The Maavarim Center in the Bedouin sector in the Negev is based on the model of the Maavarim rural employment centers in the Jewish sector. It provides a successful model for adjusting employment programs to accommodate the values and norms of Bedouin society. This was done with the full cooperation of the community leadership and the formal and informal institutions of traditional Bedouin society, for maximal integration of Bedouin men and women into employment as wage earners or business entrepreneurs. Maavarim is connected to the regional economic development plan, which adds an economic horizon to its activities. The Center offers each participant a tailor-made service package, including: information about employment opportunities and vocational training; acquisition of job-seeking skills; employment counseling; and the provision of courses to complete schooling and vocational courses.
The report presents the findings of an evaluation of the Maavarim Center in Khura and Segev Shalom – two Bedouin localities in the Negev. The first part – which examines implementation of the program in its first two years (2008 and 2009) – is based on in-depth interviews, an analysis of documentation and observations of board meetings. The second part focuses on the outcomes of the program for the participants with regard to employment and studies. This is based on telephone interviews in Arabic with 355 participants from the two localities 6-30 months after they joined the program. The interviews were conducted in May and June 2010.
The data indicate positive results with regard to the creation of a community-based infrastructure to promote employment as well as increased employment. The latter was measured by several parameters, all of which indicated a significant improvement:
Between joining the program and the time of interviews, the percentage of participants employed had increased by 24 percentage points – from 23% to 47%.
39% of the 273 participants who were not employed when they joined the program were working at the time of the interview. An additional 24% were not employed at the time of the interview but had worked after their first visit to the Center. In all, 63% of those not employed when they joined the program had worked at some point since then.
21% of the participants were studying at the time of interview. Of those who were not studying, 40% expressed interest in going to university, receiving vocational training, completing their schooling or studying for matriculation.
83% of the participants were working or were engaged in an activity that could pave the way to employment (job-seeking, studying).
A regional employment center for Bedouin in the Negev is being established and the study findings, which were presented to its steering committee, are providing input into its development.
The study was initiated and funded by JDC-TEVET.