Mid-term Evaluation of the project to foster enabling ecosystems for social enterprises in the MENA Region
Title MedUp! Promoting social entrepreneurship in the Mediterranean region
Location Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia
Project leader Oxfam Italia
Local partners Enactus in Morocco, TSCE – Tunisian Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Agricultural Development Association (P.A.R.C.) in Palestine, JOHUD – Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development, SEKEM Development Foundation in Egypt
The project MedUp! is based on EU regional strategic view conceiving Social Entrepreneurship as a fundamental tool in generating positive social and environmental impact for local communities, while laying the foundations for the effective empowerment of women and youth.
MedUp! aims at tackling the four main challenges present in the MENA Region for the creation of an enabling ecosystem for social enterprises. The first concerns the regulatory framework and policy environment in MENA countries which are restrictive and hamper the smooth development of SEs. Secondly, Social Entrepreneurship Support Organizations are not fully able to provide adapted and innovative technical support services, mainly due to a lack of skills, tools and effective high-quality support (financial and technical) tailored to SEs’ needs. In addition, they often struggle to reach SEs in rural areas. Thirdly, communities are not properly informed and sensitized on the positive effects that SEs can generate in terms of economic development and of social inclusion. This is often due to a lack of a common definition and understanding of SE, its characteristics and potentialities. Moreover, communities are not fully aware of the impact that social norms and institutional barriers have in limiting gender equitable participation to the labour-force. And, finally, key stakeholders at macro, meso and micro levels appear disconnected from each other and communication flows are not smooth enough; women in the MENA region face tougher barriers to enter the labour-force than in any other region globally, also due to entrenched gender norms and institutional barriers.
The general objective of the project is to promote and support an enabling eco-system for social enterprises, which are considered a valuable driver for socio-economic growth. More specifically, the project aims at improving the inclusiveness of the labour market especially for youth and women.
Social Economy Unit carried out the mid-term evaluation of the project to assess which results have been achieved in the first 24 months of the project.
Given the constraints imposed by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, all the data collection activities were carried out remotely. To adapt to this unexpected change, ARCO adopted some practical adjustments and integrations to the data collection tools and workplan in order to preserve the reliability and quality of data and their adherence to the particular features of the context.
The qualitative and quantitative primary data collected have been triangulated with the project documentation sent to ARCO by Oxfam IT in order to develop an extensive analysis of the early results of the intervention.
Overall, 28 semi-structured individual interviews with key informants had been carried out, along with 4 Structured Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and an online survey completed by 51 MedUp! Social Enterprises. 6 social entrepreneurs of the project were also involved to elaborate and disseminate their story as case-studies.
For the discussion on the results of the mid-term evaluation read the report here