Italy and UN Women partner to support vulnerable women during the COVID-19 response and recovery

Amman, Jordan. The Government of Italy, through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), and UN Women signed a EUR 1 million agreement to promote the resilience and empowerment of vulnerable women in Jordan during the COVID-19 response and recovery. The two-year contribution will support the expansion of the ‘Oasis’ model, which provides a holistic package of services and has already proved effective in reaching out to the most vulnerable communities. The agreement was signed at a ceremony attended by the Italian Ambassador, H.E. Fabio Cassese, the Head of AICS Amman, Dr. Michele Morana, and the UN Women Officer in Charge, Ms. Aisha Mukhtar.

Dr. Morana stressed how “the COVID-19 Pandemic has been an unprecedented global health crisis, and women in Jordan have been disproportionately impacted by its implications. We firmly believe”, he added, “that investing in women’s economic empowerment is essential to leading a fast recovery from the impact of COVID 19, and to promoting women and girls as key agents of development and change”.

There are currently 13 Oasis centers managed by the Ministry of Social Development (MOSD) in partnership with UN Women across the country. UN Women also runs four Oasis centers in Jordan’s refugee camps. Through this strategic partnership, Oasis centers will be able to further support 40,000 vulnerable women and girls, including those living in refugee camps, with access to sustainable livelihood opportunities, protection services, distance learning, social and civic participation. The goal is to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for their resilience in the COVID-19 era and support the long-term recovery of their communities.

“By signing this agreement”, Ambassador Cassese said, “Italy continues in Jordan as well its strong commitment to the promotion of women’s empowerment and gender equality through a “resilience and empowerment” approach, designed to build the short- and medium-term resilience of Syrian refugee and vulnerable Jordanian women, while also promoting the long-term enabling environment for the empowerment and sustainable development of the whole country”. The Italian Cooperation considers gender equality and women’s empowerment as one of the main cross-cutting issues in all programs and initiatives, together with poverty reduction and environmental preservation. Collaboration with national and local authorities and with multilateral stakeholders is an important pillar of a comprehensive strategy aiming at improving women’s conditions in terms of participation in the socio-economic life of their countries, to contribute in achieving the countries’ full socio-economic progress.

This contribution will also complement and mutually reinforce other areas of cooperation between AICS and UN Women in support of Jordan national priorities on women’s empowerment. This includes a catalytic intervention to strengthen institutional capacity development on gender mainstreaming implemented in partnership with MOSD, as well as a dedicated program to address barriers to women’s retention and entry into the labor force.

“Women’s access to cash transfers and protection services, combined with long-term measures for sustainable livelihoods, is crucial for COVID-19 response and recovery. UN Women welcomes this renewed partnership which will support expansion of Oasis model and contribute towards gender integration efforts of Government of Jordan” said Ms. Aisha Mukhtar, UN Women Jordan Officer in Charge.

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