24February2023 Project JODHOUR-Supporting employment and entrepreneurship in agriculture and agribusiness, local handicrafts, tourism and cultural heritage in Mafraq, Ma’ an and Aqaba governorates: Update from the field!


by Francesca Donà, Universal Civil Service volunteer in Jordan.

The Jodhour project, funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), continues apace. Between the end of January and the first half of February, the Jodhour project team, composed of members from ARCS, AVSI and KHF, evaluated applications sent by existing small business owners and home-based businesses in the three governorates of Ma’an, Mafraq and Aqaba to conduct an initial screening of projects.

The applications were collected by the six civil society organizations (CBOs) involved in the project during meetings held with small business owners where the requirements for participation were explained. The applications contained information designed to assess both the level of vulnerability of the business owner’s family (number of members, per capita income, number of disabled, source of income) and the characteristics of the small business (industry, place of implementation, owned or rented residence owned or rented secondary premises, project duration, initial capital, source of initial funding, monthly income, monthly expenses, number of employees, presence or absence of license, value of equipment owned, amount of rent for project implementation premises, presence of project-related loans and number of installments due).

After an initial skimming, based on the information gathered in the applications, the project team went to visit pre-selected businesses in Mafraq and Aqaba governorates to verify the starting conditions and needs of the businesses. Small businesses visited so far include greenhouses for growing ornamental and aromatic plants, tailor shops for producing traditional clothes, kitchens for producing dairy products, small accommodation facilities and woodworking projects.

The visit of the activities in Ma’an was scheduled for Feb. 7, but was postponed to the following week due to adverse weather conditions. In fact, a snowstorm accompanied by strong winds hit Jordan, and local authorities advised people to exercise caution when traveling within the country. In order not to put the project team at risk, it was unanimously decided to postpone the field visit.

Once the field visits are completed, the project team will meet to select, through already defined criteria, the enterprises that will be beneficiaries of the project. Specifically, the criteria are: sector of the business (consistent with Jodhour’s areas of focus, i.e. agriculture and agribusiness, local handicrafts, tourism, and cultural heritage), presence or absence of a license, years of business operation, total income, gender of the head of household, main source of income of the family, location of operation (within the home owned or rented, or in a separate owned or rented premises), potential for growth of business income, period of business operation (seasonal or annual), income of the family, and potential for scalability of the business. Selected businesses will benefit from training in business development and management, accounting, financial reporting, procurement procedures (i.e., procurement of goods and services), and supply chain. In addition to the provision of economic support through the loans and grants (i.e., loans and grants) provided by the project, which are to be used to purchase useful machinery for the business.

As for start-ups, together with the Horizon organization, which has been selected to provide trainings for start-ups yet to be established, the application for participation in the project has been published and circulated, which can be filled out until Feb. 12. The requirements for participation in the project are: to be a Syrian refugee registered with UNHCR, to be literate, to be between the ages of 21 and 60, to have been residing in the project areas for at least 2 years, to have a business idea to be implemented in the project areas, and to be motivated to take part in all the activities under the project.

The invitation to participate in the project activities has been disseminated both through the CBOs and through the municipalities involved. Multiple applications have already been received, accompanied by short videos where participants present their project idea. In the coming weeks, the project team will meet to evaluate the applications and select the most promising project ideas.

As for the training of CBOs delivered by partner KHF, it started this week in Mafraq governorate, to be followed by it will take place in the other governorates.

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