Libyan food delivery service looks to serve up gender equality

Fatima Nasser. (Yummy)
Updated 11 July 2018
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Libyan food delivery service looks to serve up gender equality

  • She now has 300 cooks ready to start work, having trialled the service successfully with 20 in the southern Libyan city of Sabha
  • Working with Yummy is wonderful and has made things a lot easier

LONDON: Fatima Nasser’s new business had barely got off the ground when she was accused of being a foreign spy for giving women employment opportunities in Libya, her war-torn home country.
The accusation was a measure of the opposition working women face in the conservative Muslim country, which has been in turmoil since a NATO-backed revolt toppled long-time leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Just one in four Libyan women is employed, according to World Bank data — a situation Nasser, 21, hopes to change with a new food delivery app that allows them to earn money from their own kitchens.
“I’m just doing something to help women that I know deserve better. They need opportunities, just like males,” Yasser told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The app, Yummy, connects women who cook at home with customers wanting to order food, in much the same way as Uber connects private drivers with would-be passengers.
It acts as a conduit, offering anonymity options for the cooks, and allows women to take food orders from men without having to speak to them.
“You have a society that has been closed for 100 years, you can’t just open a communication gate between two genders that were not supposed to talk to each other unless they were married to do business,” said Nasser.
She now has 300 cooks ready to start work, having trialled the service successfully with 20 in the southern Libyan city of Sabha — among them 26-year-old Ekhlas Ekrim.
Ekrim has been cooking and selling her food on Yummy for four months in Sabha, where a lack of security and ongoing fighting between rival armed groups have prevented her from going out to work to earn much-needed cash.
“Here they won’t accept that women work. Here your father or brother is responsible to give you money and everything that you need as a woman in the house,” said Ekrim, who lives with her parents, two brothers and two sisters, via WhatsApp.
“Working with Yummy is wonderful and has made things a lot easier. The work itself is not hard, society is.”

HOPE FOR CHANGE
Oil-rich Libya was once one of the wealthiest countries in the Middle East, but its economy has been crippled by conflict and political division.
Security in many parts of the country is poor and the protracted conflict has meant more women having to earn a living as men go off to fight, says development organization MEDA, which teaches business skills to women in Libya.
“Culturally it’s maybe not as appropriate for women to work outside the house. An app like that could circumnavigate some of those issues,” said MEDA director Adam Bramm.
Last year Yummy was one of three winners of the nationwide Enjazi competition, which aims to encourage entrepreneurship to help diversify Libya’s oil-dependent economy.
Nasser won business training and advice from the MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region and Tatweer Research, which support entrepreneurship in the region.
The prize included a trip to Britain to meet and learn from successful entrepreneurs.
“If a woman started a start-up (in Libya) she would not have the same encouragement and support that her brother had,” she said.
“But hopefully this will change. People are starting to believe in females more and more now.”


Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas enjoy mini honeymoon in Oman

Updated 39 min 17 sec ago
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Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas enjoy mini honeymoon in Oman

DUBAI: Actress Priyanka Chopra and her new husband Nick Jonas reportedly escaped to Oman for a quick break this week after their headline-making nuptials in India.
The Bollywood star and US singer tied the knot in an extravagant wedding ceremony in the Umaid Bhavan Palace in the Indian city of Jodhpur in early December — a multiple-day celebration that took the international media by storm, with newspapers around the world reporting on the happy occasion.
The newly-married couple then took a short secret trip to Oman, according to media reports.
The newlyweds seem to have enjoyed the short honeymoon before their Dec. 20 wedding reception for Bollywood guests in Mumbai.
They shared snaps from their Oman holiday on Instagram, including one photo the bride captioned, “Marital bliss they say.”

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Marital bliss they say..

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The photo featured a makeup-free Chopra cozied up to her new husband, with the open sea and a mountain range visible in the distance.
The couple married in both Christian and Hindu wedding ceremonies, with the bride, groom and other members of the wedding party wearing outfits designed by Ralph Lauren for the former.
The Christian ceremony was officiated by the groom’s father, Paul Kevin Jonas, People magazine reported.
The 36-year-old star and fashion icon chose a stunning red outfit by Indian designer to the stars Sabyasachi Mukherji for the Hindu ceremony.
In an interview published in People magazine, the couple expressed their happiness about tying the knot.
“It was all tears. All tears. I could not hold it in. I think I was nervous and scared … But as soon as the curtains opened and I saw his face it was just like everything settled and I knew I was making the best decision of my life,” Chopra said.
Chopra, who headlined three seasons of the ABC crime drama “Quantico,” is one of Bollywood’s biggest female leads with acting credits in several big-ticket films.
Jonas, 26, and his brothers Kevin and Joe formed a band, The Jonas Brothers, in 2005 and soared to fame as members of Disney’s stable of teenage stars. The band split up in 2013.