COVID-19 has certainly made it so that many activities part of AVSI's development work all over the worlds had to be thought again and redesigned so that safety could be ensured.
Turning problems into opportunities is what AVSI does every day. The Covid challenge has been new and huge, but it didn’t leave AVSI and its beneficiaries behind, especially the most vulnerable ones like the women with which AVSI works and considers fundamental for community development.
New needs were therefore turned into new opportunities within the project “Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Jordan through Labour-Intensive Measures (CfWGI)” - funded by GIZ. The project includes the rehabilitation of two parks in the South of Jordan: in Gweirah and Humayma, part of the Aqaba Governorate, through cash for work for vulnerable Jordanian and Syrian women and men.
To face the pandemic and continue working on women empowerment, two Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) workshops dedicated to women were set up.
More than 40,000 masks and 2,000 work clothes were produced by the women working here and then distributed to public and private authorities and stakeholders (schools, hospitals, offices, civil organizations, etc.).
Moreover, AVSI carried out technical and life skills training for the cash workers, necessary to enter the labor market.
In this way, 84 women could have short-term jobs in a moment where other activities had to be suspended. In addition, they had the opportunity to gain valuable knowledge for their empowerment and employability.
The women involved reported that another positive outcome they appreciated was that the project gave them the possibility to work for their whole community, rather than just for their family like they were used to.
AVSI staff was amazed by the way they changed during the project: they were able to target different priorities and started proposing new ideas for their own community, speaking on behalf of it.
They highlighted how important it was for them to open themselves up to the community and to get to know new people.
They were surprised that before the project they didn’t know each other, even if they were living in the same neighborhood: in addition to new skills and an income, they even gained new friends.
Some of them, like Noor, Farah and Bedor, went looking for even newer and bigger opportunities: the on-the-job training they received at the PPE workshop allowed them to successfully pass the skill test during the recruitment process in a textile factory in Aqaba and get a new, exciting job.
Employment, new skills and community support can contribute to women empowerment.
By participating in the community life, becoming a part of it and even directly producing something for it, like PPEs, are fundamental to foster resilience, self-assurance and the courage to seek new opportunities.
Furthermore, it creates relationships by connecting the members of the community and creating spaces to share with friends, ensuring that the person is always at the center of the development intervention.