G-Gateway is pioneered by the two women remarking their ingenuity amid the pandemic, climate change crisis, and in a male-dominated industry. It is the first female-led tech company in Gaza founded by Bassma Ali and Tasha Abu Safieh.
Out of the uncertainties of an unusual year, the ICT company has set out to support women by providing flexible job opportunities in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the World Bank Group including gender equality and decent work for economic growth.
As one of the 7 winners of World Bank Group’s SDGs and Her competition for North Africa and the Middle East region, G-Gateway has made a great impact creating digital learning opportunities for both young women and men in Gaza as well as in West Bank by employing online learning resources and innovative virtual training. The tech company emerged as one of the winners of the above-mentioned annual competition out of 2,400 women entrepreneurs and has successfully partnered with UN Women, UNDP, and Wharton School Zicklin Center to realize the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to Bassma, so far about 262 unemployed youth have been given the opportunity to work remotely. The tech company aims to improve learning globally and to assist businesses to grow during global challenges. Currently, over 1000 graduates have been trained with 150 long-term and over 1000 short-term jobs created via its ICT outsourcing business services. Though the majority of the benefactors are women so as to support them in taking care of their families amid the pandemic and to increase productivity.
“How did G-Gateway get here?” Other women and men would ask.
The road to putting young women before computers in Gaza wasn’t paved with a 9 to 5 huge salary job to start with. Bassma was without a job in Gaza after graduating as a software engineer among 1,400 ICT fellow graduates. Despite a jaw-dropping rate of youth unemployment at 61%, it was difficult for women in IT to land a job. But with keen eyes she spotted that there was a chance to breakthrough:
“The unemployment problem was chronic,” said Bassma. “I spotted an opportunity, by tapping digital work in the freelancing and outsourcing industries. The ICT sector is less vulnerable during crises because it is always in demand and can work across borders,” she said.
“Men can work at any time… Most of the big companies that can afford electricity operate from 8 am to 4 pm. Smaller companies can’t afford generators, so when there is no electricity during the day, they ask employees to work during the night. Women are not allowed to stay away from home at night, so they can’t compete with men, who can work at all hours.”
In building digital opportunity, G-Gateway pays for electricity and provides laptops for its workers and trainees to work and learn effectively at home. With these in place, it reduces stress especially for struggling women, pregnant women, or those with kids.
“Our vision is to change human lives… We want young people to be in control of their destiny and empowered to change the world for the better. The digital space is one of the few places where you can create change beyond all the impossibility that we face in Gaza every day… My own struggle and experience here have inspired me to continue, to deliver productive work from home despite conflict and the pandemic,” she said.
By Elijah Christopher,