The initiative is aimed to develop potential of small-scale enterprises led by women to raise household incomes, improve livelihoods, and strengthen the independence of women in the dryland regions of southern Jordan through tapping traditional knowledge and the sustainable use of local resources.
The initiative has been implemented in three regions - Karak, Tafilah, and Ma`an - which suffer from high rates of household poverty and a range of debilitating environmental constraints: high rates of erosion, extreme water scarcity, and low annual precipitation rarely exceeding 300 mm/year and poor infrastructure which limits access and income generated from agriculture.
The initiative is based on the four pillars:
- Participatory approaches: including women in the project design helps to effectively identify needs, the availability of resources, and existing expertise and knowledge;
- Initial assessments: household economic surveys help to prioritize the target beneficiaries; marketing assessments help to identify potential customers and markets;
- Women associations: act as a liaison with government officials, providing women with a voice and helping to extend training and secure funding for beneficiaries;
- On-going support: ensure that assistance and advice is provided after enterprises are initiated to ensure long-term sustainability and benefits.
Program activities include food processing, dairy and pickle production, and the harvesting of mushrooms which are creating new economic opportunities for women who were previously marginalized and unable to contribute to household income.
Empowering women to manage small-scale income-generating enterprises has increased their independence, raising their status and helping them to more effectively participate in decision-making - at the community and household level. These positive developments are being sustained through trainings for 1300 women.
Approximately 400 women have initiated income-generating activities, and investments in businesses and enterprises exceed 1.5 million USD. Initial indicators suggest that women are already experiencing moderate returns on their investments. For example, an initial investment of 500 JD to finance bakeries is generating, on average, around 200 Jordanian Dinars (JD) per month. After loan repayments and other costs have been taken into account, female bakers can expect a net profit of up to 88 JD.
Partners: IFAD, ARMP II and training centres in universities and agricultural credit cooperatives
Mamoon Al Adaileh,
Ministry of Agriculture
ARMPII - SLM officer