Essma ben Hamida and Essia Nciri, two leaders from our Tunisian network member, enda inter-arabe, were featured by The Montreal Gazette on a list of women who were instrumental in transforming the political landscape of Tunisia.

Here are excerpts from the article:

Essma Ben Hamida

Eager to break barriers, Ben Hamida is a leading proponent of social and economic justice for women in post-revolution Tunisia.

With her husband, Michael Cracknell, she directs Enda Inter-Arabe, a Tunisian microcredit organization that since 1995 has helped lift more than 400,000 clients, mostly women, out of poverty through loans for businesses as well as financial and business training.

She responded to the country’s unemployment crisis by offering a special loan program to young people for enterprises larger than most microcredit schemes.

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Essia Nciri

The revolution may not have delivered the changes Tunisians dreamed the government would provide, but behind the scenes it has spurred support for the marginalized from women like Nciri, who runs Enda Inter-Arabe Microfinance’s branch in Sidi Bouzid, birthplace of the Arab Spring.

Nciri, 32, knows about poverty. Her mother supported a family of seven by raising animals when her father died after a long illness.

After graduating from university with a degree in multimedia, she began working as a credit agent in 2005 when the branch first opened. She supervises 17 loan officers handling 7,000 clients.

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News link: The Montreal Gazette