The Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association – Asala was founded in 1997 under the name Center for Women’s Economic Projects (CWEP) and registered as a non-profit organization under the current name in 2001. Asala’s mission is and has always been to provide services that help women in poverty change their lives, their social position, and their future by enabling and encouraging their successful participation in sustainable economic activities. Asala envisions an entrepreneurial Palestinian woman who is capable and influential in a democratic, socially just society.

In 1997, Asala began providing micro loans to marginalized Palestinian women. Since then, it has provided over 30,000 loans totaling more than USD35 million to Palestinian women entrepreneurs, and, to be able to provide services to these women locally, it has established 9 strategically located field offices throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In 2008, Asala expanded its scope with a comprehensive needs-based package of nonfinancial services and tools, which have reached tens of thousands of marginalized Palestinian women entrepreneurs.

In November 2014, in order to comply with changing Palestinian laws for financial institutions, Asala established itself as two separate legal entities: “Asala for Credit and Development” and “The Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association – Asala”. “The Palestinian Businesswomen’s Association – Asala”, continues to operate as an NGO addressing the main challenges faced by Palestinian women, while “Asala for Credit and Development” provides financial services to women as a company. The NGO continues to leverage the services of the micro financial institution while operating on three main tracks, namely advocacy and lobbying, capacity building and access to markets, to assist marginalized women in realizing their social and economic rights.