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NEF launches resilience-building project for refugees, host communities

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Nov 09,2022 - Last updated at Nov 09,2022

The launch celebration of the Near East Foundation’s Development Impact Bond project for refugees in Jordan, on Tuesday (Photo by Mays Ibrahim Mustafa)

AMMAN — The Near East Foundation (NEF), a non-profit international development organisation, on Tuesday celebrated the launch of the first tranche of its Development Impact Bond (DIB) project for refugees in Jordan, which began in 2021.

The DIB is a “micro-enterprise creation programme” that works on building the resilience and improving the livelihoods of refugees and their host communities by providing funds and technical support for vocational, entrepreneurship and tailored job creation programmes, according to a NEF statement made available to The Jordan Times.

The project, which primarily targets women and youth in communities with large refugee populations, aims to provide 3,400 business start-up grants and support the training of 5,040 refugees and members of host communities, the statement said.

To date, NEF has helped over 1,200 trainees and provided business grants to 823 beneficiaries, it added.

The programme works to mitigate the impacts of displacement on the host community’s economy and on refugees themselves by “ensuring their access to safe and dignified work and providing them with a source of income to enhance their self-reliance and economic inclusion,” project coordinator for DIB Dalal Masalha told The Jordan Times.

During the event, Assistant Secretary-General at the Ministry of Social Development Amer Hiasat said that the Jordanian government is proud to be a partner to NEF in implementing this project.

“Through its programmes and partnerships”, the ministry aims to strengthen ties between Jordanian and refugee communities to achieve societal peace and security, he said, adding that “Jordan is one the first countries to fulfill its international obligations to human rights, social justice and gender equality”. 

Norwegian Ambassador to Jordan Espen Lindbæck commended Jordan’s hospitality in welcoming refugees, noting the need for new initiatives to support the Kingdom’s efforts. 

He added that “Norway is pleased to support projects that contribute to increasing enterprise development, strengthening livelihood and creating jobs in local communities”, especially those affected by the Syrian conflict, which led “to one of the worst humanitarian disasters and refugee crises in modern history”.

During the event, a group of beneficiaries also showcased their products and briefed stakeholders on how the DIB has impacted their businesses.

Maryam Tawfiq, a female plumber benefiting from the DIB, shared her experience with the project and its impact on her professional and personal life.

“It has allowed me further develop my business, ensure its sustainability and contribute to supporting my family,” she said. 

Thriving in a male-dominated industry has also increased Tawfiq’s confidence, she said, adding that “I hope that my success inspires other women to believe in themselves and pursue their dreams”.

The project is supported by NEF, the furniture manufacturing company IKEA, the Danish enterprise foundation Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation Norad, the US Development Finance Corporation, the Norwegian investment company Ferd and the Belgium-based investment firm KOIS.

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