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On a small plot of land in the shadow of the mountains in the tiny Akkar village of Tikrit, Elie Wehbeh, a project coordinator at the Safadi Foundation, kneels down with resident Yussria Awad to pick weeds around a crop of freshly blossoming zaatar (thyme) plants.Wehbeh, an agriculture engineer, has been helping Awad, and 40 other women, grow zaatar in their back yards for four months now as part of a new project by the Safadi Foundation to help empower women and allow them to contribute to their household income.The project is funded by the European Union and managed by the office of the minister of state for administrative reform as part of the Idea-3 program, which gives funding to similar projects across Lebanon. Wehbeh said that a plot of 1,000 square meters can provide up to 250 kg of zaatar and each kilo can be sold for $6 to $13 .In order to select the women for the program, The Safadi Foundation contacted mayors in several municipalities in Akkar and notified them of the program.
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