NAFE’s Round-Table Discussion on Economic Empowerment:
Youth and Women’s Participation in Economic Empowerment is Central for Poverty Reduction
31st October 2019, The National Association for Family Empowerment (NAFE) organized a roundtable entitled “Economic Empowerment of Youth and Women in the Northern and Middle Jordan Valley through Savings and Loan Groups”. The roundtable was held at the Hilton Hotel-Dead Sea, under the patronage of Her Excellency Mrs. Basma Ishaqat, Minister of Social Development, and represented by the Minister’s Advisor for Development and Poverty Mr. Mohammed Al-Oshaibat, the Acting Canadian Ambassador to Jordan and Head of Cooperation Mr. Christopher Johnston, the Country Director of MEDA-Jordan Mr. Ahsan Ul Haque Helal. The event was attended by international and national NGOs representatives, in addition to local CBO partners from Middle and Northern Jordan Valley, representatives of the directorates of Social Development, Labor, administrative governors, media representatives, donors and a number of direct beneficiaries of the economic empowerment project.
The event was opened with a welcoming speech by the Executive Director of NAFE, Mrs. Rania Al-Hayyouk, who gave a brief about NAFE programs and activities, and communicated the justifications which led to developing the economic empowerment project that is targeting youth and women through Savings and Loan Groups (SLGs) in Middle and Northern Jordan Valley. Mrs. Hayyouk said that the project was developed based on assessment conducted in the Jordan Valley and took into consideration the global indicators, which places Jordan as one of the lowest countries in women economic participation. Mrs. Hayyouk added that NAFE analyzed the causes of weak participation of youth and women in economic, political and social life, and targeted North and Middle Jordan Valley for several considerations, the most of which is the high unemployment rate in these areas, low participation of women and youth in economic sector, lack of employment and self-employment skills among women and youth, limited access to finance, high level of Gender-Based Violence, and low level of public services. Mrs. Hayyouk concluded her speech by thanking partners for their technical and financial support in the implementation of the project, MEDA and the Canadian Government, and said that their support has contributed to reaching more than 4000 youth and women in the intervention areas during the past 15 months, who were trained on business development, financial literacy, soft skills, Savings and Loan Group methodologies, and methodologies for setting up small businesses.
Acting Canadian Ambassador to Jordan, Mr. Christopher Johnston, highlighted the importance of economic empowerment programs and their role in alleviating poverty. He also touched upon the programs implemented by the Canadian Government in partnership with the Government of Jordan and civil society organizations. He added that the economic empowerment project that is implemented by NAFE in partnership with MEDA Jordan contributes effectively to increasing women’s and youth participation in economic activities, and this is an integral part of Canada’s strategy to improve livelihood conditions of marginalized groups in Jordan.
Mr. Mohammed Al-Oshaibat, Advisor to the Minister of Social Development for Development and Poverty, stressed the importance of projects implemented by civil society organizations and thanked NAFE for its great efforts in empowering youth and women in the northern and central Jordan Valley. He also touched on the role of the Ministry and its interest in the empowerment of women economically, socially and politically.
Mr. Ahsan Ul Haque Helal, Director of MEDA in Jordan, said that MEDA projects in Jordan aims to reduce poverty and unemployment among youth and women and contributes to local economic empowerment of marginalized groups. He also spoke about the success and achievements gained of the Jordan Valley Links project, which is implemented by MEDA in partnership with the NAFE and other organizations. In his speech, he highlighted the role played by MEDA partners in implementing economic empowerment projects that play a prominent and important role in empowering and reducing poverty among the most disadvantaged in Jordan. He concluded by stressing that MEDA is working continuously to provide financial support to ensure the continuation of such projects, which in turn aim at to empower women and youth economically and improve their skills to be able to join labor market.
A presentation was made by Mrs. Hayyouk, the executive Director NAFE explaining the approach and methodology of the Economic empowerment project, achievements and results, lessons learned and recommendation. According to Mrs. Hayyouk, the project contributed to creating more than 198 Savings and Loan Groups with total beneficiaries reached 3651 (637 men and 3014 women). She also said that the number of loans has reached 748, and the number of small businesses established has reached 358.
This event included live testimonies from the field about the experiences of women benefiting from Savings and Loan Groups, and the type of home-based businesses they have established through loans obtained from savings funds.
At the second part of the event, participants engaged in a discussion about changes that prevent youth and women from being fully engaged in economic activities in the Jordan Valley, and the opportunities available to them. Accordingly, participants came up with a number of recommendations to enhance participation of youth and women in economic activities and overcome and challenges they face, including the inclusion of agricultural entrepreneurs in social security, and open the door for small business owners to market their products in local markets, access to finance and give advanced training in business development, expansion and formalization of small businesses, e-marketing skills, and amending laws that restrict women’s participation in economic, political and social life.
