Muscat: Banat Oman, PDO’s social enterprise has opened its retail outlet in MGM where visitors can buy products made by Omani women.
The shop contains everything from food items like cheese and sweets to bags and soaps. These are sold by SMEs that are setup by Omani women through PDOs support. “It’s wonderful to be here at the launch of this outlet. We had a small store in MQ earlier but now we have seen the growth. Our investment into this is just a fraction of the return. The model is sustainable and we have seen huge demand for the products that are showcased, Raoul Restucci, MD at PDO said.
Studies carried by PDO shows that every rial spent on this project reaped a return of 7.2.
“ It has a huge financial benefit but to analyse the social and psychological aspect is even more important. The confident and determination these women have achieved through this is incredible,” Restucci added.
Banat Oman a vocational training initiative to imbue low-income women with the skills they need for sustainable employment. It has trained over 300 women since its launch in 2015.
The Company has invested OMR150,000 to initiate the project, in partnership with the Omani Women’s Association, to train a number of women from across the country in various handicrafts, such as tailoring and embroidery, dairy and bakery products manufacture, leather craft, camel bone carving and silversmithing.
As part the initiative, a new dairy in wilayat Taqa was established. At the dairy, women from low income families have been trained to produce a range of products, including yoghurt, cheese, butter and cream, which make use of the plentiful supply of milk in the surrounding area.
It has already secured a contract to supply the Lulu hypermarket chain. The dairy has also achieved global recognition, after receiving a prestigious award from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, which the women say is a tremendous incentive for them to keep progressing.
Marines and sailors from USS Anchorage (LPD-23), an amphibious transport dock which recently paid an official visit to the Port of Duqm are also customers of projects made through this initiative.
American sailors from the craft spent almost US$1,500 on a selection of Banat Oman goods which were displayed by the scheme’s marketing partner, Al Hathaifa Modern Trading Enterprises. These included bags, cushions, perfumed mini dishdashas, t-shirts, bowls and bookmarks.