To help improve access to employment and job inclusivity for people with disabilities, women, and refugees, Google.org - the philanthropic arm of Google - has announced 1.3M USD in grants to three NGOs working in the MENA region: Helm, IDare for Sustainable Development, and SPARK.

On December 7th 2021, Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, announced grants totalling $1.3 million for three non-profit organizations in the Middle East and North Africa to help equip entrepreneurs and job seekers with digital skills over the next two years.

The grantees, Helm,: IDare for Sustainable Development and SPARK will help reach people from diverse backgrounds in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and the UAE.

Google.org has worked to extend the reach of nonprofit innovators and connect them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, tools, and volunteers from around Google.

Access to employment can be challenging for many people, including persons with disabilities. To help improve access to employment and job inclusivity, Google.org will grant $400,000 to Helm, an NGO that promotes the inclusion and employment of persons with disabilities (PWD). 

Helm will run workshops in English and Arabic with sign language translation and closed captioning, that focus on digital literacy and English for business communication to help enhance attendees' digital and employability skills. The workshops will be held in Egypt, Jordan and the UAE over the next 18 months, and will reach over 1,000 PWD.

Helm will also reach out to a number of public and private entities to help create and increase employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and to connect employers with skilled job-seekers. By bringing in the public and private sector in their project development, Helm can ensure that training opportunities result in tangible income generation opportunities for participants.

Amena EL-Saie
CEO & Co-founder at Helm
Google.org funding allows Helm Academy to ensure access to quality education and training programs that consider the needs of persons with different disabilities towards ensuring better employment and development opportunities in the MENA region.
Helm, translating to “Dream”, is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the full inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in all aspects of life, and specifically, to facilitate their employment and ensure that private and public premises are accessible to all.

Similarly, many young refugees and internally displaced persons around the world have lost their jobs and sources of income due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic. To help tackle this, Google.org will provide a USD 600,000 grant to SPARK, an NGO that provides young people with tools to help them succeed in regions affected by conflict.

SPARK will host digital skills training sessions for 250 young refugees and host community members in Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine. It will also offer coaching and mentoring sessions for over 100 entrepreneurs, as well as launch a regional startup competition, to help empower them to grow their businesses. Similarly, SPARK will launch a digital networking platform to connect 1,500 entrepreneurs, university alumni, and job seekers to exchange learning experiences and opportunities.

Leontine Specker
Regional Program Director (Middle East) at SPARK
We are delighted to be Google.org grantees. The support from Google.org is opening doors for us to provide sustainable job opportunities for refugees and youth in the Middle East in markets that are in growing demand and responding to global trends. With the grant, we’ll support new tech startups and job placements in the tech and digital sectors across underserved and refugee communities in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine.
SPARK offers a variety of business and entrepreneurship programmes around the world. They believe that sustainable, economic growth is essential for the alleviation of poverty. By offering private-sector development services young people in conflict-affected regions, to improve their socioeconomic status.

Creating equal opportunities for women in Jordan, Google.org will be providing a $300,000 grant to ‘IDare for Sustainable Development’, which  is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering positive youth development for sustainable change. IDare’s mission is to create changemakers among Jordanian youth, particularly women, by providing them with skills and hoping to create a more sustainable future. The grant will be used to train 200 young women in Jordan, including those without previous work experience, on a range of competencies such as product marketing and design thinking.‘IDare for Sustainable Development’ will also provide training on the safe use of machinery in the craft industry such as digital fabrication and carpentry. The program will last for three years and falls under the ‘Creative Hub’, which is part of IDare. It is important to note that the grant is part of Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls that aims to fund organizations creating pathways to prosperity for women and girls.

I-Dare for Sustainable Development is a l Jordanian social venture based on social marketing (community change behavior) from the early stages of idea development to the successful achievement of the desired impact.

The latest grants are part of Google’s commitment to enhancing digital skills in MENA and supporting business growth. Last year, Google pledged to help one million people and businesses in MENA learn digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021. Over 950,000 participants have been involved since the launch across the region. The new Google.org grants will help expand these digital training opportunities to reach more participants across the region.

NO Comment 12th December 2021

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