U.S. funded program in Zarqa celebrates gender integration

Zarqa- Under the patronage of the Minister of Social Development Reem Abu Hassan and with the attendance of U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice G. Wells, the Millennium Challenge Account – Jordan (MCA-Jordan) held an event in Zarqa city to celebrate three years in integrating gender within the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Compact in Jordan. MCC, a US Government agency, is financing wastewater and water projects in Zarqa governorate through a $275 million grant program.

“MCA-Jordan has successfully integrated gender at different levels. As one aspect, the company promoted and continues to promote fair recruitment practices. MCA-Jordan has provided training on gender equality, fair recruitment practices, and counter-trafficking in persons to contractors implementing the infrastructure projects. This has resulted in the recruitment of over 104 women in full-time jobs, becoming one of the top infrastructure projects in Jordan to employ women, particularly women working in the field,” MCA-Jordan CEO, Eng. Kamal Zoubi, said.

MCA-Jordan also recruited over 100 women from the local community in part-time jobs, working as socioeconomic surveyors. “These women were trained to conduct surveys targeted at beneficiaries of the National Aid Fund, as part of MCA-Jordan’s Water Smart Homes-Activity, an intervention that aims at rehabilitating the in-house water systems for the poorest of the poor in Zarqa Governorate,” the CEO added.

In addition to employment, households in Zarqa Governorate headed by women benefitted from the company’s projects. As of November 30, 2014, 14% of the households that connected to the new MCC funded sewage network were women headed households.

MCA-Jordan has developed and is implementing its Social and Gender Integration Plan, in order to ensure that gender is integrated across all of its operations and processes.  In addition, MCA-Jordan conducts specialized gender trainings to its staff, consultants, and contractors. Furthermore, the company encourages women’s participation in all public meetings by working closely with women’s associations in Zarqa Governorate.

“Women play an essential role in water resource management and conservation in Jordan.  By ensuring that women are actively encouraged to participate in all aspects of the US Government’s $275 million investment in water programs in Zarqa, the MCC-Jordan Compact is helping beneficiary communities more effectively improve water practices,” U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice G. Wells said.

MCA-Jordan expects to launch a new initiative that specifically targets women, under the Water Smart Homes – Activity. “In January, MCA-Jordan, in cooperation with different women’s associations in Zarqa Governorate, will launch an initiative to empower women through professional trainings on certified plumbing, as well as business start-up and marketing.  The aim of this initiative is assist women in developing their capacity to establish income generating activities by working as skilled plumbers,” MCA-Jordan Social Gender Specialist, Dr. Khoulod Marashdeh, said.