With a population of 9.5 million and limited natural resources, Jordan has been both a haven and transit point for the region’s refugees. Considered one of the most water scarce countries in the world, it has hosted several waves of refugee populations since the 1948 War – 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 and becoming more vulnerable the longer they are displaced. This recent refugee influx has exacerbated Jordan’s growing water shortage, increased demand for energy, education and health, and overwhelmed infrastructure and public service providers.
The country suffers from high levels of unemployment, particularly among youth and women. Women – whether Jordanian citizens, refugees or migrants – face collective and individual barriers to gender justice. They have less recourse than men to legal protection, access to and control over resources, and less decision-making power in and outside the home. Many of them are subjected to several forms of gender-based violence, including early marriage.
Oxfam in Jordan
Oxfam has been working in Jordan since the early 1990s, working primarily through Jordanian civil society and focusing largely on women’s access to justice and transformative leadership.
In 2013, we significantly scaled up our operations to respond to the Syrian crisis, providing essential humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees as well as vulnerable Jordanian households, while promoting more sustainable solutions to meet the challenges of a protracted crisis.
Oxfam's program in Jordan focuses on three key areas:
Emergency water, sanitation and hygiene, and water governance
Oxfam responds to humanitarian WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) challenges by targeting the most vulnerable communities, supporting households to access safe drinking water and adequate sanitation facilities, and tackling the root causes of weak management and inequitable resource allocation. As one of the lead agencies in the provision of water and sanitation in Za’atari Camp, we support approximately 21,000 refugees in three districts.
Oxfam works with partners and allies to address the barriers to economic participation, focusing on conflict-affected populations. We support community-led models to enhance local economic development with a focus on women’s economic empowerment, and access to sustainable livelihoods opportunities for vulnerable households. We are exploring innovative approaches to strengthen economic justice through business development, skills building, mentoring and coaching of youth and women across Jordan.
Oxfam works closely with Jordanian civil society, in particular women’s rights organizations, to support women and girls in Jordan and tackle the policies and practices which perpetuate gender inequality. We aim to increase the ability of women and girls to participate in decision making at the personal, household, and community level, as well as their access to justice to ensure their practical needs and strategic interests are met.