Since the Syrian crisis in 2011, Jordan has seen its population increase by over one million. This has increased social tensions between Jordanians and Syrians living in host communities around key sectors such as employment opportunities and municipal service delivery.
In June 2016, with funding from the EU Trust Fund-MADAD, ACTED began implementing a project contributing to the economic self-reliance, resilience and social stability of displacement-affected populations in two municipalities in Northern Jordan: Balaama (Mafraq governorate) and Rusayfah (Zarqa governorate).
ACTED facilitated dialogue tables with community members of all demographics, where they built community improvement plans to each municipality, including a list of project ideas that can be implemented by attracting external funding – and can boost local economy.
Community members voted for the implementation of two community improvement plans: the rehabilitation of a sewing factory in Balaama, and the construction of a multipurpose hall in Rusafyah.
In Balaama municipality, ACTED rehabilitated a sewing factory building for training and production, and facilitated a partnership between the municipality and the private sector to manage the factory. In addition to ACTED creating temporary employment for workers constructing the site, the factory created 120 employment opportunities for women employment, including a minimum of 10% vacancies dedicated to Syrian women.
For the first few days of the training, I was so happy, I could not sleep
The factory has multiple production lines and is currently focusing on the fabrication of high quality cotton undergarments. ACTED teams recently visited the site to receive the women’s feedback on this project. Busy with training on the lines, they were eager to talk about their experience.
Inas, 27, has a bachelor degree in educational sciences. During her interview with ACTED, she mentioned that this is her first non-temporary employment. The work environment in the factory and the conditions are, according to her, the main reason why she and her family accepted this job: the factory is located close to her home and she doesn’t require transportation to go to work. That way, she is able to check up on her children and have lunch with them during breaks. Through this job, Inas is now able to pay for her master’s degree in education and contribute to housing expenses.
Ayah, 27, has lived in Balaama her entire life. Having never had the opportunity to earn an income, Ayah says this job allowed her to dream again.
Having no income to continue studies after Tawjihi (the general secondary education certificate examination in Jordan) due to lack of job openings close to home, she thought going to college was just a dream. However, being financially independent now, she plans to use her income to enroll in college soon.
Rania, 26, has always had high aspirations, but never the means to accomplish them. Already having a bachelor degree and temporary work experience, she says the main hurdle in finding a job was the work environment and closeness to home. Having a sustainable income now will help her support in house expenses and pay off some loans.
The opening of the factory is strengthening the relationship between the public and private sectors and is expected to boost the economic environment of the community in the following years.
Before this job, my aspiration was just to study, but now I want to study and more. I think the sky is the limit!