The Wadi Al Rayan area is a relatively warm, humid and fertile part of Jordan. With a total population of 12,000, most of its residents rely on agriculture for their livelihoods.
Problems and Challenges Facing the Area:
- Intermittent water and power supplies to villages.
- Poor housing situations.
- Lack of sufficient health care facilities.
- Low social status and educational levels.
- Lack of recreational facilities.
- Lack of proper a market place.
Economic Problems Facing the Area:
- High unemployment rates.
- Lack of income-generating activities.
- Lack of job opportunities, especially for women.
- Most residents rely on agriculture, due to the climate. Such jobs are often “passed down” from one generation to another; however, lack innovative training.
- Lack of marketing skills among the local community.
Wadi Al Rayan Project
The Wadi Al Rayan Project is an environmentally friendly one, which creates job opportunities for local women, and preserves the traditional making of handicrafts in the area. Under the Project, cattail reeds and banana leaves which in the past were burnt and dumped posing an environmental hazard, are used as raw material to produce hand-made items such as baskets, coasters, mats and other home accessories. These unique products are woven into different forms, and are characterized with a distinctive style.
Since the offset of the Project in 1997, local women received training to operate and manage this venture through JRF’s Capacity Building Department. Training sessions focused on several topics, including: marketing, entrepreneurial initiatives, planning strategies and business development.
Through a conveniently located center that provides a comfortable working environment, the Wadi Al Rayan Project attracts women from surrounding villages, and it has successfully become a connection point in the community, creating positive energy and partnership among beneficiaries. Every morning, the women of Wadi Al Rayan and its surrounding areas, come to work at the Center, or simply to take raw material home, where they can work and still be with their families.
As with all JRF income-generating handicraft projects, Al-Karma Center - located in the Capital city, Amman - provides local women of the Wadi Al Rayan Project with necessary support for the management, design, quality control and marketing of their project and its resulting products.