NAFE organized a number of community-based initiatives on economic empowerment projects for youth and women in Middle and North Jordan Valley
23rd October 2019, The National Foundation for Family Empowerment (NAFE), in partnership with a number of Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in the Jordan Valley, implemented a number of youth initiatives aimed at correcting the society’s concepts about small-based and micro-economic projects.
The initiatives aimed to raise awareness of women and youth about women’s economic participation and its importance in the sustainable development of societies, and the impact that economic home-based projects have on women, youth and the economic prospects for their future. The initiatives included a number of activities that focused on correcting some misconceptions about women’s participation in economic projects and public life, and their leading role in community development. During the initiative, some concepts related to women and their participation in economic life were presented to the participants, who in turn organized small group discussions on these concepts, and made recommendations on the correct concepts. The correction of concepts includes addressing the role of women and men in society, the rights and duties of each, the importance of contributing to economic development by both men and women, and the impact that women’s participation in economic projects on changing concepts, participation in public, cultural, social, and society’s stability, and changing the stereotype about women.
The initiatives also addressed the importance of enhancing the participation of women in peace and security and the roles that women can play in maintaining civil peace in societies and combating extremist and terrorist thoughts. Within this framework, the participants were acquainted with the Jordanian National Plan to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, the objectives of this initiative, and Jordan’s advanced position on women’s participation at various levels. In addition, the initiatives addressed the importance of mainstreaming and promoting the National Plan for the implementation of UNSCR 1325 through women’s associations and grassroots institutions, and their central role in raising the awareness of local communities on women’s economic, political and social issues.
The initiatives included presentations of a number of success stories presented by women and young people on the small economic and home-based projects they have created through the Economic Empowerment Project and Savings and Loan Groups. Women and youth presented their experiences in setting up these projects, the difficulties and challenges they faced during the design and implementation of the project, and presented their experiences on marketing these projects, reaching people, marketing in the community, and the importance of E-marketing and social media.
The initiatives have come up with a number of recommendations related to enhancing women’s economic participation and playing an advanced role in societal issues:
- Conducting advanced capacity building courses for women and youth in the field of home-based projects, in particular the mechanisms of building sound economic feasibility work plan for the project in order to avoid falling into the problems of loss of project capital.
- The need to organize advanced training on life skills, leadership skills and savings skills.
- The need to organize training on marketing mechanisms and study the local market, and the selection of distinctive and non-refined projects.
- The need to involve men and young people in awareness-raising activities that contribute to changing their attitudes and attitudes towards stereotypical image of women and to participate in activities related to raising awareness about gender-based violence and violence against girls and women.
- The need to conduct campaigns and initiatives aimed at marginalized communities, and to reach women and young people most affected by the economic crisis in the Kingdom, and provide small economic projects for them to help their families to improve livelihoods and income.
- Participants stressed the importance of helping them market their small businesses products outside the Jordan Valley through networking with markets in Amman.
- Participants in the initiative recommended the importance of implementing other economic and social initiatives in the Jordan Valley, as these initiatives contribute to positively impact on changing the stereotype of women’s participation in different economic fields.
It should be noted that these initiatives have been implemented in several areas in Irbid and Balqa’a governorates and are an important part of the economic empowerment for women and youth project in remote areas of the northern and central Jordan Valley, which is implemented in partnership with MEDA Jordan and funded by Global Affairs-Canada.
The National Association for Family Empowerment organized a workshop entitled:
Men as supporters of women in breaking social barriers and political and economic exclusion
30th September 2019, The National Association for Family Empowerment organized a workshop entitled “Men as Supporters of Women”, in partnership with the Bab Al Rayyan Women Association in the Dirar Bin Al-Azwar area in the central Jordan Valley. The workshop was held on Wednesday, 18 September 2019, and was attended by 30 men and 13 women from the central Jordan Valley, representing community-based organizations, communities, the education sector and religious institutions in the Jordan Valley.
The workshop discussed the ways in which men support women at various social, political and economic levels, the role of men in promoting the concepts of equality, and changing the stereotype of women and their positive role in political, economic and social development. The workshop also tackled the challenges facing men in supporting women and exchanging roles between them and women in predominantly customary societies that restrict women’s freedom of participation in public and political life and their economic participation.
