As part of its regional response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Union for the Mediterranean (UmF) launched a Grant Scheme for Employment Promotion in 2020 aiming at improving the employment situation, especially in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. The Grant Scheme funded 4 cooperation projects.
To showcase the work done and the lessons learned by the awarded projects, the Closing Ceremony of the UfM Grant Scheme for Employment Promotion was organized at the Union for the Mediterranean headquarters in Barcelona on the 14th of July 2022, bringing together multiple stakeholders and partners from both shores of the Mediterranean.
Women, young people, social enterprises, and MSMEs were strongly affected by the pandemic. Consequently, the projects focused mainly on these categories.
The 4 projects benefitted 18k people in seven Member States – Greece, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, and Tunisia. They tackled the labor challenges in the fields of entrepreneurship, women empowerment, sustainable tourism, education, and research with an overall budget of €1.13 million.
The project “Flower” aimed to increase women workers’ awareness of their socio-economic rights, the health risks of the pandemic, and of the opportunities available in terms of law, funds, and functioning of the market, in order to achieve better working conditions, production processes, quality and hygiene of food products, distribution channels and access to local and national markets.
The MAST (Mediterranean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism post-COVID) project aimed to reboot tourism by introducing new business ideas, marketing and communication strategies, and renewed dialogue among MSMEs and public authorities.
RISE (Resilience, and Innovation through Strengthened Entrepreneurship), aimed to increase economic resilience and employment opportunities for vulnerable groups in Morocco and Tunisia. It trained 20 SMEs with 120 employees, 40 social organizations with 200 technicians, and 100 young aspiring entrepreneurs.
The SEARChED project aimed to promote the economic growth of enterprises and improve the business environment by developing resources and services for MSMEs, focusing on the agri-food sector in Tunisia and Jordan, and the energy efficiency sector in Lebanon.
On May 18, in Marrakech, the 5th UfM Ministerial on Employment and Labour launched a “UfM Hub for Jobs, Trade, and Investment”, run by the German and Spanish Development Cooperation.
Within this framework, the UfM will set up more editions of the region-wide Grant Scheme on Employment Promotion, with a focus on young people and women.