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New project to help Irbid refugees, host communities train for jobs, launch their own enterprises

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Jan 10,2017 - Last updated at Jan 11,2017

IRBID — The LEADERS Consortium on Tuesday launched a new project to help Syrian refugees and host communities in the northern governorate of Irbid.

With the support of the European Union’s MADAD Trust Fund and the Regional Development and Protection Programme, the LEADERS Consortium brings together five agencies, including the Danish Refugee Council (consortium lead), Save the Children, CARE, ACTED and Oxfam, according to stakeholders.

The project aims “to contribute to the economic self reliance, resilience and social stability of displacement affected populations [...] by encouraging local actors and institutions to develop durable and inclusive livelihood solutions and by advocating for an enabling socio-economic environment”, a LEADERS statement said. 

During the launch, held at the governorate headquarters, Irbid Governor Radwan Otoum said that Irbid, 80km north of Amman, is one of the cities most affected by the Syrian refugee crisis, with around 400,000 refugees residing there.

The crisis has affected all sectors, such as health, labour, municipalities and schools, which have received 160,000 additional students, Otoum added.

EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana said the project focuses on refugees and vulnerable members of host communities, such as women, young people and people with disabilities, as well as the most affected sectors like education and labour.

As part of the EU’s commitment to supporting Jordan in shouldering the burdens of the refugee crisis, the union has presented the Kingdom with 567 million euros since the beginning of the influx of refugees, Fontana noted.

Securing employment for Syrian refugees and Jordanians will help increase the Kingdom’s exports to Europe, with additional benefits from the decision to simplify the rules of origin for Jordanian products, the ambassador added.

Officials from Jordanian institutions and local community representatives expressed appreciation for the EU and the consortium. 

Made Ferguson, LEADERS’ chief of party, said the project will increase jobs and improve economic development.

The project will provide  training for Syrians and Jordanians to help them find jobs, support small- and medium-sized enterprises through improving business development services, and work with the relevant authorities to address obstacles to development and job opportunities, Ferguson added.

Ahmad Al Shatnawi, director of a Vocational Training Corporation branch, urged the donors to spread their projects to more areas across the Kingdom, and to increase aid in order to create sufficient jobs.

Fontana said the priority is supporting the most affected areas.


The LEADERS Consortium operating in Jordan is made up of five organisations “dedicated to supporting people in refugee hosting communities to develop locally-owned solutions to the economic and social challenges that they face”, according to stakeholders.

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