With a population of just above 6 million and limited natural resources, Jordan has been both a haven and transit point for the region’s refugees. Dating back to the 1948 War, which forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to flee to neighboring countries, Jordan has hosted several waves of refugee populations – Palestinians, Iraqis, and most recently Syrians.
Syrian refugees now make up more than 10% of Jordan’s population, with the majority living outside of formal camps in urban areas throughout the country.
Jordan, one of the most water scarce countries in the world, has had its population size rapidly boosted due to the most recent refugee influx. This has increased demand for energy, water, education, and health and overwhelmed infrastructure and public service providers. Meanwhile, Syrian refugees are becoming more vulnerable the longer they are displaced, with fewer options to access reliable livelihoods and increased challenges to meet their basic needs.
Oxfam in Jordan
Oxfam has been in Jordan since the early 1990s, working primarily through Jordanian civil society and focusing largely on women’s access to justice and transformative leadership. We also responded to the Iraqi refugee influx into Jordan. In early 2013, Oxfam significantly scaled up operations to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis and provide essential humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees as well as vulnerable Jordanian households.
Oxfam's program in Jordan focuses on four areas:
- The country program continues to provide essential support to refugees who fled Syria to live in Za’atari Camp and host communities in Jordan, while developing programs that strengthen communities and partners capacity to meet the challenges of a protracted refugee crisis. In 2015, we helped 45,000 people affected by the Syria Crisis.
- Strengthening local economic development, with a focus on women’s economic empowerment, and access to sustainable livelihoods opportunities for vulnerable households.
- Ensuring vulnerable communities in Jordan have equitable use and access to safe drinking water by working with duty bearers and rights holders to ensure effective urban water governance at local and national levels.
- Promoting gender justice for women in Jordan by mainstreaming the rights of women in humanitarian programming and supporting women’s political and economic participation through transformative leadership programs and increasing access to justice.
Across Oxfam’s programmes in Jordan, there is a commitment to ensuring women, men, boys, and girls at risk have improved and equitable access to protection services. By both mainstreaming protection in the humanitarian response and actively working with other humanitarian actors to hold international and local duty bearers accountable, Oxfam is working to ensure that the rights, dignity, and security of crisis affected people in Jordan are upheld.