Lara Hassoun, Chief Operating Officer, AEP Lebanon

Lara Hassoun, Chief Operating Officer, AEP Lebanon

The support provided by AEP in creating and sustaining economic activities has a significant impact on women. Access to credit has enabled women to set up and/or develop income generating activities.

Furthermore, at AEP, we still believe that it is necessary to complement the microcredit provided to women with business creation support services (through training, technical assistance, etc.). Women account for 49% of the total AEP portfolio and “empowering women” still remains our ultimate goal. Over the last three years, AEP has set up many projects for women, supporting and strengthening their integration into the business sector, by granting them loans at preferential rates or at no additional cost, and by providing free training sessions on communication, accounting, management skills, etc., so that they are in a position to launch their projects. To date, AEP has trained around 3,500 women living in all urban and rural regions.

AEP offers support for creating and developing micro-enterprises, in parallel with financing. This support is available for all female micro-entrepreneurs and is provided by experienced specialists, trained to provide this service. The support covers different areas of training:

  • Commercial business development
    • Communication
    • Leadership skills
    • Help setting up an accounting system
    • Assistance with administrative procedures

AEP promotes microfinance to women as a way of increasing their access to capital, which encourages them to set up and run their own businesses, earn an income, reduce poverty and strengthen their social status. In addition, the support provided by AEP strengthens their capacity for self-integration and organisation in the socio-economic sphere, in particular their participation in covering their personal and household needs, and it gives them experience in solidarity and mutual aid networks.

Through its activities and the support offered to women, AEP seeks not only to fight against poverty experienced by women and their households, but above all, to empower them socially and economically. Women tell us constantly that what is important to them is having at least one income-generating activity and being able to sustain it. In their view, this is the only way to ensure their financial autonomy and strengthen their purchasing power, along with the financial situation of their household. This is why women are making the most of the resources available to them.

Thanks to the services offered by AEP, women are more confident. Today, they are proudly working to earn their own money and contribute towards all of their household expenses.