UNDP Has Given Us the Voice That We Never Had

UNDP Has Given Us the Voice That We Never Had
Part of Wafa and Dana Salon

Dana and Wafa’s dreams turned into reality in Hosha, a remote area in Mafraq. The twin’s hearing impairments and muteness didn’t stop them from launching the first hair-salon in their town. “UNDP has given us the voice as joining the project empowered us to communicate with our community, for the first time we feel that we have a voice and others hear it”.

At the age of 15 years, Dana and Wafa’ were encountered with a crossroad, they had to choose whether

Main achievements of the project till today

  • 441 young entrepreneur
  • 351 established micro-businesses; of which 287 individual businesses, 64 group business
  • 305 females 136 males

to move on to secondary school in an attempt to pass the tawjihi (the national secondary examination in Jordan), or to enroll in a vocational school, focusing on apprenticeships and skills workshops. Born deaf and mute, the twins had difficulties understanding their teachers during their basic education, and as a result, they ultimately decided to enroll in vocational training in cosmetology. For four years, the two sisters practiced cosmetology as a hobby on one another in their home until finally an opportunity arose for them to develop their potentials.

UNDP’s Emergency Employment Project (3x6 approach), supported by RDPP and WFP in collaboration with NMB, provided Dana and Wafa with the skills and resources necessary to make the most of on their talents. When they first joined the project, they were excited about the community initiative and meeting new people, yet they were hesitant: “we were worried we won’t be able to communicate with our mates and project staff”. The community initiative helped them to quickly overcome this fear. With a group of other beneficiaries, Dana and Wafa’ noticed that their local school did not have clean water facilities, and as a result, children would leave school during the day to get water and not return. In response, the team decided to update the school’s WASH facilities, fixing leaks in pipes and faucets ensuring the water tanks were clean so that students would have access to healthy water at their schools. Constantly working and training alongside beneficiaries, the women quickly overcame their initial social anxiety and with the help of their new friends, they learned to confidently express themselves. 

Wafa and Dana were able to launch the first hair salon in their town. “despite our educational background, the different training sessions enabled us to plan and execute our project. Together with our mother, we have managed to run a cozy family business to support ourselves and strengthen ties with other women in Hosha”.

It's worth mentioning that this initiative came out in order to respond to the urgent livelihoods needs of vulnerable Jordanians and enhance social cohesion, UNDP Jordan adopted an innovative three-phased approach, which is designed to link emergency employment to more sustainable livelihoods creation. Vulnerable unemployed youth in the targeted host communities get engaged in emergency income-generating activities (voluntary community service projects) that are responsive to immediate local needs such as the rehabilitation of schools, clinics, social initiatives...etc. During this period, beneficiaries receive a monthly incentive; part of which is saved in their own saving accounts forming the seed for the start-up capital necessary to establish their own microbusinesses. To ensure the highest level of success, participants undergo a training to build their life and basic business skills, and expertise in establishing and running microbusinesses. After that, each participant or group of participants submit a business plan to implement the idea of their projects, which is financed by UNDP through multiplying the savings accumulated during the voluntary service activities. The project provides advisory services (accounting, legal, marketing, etc.), as well as market development (private sector engagement, value chain development, etc) in order to ensure the sustainability of established microbusinesses and to promote its socio-economic impacts on improving the standards of living of people in the host communities.