Jordan | Jordan Valley Links: Enterprise Development for Women and Youth in the Jordan Valley
Food security is a significant challenge linked to limited availability of water resources, growing populations, and climate change. Jordan has relatively few natural resources and imports 97% of its energy needs. Small enterprises are important contributors to its economic growth, employment and job creation, especially for women and young people. In fact, small and medium-sized enterprises have been responsible for between one-half and two-thirds of all private sector employment in the country. Jordan is of great geo-political significance in the Middle East and is considered a ‘pocket of peace’ in a region that is otherwise highly unstable – both politically and economically. The Jordanian economy suffers from structural unemployment and weak labour market governance.
In the Jordan Valley, entrepreneurs in general have poor and limited access to markets, business development services, and finance; these constraints are particularly exacerbated for women and youth. In addition, societal and cultural perceptions towards women’s and youth’s work and their role in entrepreneurship are neither encouraging nor favorable. As a result, promising entrepreneurs are not able to bring their good ideas to fruition or to develop job-creating businesses at a time of heightened economic fragility in Jordan. Entrepreneurship, innovation and risk-taking among women and youth are hindered by the lack of support, infrastructure, and cultural restrictions.
To address this, MEDA, in partnership with the Government of Canada, is implementing the Jordan Valley Links project which will provide women and youth, as well as existing market actors, with the capacity building and incentives required to develop their businesses and better integrate women and youth producers in three value chains: food processing, tourism and clean technologies. Women and youth will develop and expand their production and/or businesses through training, coaching/mentorship, networking opportunities and market engagement.Visit the Jordan Valley Links website
Project Quick Facts:
Goal: To increase the contribution by Jordanian women and youth to Jordan’s economic growth. This will be done by improving entrepreneurial and business acumen of women and youth and by reducing barriers to entry (market and societal/cultural) for enterprise development.
Reach: 25,000 women and youth
Funder: Global Affairs Canada
Project length: 2016-2021
Tags: West Africa / MENA