Social Rights Access through Technology Training for Arab Minority Women in Israel

Social Rights Access through Technology Training for Arab Minority Women in Israel

Israel
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Many Arab women in Israel do not exercise their social rights and forfeit them through non-fulfillment of their duties. The reason is lack of knowledge and access to information; the result is unnecessary poverty. We will train Arab women to access their national insurance accounts and social rights information online, increasing their social rights knowledge and their economic situation.

About You
Organization:
Kayan - Feminist Organization
Section 1: About You
First Name

Bettina

Last Name

Suleiman

Website
Country

, H

Section 2: About Your Organization
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

Organization Name

Kayan - Feminist Organization

Organization Phone

+972-4-8641291

Organization Address

118 Arlozorov St., Haifa 33276

Organization Country

, H

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Innovation
What makes your idea unique?

Our idea uniquely enables Arab women to improve their economic situation promptly by providing them with access to social rights information. It uses a simple and fast method to counteract the poverty among Arab women in Israel, focusing on women exercising their social rights and thus increasing their income. Most other economic empowerment programs focus on micro-enterprise, small businesses or other job-training programs, but many women cannot make use of these programs due to their age, family situation or because of lack of jobs.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Tell us about the social impact of your innovation. Please include both numbers and stories as evidence of this impact

Arab-Israeli women will increase their skills to handle their financial matters, something perceived as a male task in this society with traditional gender roles for men and women. These women will become more pro-active and knowledgeable about their individual social rights. They will rely less on male family members to handle their money matters, and become economically more independent from their husbands. Many will be elevated from poverty through claiming a social benefit that they were not aware of before, and will be less likely to fall into poverty in cases of divorce or death of their husbands. Overall, the increased economic activity status will lead to a general empowerment of Arab women in the Arab society and in the Israeli society in general.
In the past, Kayan - Feminist Organization held economic empowerment workshops for Arab women which included imparting knowledge about economic and social rights and empowering women to claim these rights. The impact was astonishing; for example, in a group of single mothers, 100% of the participants claimed and received tax reductions for single mothers they were not aware of before. This had an empowering impact on the women in general, as they realized that they can take matters into their own hands and rely on their own strength and skills in general. It changed their self-perception in a society where divorced and widowed women are mainly perceived as helpless, incapable and in need of support, thus forced into passivity.

Problem: Describe the primary problem(s) that your innovation is addressing

The Poverty Report of Israel’s National Insurance Institute of 2008 revealed that 49.6% of all Arab families in Israel live under the poverty line, compared to 19.9% of all Israeli families. The link between ethnicity and poverty in Israel is appalling. A major reason is Arab women's lack of access to social rights information. Women, especially in traditional societies, often perceive matters of personal economy as a male task. 80% of Arab women do not participate in the workforce. Many Arab women in Israel have never heard of the social benefits and tax reductions to which they are entitled, and naturally, most have no idea how to claim these entitlements either. Information on such matters published by the state does not reach many Arab women who do not read Hebrew, the language of most print publications of the National Insurance Institute. The information is available in Arabic online, but many Arab women cannot use computers and do not surf the Internet. A problem caused by women’s unawareness of their benefits is that it can make women an easy victim of professional misconduct. Lacking better knowledge, many women do not answer back when the staff of social welfare institutions tells them that they are not entitled to any benefits, or that there is no money to pay them the benefits.

Actions: Describe the steps that you are taking to make your innovation a success. What might prevent that success?

We train Arab women basic computer and Internet skills to enable them to access the website of the National Insurance Institute, where social rights information is published in Arabic. We also train women to access their individual national insurance accounts through the website, enabling them to know about their personal situation - which benefits they receive and what fees they have to pay, as women sometimes forfeit their social rights by non-fulfillment of their duties to due ignorance and passivity. We encourage women to make use of these skills on a regular basis, and to stay informed about their personal situation and social rights in general. We ensure that women have access to computers and the Internet either at home or through community centers, public libraries, etc. Finally, we enable access to support for women in case they encounter problems while using the skills learned.
The project thus addresses all risks that might prevent its success: lack of access to necessary equipment, and the risk that women fall back into passivity after the program, especially if they encounter problems with utilizing their skills.

