NAMA, UK Minister of Arts explore new market opportunities for women

SHARJAH, 23rd April, 2018 (WAM) — The Sharjah-based NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, NAMA, and its subsidiaries have developed several high-impact flagship programmes and initiatives to enhance and highlight contributions of local women in society and create equal opportunities for them in global value chains.

In a recent move to further mobilise these efforts by strengthening international collaborations beneficial to the women they support, the NAMA Executive Board met UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis, at the Executive Office of H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi in Sharjah.

Representing NAMA and its affiliate organisations at the meeting were Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA; Erum Mazher Alvie, Senior Advisor at HHEO; Nada Al Lawati, Executive Board Member of NAMA; Azza Alsharif, Associate – Collaborative Programmes at Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, and Lina Hamdan, Manager of Programme Management Operations at NAMA.


The UK delegation also included Gavin Anderson, Director of the British Council, Paula Peacock, British Embassy Abu Dhabi, and Emily Mansell, Private Secretary to the Minister.

The two parties met to discuss how existing ties between NAMA and the UK in business and culture can be furthered to facilitate future collaboration in areas of women’s economic participation, sustainable incomes, new entrepreneurial opportunities and increased access to UK markets.

The delegation was briefed about NAMA’s core objectives and their projects for women, with a special emphasis on Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, a subsidiary of NAMA, which has been committed to empowering women professionally and socially, across the UAE, Middle East, North Africa, South East, and Central Asia regions, by partnering with organisations locally and internationally to champion female artisans and designers, working in both traditional and contemporary sectors of the crafts.

Ellis was introduced to the many initiatives Irthi has launched in the UAE to develop new market opportunities for Emirati female artisans practicing traditional crafts in an effort to provide a more sustainable future for them.

“Culture is an important tool in strengthening the relationship between our two nations. After the enormous success of the UK/UAE Year of Culture collaboration, I was delighted to meet NAMA to hear how their support of traditional crafts increases opportunities for women across the region,” Ellis said.

Underlining the key aspects of the meeting, BinKaram added, “The NAMA Executive Board discussed details of the role of Irthi in creating an enabling environment for Emirati women practicing both traditional and contemporary crafts. We laid special emphasis on the key aspects of each of Irthi’s programmes, including the Bidwa Social Development Programme, Azyame Fashion Entrepreneurs Programme, initiatives targeting youth, as well as the international collaborations, and how they all work to empower artisans. At the same time, Irthi continues to modernise and elevate the crafts through vocational training and design intervention to make them more relevant to fashion and contemporary arts.”

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