is important for future sustainability. This is officially the first outlet that was opened in the Hima sites after two other outlets in Beirut. ‘Souk El Hima’ is a major achievement of the project that evolved into an initiative and is moving from one Hima site to another, hoping to add two more outlets in both Hima Qoleileh and Hima Fekha by end of December 2015. These outlets serve as a market place for the women hand-made products and handicrafts that ensures marketing opportunities for future sustainability. All this was further strengthened by the partnership with the private sector- Bioland, which is an organic producing company that is working in close collaboration with SPNL to market Souk El Hima products at local and national levels.
The opening was continued by a welcome reception which highlighted Armenian culture, through the presented Armenian food and beverages prepared by the women.