Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Jordan is at a critical stage in providing enough quality jobs for its fast-growing workforce. Jordanians also face fierce competition from foreign workers in labor intensive sectors, leaving many Jordanians unemployed and unable to support their families.

Kindergarten administrators, parents, and staff at the computer-equipped community centers were skeptical. They did not think there would be any real benefit to a pilot project to teach children and their mothers how to use computers. The idea was to introduce mothers and children from rural communities to the basics of computer use, and show them how to tap into education software that teaches English, Arabic, mathematics, and problem-solving skills.

When Samer Al Jabari started his software development and consulting company in 2002, he had no experience and no customers. He went to the Young Entrepreneurs Association (YEA), established in 1998 to promote entrepreneurship in Jordan and encourage national economic development, to get help in runing his business. USAID has helped build the capacity of the YEA by providing technical assistance, training, and a development grant of more than $415,000.

When Remah Salah Shihab finished university, she began looking for a job—a challenging proposition in a country like Jordan, where recent graduates find an extremely competitive job market and few opportunities to gain job experience. A friend told Remah about the NetCorps project and she sent in her resume.

Muna Hamdan needs an endless supply of jars and plastic bags for her home-based business producing jams and pickles. She spent valuable time searching for suppliers until she heard about the Business-to-Business (B2B) service at the Jordan Micro Credit Company, a USAID-supported institution that seeks to help entrepreneurs through small loans and support services.

Ten years ago, Amira owned a beauty salon, drove her own car, and helped her husband pay the household bills.

Her life, however, changed in an instant when she was hit by a car. While she was left disabled and was learning to walk again, her husband divorced her. Penniless, she worried how she would support her two young children. Divorced women in Jordanian society are particularly vulnerable, and Amira was desperate to find a means to feed her children.

Although its natural resources are limited, Jordan's population growth is accelerating, posing a real challenge to health, education, and social service development. Jordan's population of 5.29 million people is growing at the fast rate of 2.59 percent. Without a joint effort from local communities and national institutions, the country's standard of living will deteriorate and poverty and socio-economic inequities will grow dramatically.

With 5.3 million people and a largely arid environment, Jordan suffers from a major water scarcity problem that presents great problems for its development. Jordan is one of the ten most water-deprived countries in the world, and its rural communities, which are dependent on agriculture, suffer the most because of a lack of water and energy infrastructure. East Shigera, a village of 129,000 people in southern Jordan, is one of many rural communities where residents live below the poverty line due to large family size, unemployment and their arid location. But the community also has a vibrant, dynamic civil society committed to improving the lives of its people.

Jordan's Central Bank is the focal point of the finance industry, responsible for monitoring operations of all of the Kingdom's banks. But the bank's technology was out of date, its network and other systems were inadequate for a modern bank regulator. Its wide area network (WAN) only linked some of its locations and didn't connect the Central Bank with Jordan's commercial banks. Moreover, the Central Bank's outdated infrastructure couldn't support the software needed to adhere to international best practices.


Last updated: January 12, 2015