Women Creative Hub in Amman

1. Amman and culture

Amman (the Ancient Rabbat ‘Ammon (1200 BC) of the Ammonites and the Classical Philadelphia of Roman periods) has served as the ancient and modern capital of Jordan. It is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. An excavation in 1994 at Ain Ghazzal uncovered homes that were believed to have been built during the Stone Age, circa 7000 BC. Amman was conceived as a place that offered the newcomers a new place for development opportunities. This multi-layered beginning also granted Amman a special character, emerging as a beacon of tolerance and peaceful co-existence between groups with different religious, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. Today, the heart of the City (Downtown) and many of its residential hills are undergoing serious urban regeneration initiatives undertaken by Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) and by the private sector. This is driven by a culturally-led revitalization and aims to create a more inclusive city that prioritizes public space provision, cultural amenities and urban entrepreneurship.

The Women Creative Hub serves women of the local community, including those who receive salaries from the national aid fund, and women with special needs (with disabilities). 

2. Project goals and implementation

2.1. Main goal and specific objectives

  • Improving livelihoods and small-scale income-generating activities for vulnerable women, especially for women with disabilities, women heading their family, IDPs, and refugee women, to ensure their participation in family and society, and enhance participation to fair trades.
  • New sources of income and economic opportunities were created through targeted cash for work and development of capacities and skills.
  • Supporting and encouraging innovative ideas of entrepreneurs for micro and small businesses among Syrian citizens.
  • Exploring innovative skills and livelihood development schemes that build on assets and opportunities, and continuing targeting women through business skills classes and campaign.

2.2. Project development

We created a communication group through focus groups and interactive sessions to further learn how to start a new business:

  • 2022 became incbotar.
  • 2023 Become an official center that gives vocational liencees.

Queen Rania Park (QRP) is one of the few major parks located in East Amman. It was designed to serve people with special needs in one of the most impoverished areas in the city. The park is easily accessible by bus, as it is located on the Amman Bus route, which in turn attracts people from all over East Amman. It acts as a community space that:

  • Hosts events and programs that spur local development and revitalize the community in the area.
  • Raises awareness about vocational opportunities.
  • Provides vocational trainings and workshops and assists beneficiaries to develop skills and products. Target beneficiaries are Jordanians and refugees.
  • Tries (through the hub) to help women to overcome the barriers they are facing and also supports small business.

3. Impacts

3.1. Direct impacts

This project was initially established with the aim of contributing to the integration and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in the less privileged areas of eastern Amman by strengthening mechanisms and capacities at the local level, especially on gender equality, for the achievement of SDG5. It aims to train and empower women in the East Amman region to acquire necessary skills and become able to work in handicrafts sectors, while supporting them to raise an income, by advising them and improving their capabilities in the field of IT and e-Marketing. This project was created to teach young men and women about the creative industries, working from home and building their capabilities in digital education, photography and design. Moreover, the Greater Amman Municipality facilitated a number of laws to work from home being exempt of the fees of the first three years, as well as on the issuance of the home license electronically within one day.

Vocational training can play a key role in helping girls to find employment. It often includes development of technical capacity, entrepreneurship, and business skills. Ideally, vocational training is demand-oriented and builds specific skills tailored to prospective employers’ needs. Other vocational training programmes promote that girls build a wide set of soft skills, such as conflict resolution, team building, and communication, which they can use in a wide variety of jobs. While soft skills may complement demand-oriented training, research demonstrates that the success of vocational training depends primarily on the programmes’ ability to target and help girls to develop the technical and business skills needed by the employers.

3.2. Assessment

An evaluation process was carried out to evaluate vocational training programs for developing entrepreneurial skills among women at the Vocational Training Centers. The participants comprised women, trainers and entrepreneurs, and a multiple stage sampling technique was used to select the sample. A mixed method approach was used to evaluate the program model. Data was collected from classroom observation, semi-structured interviews, and desk review validated through pilot testing, expert opinion. However, the revision of the contents of the course is recommended, and so is the provision of better environment at effective teaching strategies with special focus on practical work.

3.3. Key factors

  • The main vocational resources of the women hub for supporting women in East Amman were established, validated and ready for real implementation.
  • The established workshops were tested with a pilot project on the community women, and the results of the capacity building programs achieved their objectives and were successful.

3.4. Continuity

The local government (GAM) has worked in collaboration with other local and international development agencies to design and implement a comprehensive concept for a self-sustaining and self-financing women hub at QRP. All the technical and sustainable services and activities will be held at the GAM-QRP women hub, which has enough resources for a built-in sustainability through their technical, departmental and organizational structures and strength.

The new established vocational workshops can independently and collectively enable community women with technical and vocational skills that are highly-demanded in the market, and will insure sustainable income for them, thus empowering them economically.

The women hub will act as a learning academy, or institution, that provides full technical services such as supply evaluation, assessment and women capacity building, branding, packaging, formalization, marketing/promotion and building linkages with end markets (private and public sectors), as well as managing the logistics, sales, and delivery.

4. Further information

Amman was a candidate for the fifth “UCLG – Mexico City – Culture 21” International Award (February – June 2022). The jury for the award drew up its final report in September 2022, and requested that the Committee on Culture promote this project as one of the good practices to be implemented through Agenda 21 for culture.

This article was written by Rasha Shawarbeh, Manager, Queen RaniaAbdalla park qwesma, Amman, Jordan.

Contact: Rashashawarbeh (at) gmail.com

Website: www.ammancity.gov.jo

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