UK Prime Minister Visits DAI Project Empowering Female Entrepreneurs in Jordan

November 30, 2017

British Prime Minister Theresa May today visited the Arab Women’s Enterprise Fund (AWEF) in Amman, Jordan, an initiative to stimulate increased women’s economic empowerment and agency through a market systems approach.

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AWEF addresses some of the most persistent constraints on women’s economic empowerment in a region with one of the lowest rates of female labour force participation in the world. It aims to improve gender awareness and sensitivity among key actors in the local economy, to increase employment and retention of women in the labour force, and to improve certification of products made by women working at home.

Greater female participation in the Jordanian workforce will improve livelihoods, support economic growth, and contribute to a more resilient social and economic infrastructure.

Among other results, the AWEF programme has, to date:

  • Supported access to business licenses for 970 home-based women’s businesses focused on jameed (a local specialty food) and other home-based products;
  • Leveraged more than £300,000 from partners to implement activities that will improve women’s voice, choice, and control; and
  • Improved access for nearly 1,000 women to municipal services and facilities via new Women’s Economic Empowerment Units in the Jordanian municipalities of Jerash and Madaba.

Participants in AWEF also benefit from business networking opportunities, including with each other. AWEF participant Ayesha, who met with May during her visit, said: “Now women here help each other. We don’t keep business secrets to get ahead. Instead, we raise each other up.”

In a speech delivered in Amman, the Prime Minister underscored the importance to the region of a stable Jordan that prospers on the basis of inclusive economic growth. She also announced an increase in U.K. support for Jordan: “I am today committing an initial £94.5 million to support Jordan’s economic resilience—including £60 million in investment grants, support for critical infrastructure projects, essential skills training, and support to improve the quality of education. And this is just the start of a significant increase in our funding for Jordan’s resilience, which will go on to include support for the reform of government, the growth of private sector investment, and the creation of safety nets to ensure that no one loses out from these reforms.”

Active in Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine, AWEF is funded by the U.K. Department for International Development and the Islamic Development Bank.

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