- Shumoos Ghanim Jaber, Iraqi entrepreneur, is a participant in UNITAR’s Great Ideas Space 2022: Entrepreneurship for Public Health and COVID-19 Recovery in Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon.
- Shumoos advocates for plant-based solutions to both promote health and counter climate change.
- Shumoos launched her green business in 2021 selling vegan products and meals.
- Her use of social media to advocate for veganism and women’s empowerment led her to an opportunity to participate in a COP27 side event.
- UNITAR Division for Prosperity trains entrepreneurs to design and implement social and for-profit projects that help address post-COVID-19 challenges.
6 December, Hiroshima, Japan - Shumoos Jaber presented her green initiatives in Iraq at a side event of the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. She is a business owner and advocate for plant-based solutions to health and climate change, as well as a participant in the ongoing UNITAR Great Ideas Space 2022: Entrepreneurship for Public Health and COVID-19 Recovery in Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon. The learning opportunities from UNITAR and COP 27 allowed Shumoos to sharpen her practical solutions and broaden her networks in green entrepreneurship.
Lifestyle Complements Business
Shumoos became interested in plant-based diets while studying in Malaysia. When she returned to Iraq after completing her master’s degree in biotechnology, she found that plant-based meals were not commonly available. Recognizing the gap between Malaysia’s market and Iraq’s, Shumoos decided to open a business offering organic, vegan foods.
When she soft launched her business in October 2021, Shumoos at first encountered scepticism. But as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, more people began asking her how to improve their immune systems through their diet. Shumoos expanded her business, creating meal plans for people with health conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, pregnant women, or those who need to follow a certain diet before or after surgery. Herself a vegan, she wants to help others reduce animal products and increase vegetables in their diets. She also hopes to contribute to her community more by employing more women as her business grows.
Room for Growth and Improvement
As a start-up entrepreneur, Shumoos says the support from her business mentor and the knowledge she gained from various courses have prepared her for success and continue to inspire her. Her continuous quest for growth led her to UNITAR’s entrepreneurship training programme, which started in September 2022.
The UNITAR course allows Shumoos reflect on her business through the assignments and help her to apply what she learns. After the first stage of online learning, Shumoos hopes to join the top performers to continue to the second stage of in-depth training and mentoring and attend the in-person workshop planned for the programme finale.
Because of her work and advocacy, Shumoos was also selected to participate in the 2022 Arab Green Voices Initiative. The Initiative challenged Arab youth to use social media to raise their voices on regional environmental issues and eco-friendly initiatives to fight climate change. At the end of the programme, she and other participants were invited to the COP27 side event.
Using Social Media to Reach Future Women Community Leaders
Shumoos sees her advocacy of plant-based solutions as part of the effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions such as methane. Her interest extends to other aspects of the climate crisis: Iraq currently faces water scarcity, drought, pollution, and climate migration, all due to climate change.
“When we talk about climate change, we need to think about our future generations. If you are a mother, if you are a father, you need to be part of the solution because it’s your child who will live in 2030 and face issues regarding climate change, it’s your grandchild who will live in the 2050s.”
She sees social media as a powerful tool to encourage young and middle-aged women – many of them potential community leaders – to get involved in current issues. Through social media, Shumoos advises them to explore their interests and to challenge the idea that there is a single path to success, whether in education or a career.
It may take time to find the right path, and it might deviate from the original plan. But pursuing one’s passions can still lead to success and meaningful community change.
The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. In 2021, UNITAR trained 370,139 learners around the world to support their actions for a better future. In addition to our headquarters in Geneva, we have offices in Hiroshima, New York, Bonn and various networks around the world.
One of the eight divisions of UNITAR, the Division for Prosperity, based in the Hiroshima Office and Geneva Headquarters, seeks to shape an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world. World-class learning and knowledge-sharing services on entrepreneurship, leadership, finance and trade, digital technologies, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are offered. We empower individuals from developing countries – especially women and young people – to address inequalities. Our alumni are making a difference in least-developed countries, countries emerging from conflict, and small-island developing states.