September 2019 – June 2020
Based on a UN Women agreement, LFPADE partnered with Visionaris, a business and management consultants to implement a project that aimed to build the capacity of 200 women in food safety & production and to place at least 170 women in SMEs to do a paid internship, the project aimed as well as to build capacity of Khraibet El Jundi Women Coop in Akkar to become a sustainable operational cooperative.
The LFPADE & VISINARIS team coordinated with 7 Social Development Centers (SDCs) belonging to the Ministry of Social Affairs to identify the beneficiaries and to collaborate in implementing the activities.
250 women (Lebanese & Syrian refugees); were identified in three regions North Lebanon (Tripoli & Akkar), Mount Lebanon (Jbeil & Ghazir) & Beirut.
The selection of beneficiaries took into consideration the following criteria:
- Personal Information (age, nationality, marital status)
- Educational background (school level, diplomas, degree if any)
- Experience background (previous work, years of experience)
- Their interest in attending food production training sessions (motivation)
- Knowledge about the training program (general information, topic familiarity)
- Whether they have aspirations to start a small business (benefit of the training)
From the 250 beneficiaries that were identified, 204 women participated in the training courses offered, which were then divided into 8 groups of 25 beneficiaries, across Lebanon from North to Beirut:
- Khreibet el Jundi (Akkar): 1 group, 29 women
- Qoubbeh (Tripoli): 1 group, 23 women
- Bab Tabbaheh (Tripoli): 2 groups: 49 women
- Jbeil (Mount Lebanon): 2 groups, 50 women
- Ghazir (Mount Lebanon): 1 group, 26 women
- Tariq Jdideh (Beirut): 1 group, 27 women
Each group received 9 training sessions over 9 days as per the following:
- 2 days: Business Development Services (pricing/marketing/social media)
- 3 days: Food Safety (GAP/GHP,GMP/HACCP)
- 4 days: Production (catering/sweet & savory/pastries & dough)
In order to place 170 women in the market, LFPADE and Visionaris established an action plan to define the selection of the SMEs (Small- Medium Enterprises) and monitoring methodologies to ensure the safety of beneficiaries.
The training program provided the beneficiaries the skills to work in restaurants & cafes, bakeries, social kitchens, cooperatives, fairs and exhibitions, oriental sweets shops and industries or factories.
LFPADE and Visionaris were involved in all communication between SMEs and the beneficiary, to ensure the best interest of all parties. The program ran for a period of 2-3 weeks, 5 days per week and for 4 hours a day, rounding it up in total to 50 hours. They also dedicated personnel from their team to be on-field coordinators and perform monitoring visits to different areas, and ensure the smooth implementation of the program, checking attendance, taking pictures and following up with beneficiary and SME owner.
In order to expand the capacity of Khraibet El Jundi’s cooperative, and based on the initial assessment, it was agreed that the coop should move towards a catering business, in addition to producing the two signature products, strawberry jam and rose water Syrup.
The first activity implemented was a training program to increase their capacity in management, production of food items and marketing. The second activity was the acquisition of various essential equipment for the coop to work efficiently.
The cooperative’s members completed all 24 training sessions which included:
- Management (1 session): highlighting the main activities of the cooperative and its objectives.
- Human Resources (1 session): in-detail description of the roles and responsibilities of women workers and definition of the coop’s regulations throughout production.
- Accounting (1 session): highlighting the importance of accounting systems for organizational, financial and data control purposes.
- Procurement (1 session): selection and evaluation of all purchased material.
- Food Safety (4 sessions): a systematic approach on all food safety procedures, from raw materials to distribution of the end product, including production control, traceability system, hygiene practices, etc.
- Food Production (11 sessions): teaching new standard recipes of catering items. It included a wide variety of delicious Lebanese and international specialties for optimal market presence and competition.
- Marketing (4 sessions): establishing an efficient marketing system that distributes and markets cooperative products and catering services following defined strategies.
- Branding (1 session): understanding the importance of their products’ image and identity in order to compete with other brands and increase their sales. This session also served as a brainstorming session to discuss the cooperative’s new business model.
The coaching program followed as a continuity of the training program, where women get to apply what they learned. A total of 21 coaching sessions were implemented and they included: Management, HR, Accounting, Procurement, Food Safety, Food production, Marketing, Branding.
Based on Khreibet El Jundi cooperative preliminary assessment report, training activities and outcomes, LFPADE and Visionaris customized 7 informative manuals to cater to the cooperative’s needs, and the nature and type of their activities and operations.
From personalized HR tasks and team skills management to detailed food production information and recipes, these 7 manuals will assist women in facilitating any process for the cooperative in the future.
As a final stage, LFPADE & Visionaris dedicated an amount of 15,000 USD to equip Khreibet Jundi’s cooperative with new kitchen tools and equipment to optimize the workers’ productivity, and food quality.
This project was implemented during a very turbulent & difficult period, as Lebanon was facing multiple crises; however, it was able to achieve its objective and provide the beneficiaries with an opportunity to work and enhance the livelihood of their families.