Helping women turn their love for cooking into a career

Première Urgence Internationale has developed a regional approach to respond the needs of the populations affected by the Syrian crisis. In Lebanon, the NGO contributes to enhance access to the labor market, by providing vocational trainings. In May 2019, 23 women have been trained to professional cooking. 

Cooking training activities

To bring support to vulnerable populations in Lebanon, Première Urgence Internationale intervenes in the Akkar, one of the most under-developed districts of the country and main host area for Syrian families. In May 2019, the NGO implemented a training project, with the provision of vocational training in cooking.

This action aims at improving professional skills for vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugees. “We believe that training has the power to bring people together and break down social isolation and economic barriers for refugees”, Duc-Bang Nguyen says, head of mission in the country. This could lead to women’s entrepreneurship development.

Break down economic barriers

The cooking vocational training, 120 hours long, was initiated at the beginning of May, with 23 women participants. The training took place in ODA’s premises, a partner Lebanese NGO. Première Urgence Internationale’s teams noticed swift and rapid progress among the participants, who showed great commitment to the training. They learned all the basic fundamentals to become a chef: how to prepare new dishes and methods on how to present them.

Chef Antoine with a woman who learns the basics of cooking.

Chef Antoine, a very famous Lebanese chef, was involved in this training to help women learn the basics of cooking.

One of my dreams is to become a chef and learn different kinds of dishes from different cultures”, Suzan said. Like her, many Lebanese women attended the training. Syrian refugees also benefited from the activity. Like Manal, who had faced many challenges and struggled from many social and economic issues: “When I fled Syria to Lebanon, I didn’t have high expectations other than safety. In fact, I expected to spend my days idly. But I learned about this opportunity of cooking vocational training, and decided to enlist.  Now, I feel that I have a purpose in my society. The profession I learned made me become a strong and confident woman. Me and the other beneficiaries are all friends now, I also gained a proper social life.”

Enhance women’s entrepreneurship

This training project aims at creating an income-generating and self-sustained catering line by a small group of Syrian and Lebanese women. Among the participants, 6 of them have decided to continue on the job training in the private sector. All of them will also attend soft skills training, in order to know how to apply for similar job opportunities.

“The project’s purpose is to introduce the notion of  women’s entrepreneurship to talented women who never previously thought of making use of their skills”, head of mission Duc-Bang Nguyen analyzes. This initiative implemented by Première Urgence Internationale would help these women improve their livelihoods and become financially independent.

Women's entrepreneurship in professional cook training

The participants to this cooking vocational training, with Première Urgence Internationale’s teams and Chef Antoine.

This project has been funded thanks to the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), with the support of the World Food Program (WFP).

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