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Italy, UN Women Jordan sign agreement to promote resilience, empowerment

By Rana Husseini - Apr 19,2021 - Last updated at Apr 19,2021

Michele Morana, head of AICS Jordan, Fabio Cassese, Italian ambassador to Jordan, and Aisha Mukhtar, UN Women Jordan officer in charge, sign a new partnership agreement to support vulnerable women in Jordan on Sunday (Photo courtesy of UN Women/ Yeji Lee)

AMMAN — Promoting the resilience and empowerment of vulnerable women in the Kingdom during the COVID-19 response and recovery was the main theme of an agreement signed on Sunday between the Italian government and UN Women in Jordan.

The one million euro agreement was signed between the government of Italy, through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and UN Women office in Jordan.  The event was held at the Italian ambassador's residence in Amman.

The two-year contribution by the Italian government will support the expansion of the “Oasis” model, which provides a holistic package of services and has already proved effective in reaching out to the most vulnerable communities, Italian Ambassador to Jordan Fabio Cassese said.

“The project focuses on the empowerment of women in the Kingdom, including the Syrian female refugees, and gender equality that is a priority issue for Jordan and many countries in the region,” Cassese told The Jordan Times.

“The most important part for us is to empower women,” Cassese said.

“The empowerment of women is a fundamental component of the sustainable development of the country. When we empower women the country benefits in various fields,” Cassese stressed.

The financial contribution will hopefully strengthen the Oasis model, the ambassador maintained, in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all know that the pandemic affected the situation of women more than the rest of the population since many were forced to drop out of the labour market and stay home,” the ambassador noted.

Cassese said that the “resilience and empowerment approach is designed to build the short- and medium-term resilience of Syrian refugee and vulnerable Jordanian women, while also promoting the long-term enabling environment for the empowerment and sustainable development of the whole country”. 

The Italian ambassador stressed the importance of supporting the Kingdom in “this big effort to host the refugee communities because Jordan has been generous and reliable, and the international community must continue to support Jordan”.

Head of AICS Amman Michele Morana added that the COVID-19 Pandemic has been an unprecedented global health crisis, and women in Jordan have been disproportionately impacted by its implications.

“We firmly believe that investing in women’s economic empowerment is essential to leading a fast recovery from the impact of COVID 19, and to promoting women and girls as key agents of development and change,” Morana stated. 

There are currently 13 Oasis centres managed by the Ministry of Social Development in partnership with UN Women across the country, according to a joint statement issued by the UN and the Italian embassy. 

UN Women also runs four Oasis centres in Jordan’s refugee camps, the statement said.

Through this strategic partnership, Oasis centres will be able to further support 40,000 vulnerable women and girls, including those living in refugee camps, with access to sustainable livelihood opportunities, protection services, distance learning, social and civic participation, the statement stated.

The goal is to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for their resilience in the COVID-19 era and support the long-term recovery of their communities, UN Women Officer in Charge Aisha Mukhtar said.

“Women’s access to cash transfers and protection services, combined with long-term measures for sustainable livelihoods, is crucial for COVID-19 response and recovery,” Mukhtar told The Jordan Times.

UN Women welcomes this renewed partnership which will support expansion of Oasis model and contribute towards gender integration efforts of the Government of Jordan,” Mukhtar added.

 The Italian cooperation considers gender equality and women’s empowerment as one of the main cross-cutting issues in all programmes and initiatives, together with poverty reduction and environmental preservation, the statement said.

Collaboration with national and local authorities and with multilateral stakeholders is an important pillar of a comprehensive strategy aiming at improving women’s conditions in terms of participation in the socioeconomic life of their countries, to contribute to achieving the countries’ full socio-economic progress, the press release said.

This contribution will also complement and mutually reinforce other areas of cooperation between AICS and UN Women in support of Jordan’s national priorities on women’s empowerment, according to statement.

This includes a catalytic intervention to strengthen institutional capacity development on gender mainstreaming implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, as well as a dedicated programme to address barriers to women’s retention and entry into the labour force, the statement said.

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