An end to poverty for every child
There are 3.16 million children in Jordan - one in five are multidimensionally poor. Poverty rates vary by governorate, from 11% in Amman to 27% in Ma’an. Poverty incidence and the poverty gap tend to be higher in rural areas, while in absolute terms, most poor Jordanians live in the densely populated governorates of Amman, Irbid and Zarqa in the centre and north of the country.
Marginalized Jordanian minorities are more likely to experience poverty and gaps in services. Meanwhile, 86% of registered Syrian refugees live below Jordan’s poverty line. The situation of refugee children in Jordan remains precarious, with household savings depleted and employment challenging. Many refugee families rely on international assistance to meet their needs.
The Jordanian Constitution guarantees the right to basic social and health services for Jordanian citizens, and maintains relatively high expenditures on social sectors. However, there is no social protection law, relying on programmes embedded into other plans. These programmes range from subsidies to a cash transfer scheme, tax exemptions and social services.
The coverage and targeting of these programmes requires strengthening.The National Aid Fund (NAF), which operates six programmes targeting Jordanian households with children without parental care, convicts, people with disabilities, missing persons, divorced women, and female-headed households covered 7.4% of the population in 2010 while poverty prevalence was 14.4%. Cash benefits are also provided by the Zakat Fund, which reaches about 1% of the poor.
A parallel system of cash transfers has been developed to respond to the needs of Syrian refugees, including a variety of cash and voucher assistance schemes that also benefit Jordanian citizens. As the Syrian crisis is now in its ninth year, these programmes, initiated as humanitarian assistance, are now facing funding shortfalls, highlighting the need to move towards a development approach in supporting refugee and host community children.
UNICEF provides an integrated package of support for the most vulnerable children and youth in Jordan, while also supporting the Government of Jordan to develop and implement social protection and poverty reduction strategies. These interventions include:
- A network of 151 Makani "My Space" centres supporting over 177,000 children, youth and parents, with access to safe learning opportunities - as well as integrated community-based child protection, early childhood development, life skills and social innovation training;
- Hajati cash transfer programme - a monthly child grant to allow vulnerable girls and boys to enrol, and stay, in school;
- Providing technical support to strengthen national systems, including National Aid Fund, to more effectively reach the most vulnerable children and their families;
- Supporting the development of a child-friendly and equity-focused national social protection and poverty reduction strategy;
- Generating evidence to inform policy, including the development of a national Multidimensional Poverty Index, and undertaking frequent monitoring of children, youth and women in Jordan to better understand the impact of changing economic situation on families.