During the workshop, participants stressed the importance of exchanging roles in household and community matters between men and women, and that men should contribute more to support women and overcome the culture of flaw that prevents some men from supporting women and limit their economic participation or limit access to leadership positions, whether at the family level, at the community level or at the national level.
The workshop dealt with many social phenomena that limit women’s freedom in vulnerable and marginalized communities, the most important of which is their participation in local decision-making and their economic participation, stressing that community awareness campaigns should be carried out on the positive role that women can play in serving their local community and their families.
At the end of the workshop, the Interactive Theater of NAFE performed an interactive theater show using participatory roles between men and women, in addition to addressing some societal issues related to women and their exploitation such as work and early marriage.
3rd July 2019, Ms. Rania Hayyouk, the Executive Director of the National Association for Family Empowerment, announced the success of the Economic Empowerment for Women and Youth Project in the remote areas of the northern and central Jordan Valley. Launched in July 2018 with the partnership of Mennonite Economic Development Association (MEDA), the project has contributed to increased integration of marginalized women and youth into economic activities and the labor market through Savings and Loan Groups (SLGs). The project has led to the formation of 141 SLGs, reaching 2,675 individuals across the northern and central Jordan Valley. The members of the program have begun to establish small home-based projects that are contributing to the improvement of their economic conditions. All participants were trained on financial literacy, home-based and small business development, life and soft skills, and savings methodologies. NAFE’s outreach primarily targets the communities of Karima, Mishara, Sheikh Hussein, Tel Arbaeen, Harawieh, Dirar Bin Azur, Sweema, Sakana, Jufa and Al-Rawdah in the northern and central regions of the Jordan Valley.
When the project is completed in May 2020, NAFE expects to have reached over 5,000 marginalized women and youth. This will contribute to a reduced unemployment rate, increased economic participation, and an abundance of home-based projects. The sustainability of increased capital inflow and business prospects will inevitably lead to a more efficient integration and acceptance of women leading and succeeding within their economic communities.
An important part of NAFE’s implementation of the Economic Empowerment for Women and Youth Project is the partnership with ten NAFE affiliated Community-Based Organizations. The ten business support hubs created under the partnership give the project capacities and outreach potential that could not be achieved alone. With this grass-roots approach, NAFE is able to integrate women and youth communities into economic activities at the local and national levels. The business support hubs train them on SLG methodologies, financial literacy, and the development of small home-based businesses. This also includes training groups to educate members on how to best respond to gender-based violence. The hope of our training is not only to provide methods to counter gender-based violence, but to help women raise awareness in their communities about the importance of women’s equal participation in the economy and women’s safety in society. In addition, the project links savings groups with Microfinance Institutions and grants providers so that beneficiaries are able to proceed in establishing or expanding their start ups and engage more in local economic activities.
Looking forward, NAFE plans to design youth initiatives for the upcoming stages of the Economic Empowerment for Women and Youth Project. These initiatives will aim to raise awareness of the importance of youth inclusion in economic activities in local communities. This inclusion of youth, combined with the added production of women will lead to the overall improvement of economic activities in these communities. Additionally, this will empower women to expand their political, economic and civic rights, showing how important good community is when confronting discrimination within Jordan. A number of cultural and social activities, such as interactive theater, will be organized through the program aimed at enhancing the status of women in public life and increasing their economic participation.
NAFE plans to organize a number of roundtable discussions during the month of August to discuss economic barriers to women and youth engagement in economic empowerment programs in the Jordan Valley region. Roundtables will be attended by relevant stakeholders, policy makers and members of parliament. Our goal is to show them project achievement and impact, success, lessons learned, challenges, with the hope of recommendations for future interventions.
Mother’s Day Press Release
NAFE CEO Rania Al-Hayouk spoke with Al-Mamlaka TV about the Savings and Loans Group project, which aims to reach 5000 Jordanian women and youth throughout the Northern and Middle Jordan Valley regions. The goal of this project is to show participants their ability to support themselves financially without relying on sources that will take advantage of their vulnerabilities.
Under the patronage of the Minister of Political Development, Musa Al Maaytah, a number of female Jordanian leaders were honored as part of the LEED program funded by GIZ and implemented by the National Committee for Women’s Affairs. NAFE CEO Rania Al-Hayouk was among the leaders who received this honor. Click here to read the full article (in Arabic).
NAFE celebrated Jordanian Mother’s Day by honoring and celebrating mothers around Jordan for their endurance, patience, and sacrifice in their personal challenges, as well as in raising their children. CEO Rania Al-Hayouk spoke with reporters Awatif Al-Hijja and Ghofran Al-Zerai’i about NAFE’s current and past projects aimed at supporting and empowering women in Jordan.