Jordan is one of the driest countries in the world, with less water per capita than almost anywhere else on earth. With a population projected to double in the next two decades and the effects of climate change expected to make precipitation cycles more uncertain, water scarcity could become an even greater problem.
To address this challenge, the Millennium Challenge Corporation and Jordan are working together as part of a five-year, $275.1 million compact to increase the supply in Zarqa Governorate by improving water delivery, wastewater collection and wastewater treatment.
The success of these efforts requires women. Women play an essential role in water resources management and conservation in Jordan. In their homes, women are most often the collectors, users and managers of water. They are farmers of rain-fed crops. By specifically including women in water programs, MCC is helping to more effectively improve water quality and quantity while spreading the message to other community members, especially families and children, about MCC-funded changes in Jordan’s water sector.
The compact’s Water Smart Homes Activity—part of the $93 million Water Network Project—is improving water quality and quantity at the household level through infrastructure repairs and an outreach campaign. While still being designed, the activity expects to provide certified plumbing training for women. This will increase their skills and knowledge related to water management as well as their incomes.
What is innovative about this initiative is that participating women will also receive business start-up/management training, access to microfinance through other institutions and an opportunity to conduct on-the-job training with infrastructure repairs to be conducted as part of the activity. Women and women’s associations will have additional opportunities to participate in and benefit from the activity, including through access to new jobs.
As part of the infrastructure investment, MCC and MCA-Jordan (the local organization implementing the compact) are promoting women’s employment through fair recruitment practices and through measures to prevent human trafficking. The compact also used a gender-responsive approach to resettle people affected by the projects, primarily by encouraging women’s participation in the compensation process, which usually only included men. MCA-Jordan is including women in social outreach meetings to provide project updates, promote safety and gather information.
The holistic approach to gender integration within the Jordan Compact is on track to successfully support women’s meaningful participation in projects—and ultimately increasing the benefits for all.