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Princess Basma Launches Poverty Pockets Empowerment Project Phase III
15 November, 2011

The Jordan Times
By Laila Azzeh

AMMAN - Seven poverty pocket areas located in Mafraq, Karak and Balqa governorates will receive a package of comprehensive assistance and logistical support under the third phase of the Poverty Pockets Empowerment Project, project officials announced Tuesday.

Under the third phase of the project, which is implemented by the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) with the support of the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the fund will provide a holistic approach to improving economic and social conditions of the local communities, in order to help them break free from the cycle of poverty.

Poverty rates in the targeted areas - Irhab, Khaldieh, Umm Al Jamal, Salhieh, Deir Al Kahf, Ghor Safi and Southern Shuneh - exceed 35 per cent, while unemployment is as high as 17 per cent, according to Mohammad Ramadan, director of the project’s third phase.

During a ceremony to announce the launch of the phase yesterday, he noted that a total of 5,544 families will benefit from the project.

"The project seeks to enable the local communities to run their own income-generating projects. The only way to do so is by building their capacity through training," Ramadan told The Jordan Times yesterday, noting that “some people who were willing to develop their capabilities [through the project] have succeeded in maintaining their businesses”.

He noted that JOHUD, in cooperation with all stakeholders, carefully reviewed the outcomes of the first and second phases to improve preparations for this phase, which took six months.

"Now we are ready for the hands-on phase, which will last for two years," Ramadan highlighted, noting that the fund will cooperate with several stakeholders, including the Queen Zain Al Sharaf Institute for Development, JOHUD’s training arm, to implement the project.

At the ceremony, HRH Princess Basma underlined the need for genuine partnership among all stakeholders to actively overcome poverty and unemployment and enable underprivileged families to live decent lives.

She commended the planning ministry’s efforts to fund the three phases of the programme and its openness to collaboration with JOHUD in the field of community development and empowerment.

The phase is expected to create about 1,779 work opportunities by implementing about 14 income-generating schemes and extending soft loans to start 140 micro-businesses, among other efforts that target cooperatives, youths, women, children and the disabled.

Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Jafar Hassan said the Poverty Pockets Empowerment Project is just one of several initiatives the government is embarking on to enhance the living conditions of citizens, noting that the programme entails implementing around 250 income-generating projects as well as establishing credit funds to encourage individuals in the targeted areas to initiate their own micro-businesses.

As part of its poverty reduction strategy, the ministry launched the JD25 million project earlier this year to benefit 32 regions classified as the most deprived over a 30-month period.

Under the programme, infrastructure and services benefiting around 100,000 people residing in poverty pockets will be improved, and training will be provided to some 2,000 young people to enable them to enter the labour market, after which they will be connected with jobs in the private sector and other concerned institutions, according to the ministry.

The programme is being implemented in cooperation with four institutions: the Jordan River Foundation, the Noor Al Hussein Foundation, JOHUD and the Social Development Centres Society.