Sidab Women Group is model for women empowerment

MUSCAT: Omani women continue to achieve success in many areas, especially within the framework of their local community, exploiting the opportunities to help contribute to the GDP.
The Omani women are in the forefront of building the nation in various areas of life. They are role models to follow as they contribute to the development process in the country.
Many governmental and private institutions, such as the Omani Women Associations, supervised by the Ministry of Social Development, and the voluntary teams, seek to empower Omani women and raise their level of efficiency to achieve the socioeconomic goals.
Sidab Women Group is one of the unique models in empowering women through establishing a project that benefits the participants. It is an environment-friendly project that is based on the manufacturing of environmentally friendly bags that replace plastic bags.
The bags are manufactured in different shapes and sizes of cotton and knitted fabrics that are woven, traditionally or manually. They are natural materials that are not harmful to the environment and wildlife.
They also have a traditional implication as they are related to the textile materials manufactured from the knitted material, used to make many clothes and mattresses that decorate traditional houses.
The idea of the project came in 2004 to its owner Badriya bint Malallah al Siyabiyah, with the benefit to low-income families from Sidab city in the Governorate of Muscat.
The idea of the project started at Al Bustan School, with 4 traditional machines, on which 7 housewives and a number of female volunteers used to work.
The project started with the marketing and promotion of eco-friendly bags, which are characterised by a modern design inspired by the original Omani heritage.
They were initially marketed to tourists coming to visit the Sultanate. The demand for the bags increased, as did the number of the women who joined the project, followed by the expansion stage and the rental of a special site for the project in Sidab.
“The woman’s project is one of the projects that has contributed to the empowerment of Omani women and the transformation of housewives into producers in their homes, by training and enabling them to sew bags designed by Omani women who are members of the group,” Lamis bint Sinan al Kiyumiyah, Head of Sidab Women Group said.
She added that the project includes management, design specialists and workers in sewing, in addition to saleswomen.
Despite the modest start about 13 years ago, there is now a centre equipped for the project that includes 10 modern machines for production of bags, in addition to special sites for sewing.
She pointed out that about 30 women work in sewing at present with experience in sewing bags.
She added that Sidab Women Group has a number of internal and external participation. At the internal level, the group took part in many activities and exhibitions organised by colleges, institutes, schools, hotels and museums.
External participants included a number of countries, such as Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Malaysia, UAE and Bahrain. These participations contributed to the introduction and promotion of the project.
Al Kiyumiyah pointed out that the group has come under the umbrella of Dar Al Atta Association since November 2017.
She added that there are requests throughout the year by a number of government and private institutions to design special bags for the meetings, activities and conferences that they organise.
The group promotes the project through social media, participation in promotional events, and meetings with tourism groups. — ONA