Jordan is currently hosting 1.4 million Syrian refugees, nearly 10 percent of Jordan’s pre-crisis population, which has increased competition over resources, placed additional strain on social services and heightened community tensions in some areas with unintended consequences, including greater restrictions on women’s mobility.
While existing programs that provide food and unconditional cash assistance have been instrumental in responding to the immediate humanitarian crisis, they are not designed for long-term outcomes. As the government of Jordan opens the labor market for refugees with work permits, targeted efforts are needed to empower female refugees to harness income-generating activities. These efforts must also support the government in meeting its commitment to increase overall female participation in the workforce.
Eid bi Eid is a multi-year initiative to support the government of Jordan to address issues of employment and gender inequality, exacerbated by the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis. The project began in 2015 to support the immediate needs of refugee women and vulnerable Jordanian women affected by the crisis. The second phase, which began in 2017, utilizes a resilience framework for achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment goals and promotes individual and community ability to absorb shock. This is done through the provision of livelihoods opportunities and protection support for refugee women living in camp and non-camp settings, as well as Jordanian women living in hosting communities.
How Zonta helps
Zonta International has committed US$1,000,000 to UN Women to improve Syrian refugee and Jordanian women’s access to sustainable and decent employment, coupled with protection services and community leadership/engagement, to enable greater equality and reduced violence against women.
This partnership between Zonta International and UN Women expects to reach at least
25,760 direct beneficiaries.
- Women in camp settings and host communities are empowered through money for work and increased access to longer term economic recovery and livelihood opportunities.
- Women’s protection and access to justice is promoted to enable accountability and support them to serve as active members of their community.
- Women participate in and inform community decision-making processes.
- Duty-bearers are supported to create a greater enabling environment for women’s economic participation.
Read a detailed project description to find out more about this exciting partnership between Zonta International and UN Women.
From 28 – 31 July 2019, President Susanne von Bassewitz and three Zontians visited the UN Women Eid bi Eid project in Jordan. President Susanne was joined by Christine Gerberding, Zonta International Public Relations & Communications Committee chairman; Joy Orlich, Zonta International Foundation Development Committee chairman; and Chavali Osathanugrah, Zonta International United Nations Committee member, ESCAP. Read below for daily reports on their trip.
It is not only about learning to tailor to make a living. That is our take away from Day One of the field visit to our project with UN Women in Jordan. The Jordanian and Syrian women we met at the community center in Muwaggar near Amman empower themselves by supporting each other: They share their dreams and experience camaraderie. They created a WhatsApp to be even better connected. Photo credit: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney
Read more: Day One: Hand in Hand works
When she turned to an Islamic center for help, Fatimah, a Syrian refugee woman, was asked to wear a long coat. She suddenly realized that, after being on her own in the Jordanian host community, she wanted to manage her life independently. She found encouragement on her way at the center the Jordanian Women’s Union operates in Zarqa near Amman.
Read more: Day Two: "Nobody must interfere with my life anymore"
We all lived a very emotional moment today: a victim of domestic violence broke down in tears as she shared her experience with us. Almost everyone else cried with her. Today, she receives training and money at the Taibeh Community Center and finds consolation in the collaboration and interaction with her Jordanian and Syrian co-students. Photo credit: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney
Read more: Day Three: Building resilience
Nabeela is respected by the women at the Oasis 3 center and can teach many others how to weave. At home, in Syria, she hardly left the house and was completely dependent on her husband. It was in Za’atari, a camp that hosts 80,000 refugees, that she learned how to weave. What is even more remarkable, she has become the one who, today, actually takes the lead in her family. Photo credit: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney
Read more: Day Four: What empowerment means
Stories and updates
In 2013, Safiyah Abd El Ghafar arrived in Jordan with her family of 10, clutching nothing more than the hands of her children. With her elderly husband unable to find work, she soon found herself in the position of having to become the sole provider for her family. Abd El Ghafar applied for UN Women’s cash-for-work tailoring program at the Oasis Centre for Resilience and Empowerment of Women and Girls. Not letting her gender, age, or lack of experience get in her way, the 46-year-old secured her first job. Read more about Abd El Ghafar, who now has her own tailoring business within the Za'atari camp, where she supervises four staff and provides services to 70 regular clients.
Under the esteemed patronage of H.E Imad Al Rawashdeh, the Governor of Tafilah, the Information and Research Center – King Hussein Foundation (IRCKHF), in partnership with UN Women and the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), on 2 July launched a series of advocacy campaigns on women’s empowerment developed by seven women’s Community-based Organizations (CBOs) in Tafilah. Over a period of six months, joint advocacy efforts will address challenges and opportunities faced by women and girls in their communities, including access to quality health services, public transportation, and management of financial resources. Read more about the advocacy campaigns on women's empowerment.