Results: Describe the expected results of these actions over the next three years. Please address each year separately, if possible

The program will enable Arab-Israeli women to know their entitlements to social benefits and tax reductions and to know how to claim them. They will be able to receive general and individual information in Arabic, which is only possible online, and will thus not anymore need to rely on Hebrew information provided at the branch (since most clerks working there do not speak Arabic) that they cannot understand sufficiently. They will be more assertive and skilled in approaching the respective institutions and in asking for information, and will be less vulnerable to professional misconduct. The ultimate result of the before named changes is that workshop participants will claim and receive social benefits and tax reductions that they did not receive before, and thus their economic situation as well as that of their families will improve.

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$1000 - 4000

Does your innovation seek to have an impact on public policy?

No

If your innovation seeks to impact public policy, how?

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Idea phase

Does your organization have a board of directors or an advisory board?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with businesses?

No

Does your organization have a non monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how partnerships could be critical to the success of your innovation

As a grassroots project with women's groups in rural areas, the project will be developed and implemented in cooperation with local women's groups, community NGOs, community centers, and local authorities. These partners will use their contacts in the community especially to find and convince suitable participants for the projects, but also to provide necessary infrastructure such as meeting rooms.

We would like to learn more about how your initiative is financially supported. Please explain your business plan/revenue model

Kayan is funded almost exclusively by private foundations in Europe, Israel and the United States. Present donors of Kayan's economic empowerment project, who would support this initiative, are Mama Cash and the Levi Lassen Foundation in the Netherlands. A small percentage of Kayan's funding comes from private individuals, municipal funding and self-generated fees.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

The idea was developed as part of our work for Arab women's economic empowerment that imparts economic and social rights knowledge to women and raises their awareness of the importance to take financial precautions for the future, through workshops, conferences and publications. In our work with women, we realized that most women are unaware that they can access information about their social rights and other economic issues online, as well as find contact information where they can inquire further. Even if they are aware, they lack the computer and Internet skills and do not know where relevant information can be found. This includes not only the website of the National Insurance Institute, but also social rights information published online on our website www.kayan.org.il. We realized the potential of teaching women basic computer and Internet skills and directing them to a number of relevant websites, most importantly, the National Insurance Institute, to provide easy and broad access to social rights information.

Tell us about the person—the social innovator—behind this idea.

Rafah Anabtawi is the Coordinator of Kayan's women's economic empowerment program “An Active Approach towards Personal Economy”. She is social worker with a degree from Haifa University, and an expert facilitator with more than a decade of experience in group work. She managed a center to combat drug abuse in Nazareth, as well as doing facilitation work with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI).

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Email from Changemakers

If through another source, please provide the information
ICRW
Does your project address any of the following barriers to women’s technology access and use?

Social norms.

If you checked any of the boxes above, please explain how.

According to the norms of Arab society, women are responsible for the domestic sphere - taking care of the house and the children - while men are responsible of the public sphere. 80% of the Arab women in Israel do not work outside of the house, and they are not required to handle financial and administrative matters. Many women do not have their own bank account. Women are alienated from the economic and financial aspects of their lives, which are handled by husbands or other male family members. Naturally, women and girls do not acquire the skills to handle such matters, including the usage of computers and the Internet. Lacking those skills, they continue to be dependent on others to handle certain aspects of their lives, and become increasingly timid and hesitant to engage in these matters. Even women who want to interfere in household economy believe that they have no right of doing so, because they do not contribute to the household income by work outside of the house.
By training and empowering women to penetrate and handle their financial and economic matters with the help of technology, the project addresses the gender barriers installed by social norms.

Does your project involve women in one or more of the following stages of the technology lifecycle? Identification of the problem the technology will solve:

Technology training.

If you checked any of the boxes above, please explain how you will ensure women’s involvement in each relevant phase of the technology lifecycle.

The project will involve women in technology training (computer and Internet usage) both as trainers and as trainees.

If women are a focus of your project, how did this focus evolve?

The project focused on women from its conception..

Which type of women will your project reach directly?

Rural, Low income.

In what ways does your project team/leadership involve women?

It is led by a woman/women., The core project team includes women..

Has your organization formed any new partnerships in response to this challenge? If so, with what type/s of organization/s?

Non-profit/NGO/community-based organization, Women's organization, Other.

Has your project leadership had prior experience with the following?

Working with women, Working with technologies, Working on innovation.

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