Amman-- Thirty Jordanian and Syrian ladies in the southern governorate of Karak have successfully completed a training programme to become entrepreneurs in the retail as part the ambitious programme “Asilah”.
Asilah, an initiative by UNDP Jordan and Unilever, supports and empowers women in remote and underprivileged areas through training, capacity building and a seed fund that will ultimately help them establish micro-joint ventures and partnerships. It is hoped that this programme will increase women economic participation in the retail distribution segment and empower them to become direct-to-consumer sales distributors via their home-based businesses (HBB).
The ladies received intensive training on business skills including rules of establishing a microbusiness, marketing, accounting, business management, sales and after-sales services, legal rights, merchandising and inventory management.
UNDP is executing this inclusive a micro-entrepreneurship programme in the Arab states for the first time, with the ultimate objective of increasing women participation in the workforce, a key inclusive growth challenge since Jordan ranks among the lowest countries in women economic participation, particularly in remote and vulnerable communities like Karak.
The governorate has been impacted by the influx of Syrian refugees and faces high youth unemployment particularly amongst educated women. The programme has identified and trained women who will become role models and advocates of entrepreneurship via “Asilah” for future generations.
Asilah’s contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through working on goal 1: no poverty, goal 5: gender equality, goal 8: decent work and economic growth, goal 12: responsible consumption and production and goal 17: partnerships for the goals.
UNDP Resident Representative Sara Ferrer Olivella stressed on the importance of including women in development as a prerequisite to economic growth and prosperity. She added that any programme that excluded women is depriving communities of key players who can actively contribute to the welfare of both their families and societies. Ferrer Olivella noted that the outcomes of the programme are meant to be long-term as it drives change in communities where women economic participation is low and limited to the public sector.
She said: “Those ladies are change-makers. We can see how they impacted their communities by bravely entering the male-dominated retail sector, defying societal norms and increasing gender balance.”
The second step in the programme involves empowering the ladies to establish and run their own microbusiness using global business practices and models developed through Unilever in Arab countries such as Egypt and Lebanon.
Each lady will receive financial and in-kind grants and merchandise to sell and distribute in her local community. Three of the ladies who demonstrate leadership in small business will receive a sizable grant of $10,000.