Empowering women and youth with employment, skills and hope

This women’s organization in Jerash is providing youth in their community with training and economic opportunities.

Claire McKeever
Women stand together with a UNICEF flag in the background
07 March 2019

UNICEF is supporting a women’s organization in Souf, Jerash, to provide youth in their community with training and economic opportunities. Beit Souf was founded to empower local women who had limited employment opportunities to generate income through artisanal food production in their village in Jerash – a popular tourist destination. 

One third of young people in Jordan are economically inactive and many have limited opportunities to engage. UNICEF is helping youth reach their full potential through its Amaluna programme, aiming to support 30,000 young people with quality vocational training programmes that can help them to successfully enter the labour market.

Jordan’s young, educated population presents an enormous opportunity to accelerate growth and positive change.

Robert Jenkins, Representative, UNICEF Jordan

In Souf, like in many parts of Jordan, young people face limited opportunities when transitioning from school to work.

Since it opened, Beit Souf has offered a haven for youth who have finished education but cannot find further opportunities - many of those now engaged in the UNICEF-supported training have spent years volunteering in the space, getting much-needed support from its female leaders.

A woman stands in a garden

We are about women’s empowerment and creating social impact. We looked at what we have in our area – human resources, craft, raw materials – and we set out to help the most marginalized in the community.

Sumaya, co-founder of Beit Souf

UNICEF’s Amaluna programme targets youth in economically disadvantaged areas and equips them with the skills they need to increase their employability so that they can access meaningful and sustainable employment, and self-employment through entrepreneurship. 

“We just needed someone to back us up and support us,” says Balqees, 22, who has been taking training in food production and marketing in the newly improved Beit Souf - refurbished with UNICEF's support to include a training centre for youth.

A young woman stands outside

We are eager, excited and we have hope.

Balqees, 22

UNICEF is also assisting the women and youth to build stronger links with the private sector so that they have sustainable market access for their artisanal goods, including those who are now running home-based businesses.

Some of the new linkages with the country’s thriving tourism industry has opened up Beit Souf to receiving more visitors with hiking and cycling activities now launching from their space, attracting more hungry tourists to eat and shop there. 

Men and women sit and stand at a table with a signing document
Representatives of the private sector sign new agreements with Beit Souf.
Pots of jam stacked on a table
Some of the locally-made produce on sale at Beit Souf.

The UNICEF Amaluna Youth Economic Engagement project is funded by the Kuwait Foundations of the Advancement of Science (KFAS) and the Government of Canada.