Canada’s development assistance in Jordan

As a middle-income country, Jordan has had a relatively stable and well-functioning economy and has demonstrated progressive social development indicators. In 2015, Jordan ranked 80th out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Jordan has made significant progress over the past 15 years in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly in the fields of education, environment and health care; yet more remains to be done to achieve targets related to equality, poverty reduction, employment and gender parity.

An estimated 14 percent of Jordan’s population continues to live below the national poverty line. The development challenges, particularly for youth and women, continue to persist in Jordan, where unemployment for youth has reached 29 percent. Similarly, women’s participation in the labour force is at only 22 percent compared with that of men at 87 percent. Women’s participation in the labour force is only one element contributing to Jordan’s relatively low ranking of 102nd out of 188 countries on the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index.

Jordan has incorporated the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which build on the MDGs, into its national agenda, notably Jordan’s 2025 Vision plan. The country has highlighted the need to address the SGD goals related to climate action, and in 2013 became the first country in the Middle East to develop a national climate change policy. Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. This is coupled with a rapid population increase and urbanization, which has led to additional strains on limited energy resources.

Since 2011 the crisis in neighbouring Syria has had a negative impact on Jordan economy, fiscal position, public infrastructure, services and social cohesion. The Government of Jordan is facing extreme pressure as it struggles to address the needs of more than an estimated one million Syrian refugees, approximately 642,000 of whom are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and 85 percent of whom are living in host communities. This rapid increase in population and strain put on Jordan’s resources has led to mounting tensions in communities. The crisis in Syria has further exacerbated Jordan’s long-standing social development challenges, which include high unemployment, low wages, growing pockets of poverty and marginalization, protection challenges for women and children, and systemic barriers to women’s empowerment and participation in economic and political life.

Jordan’s relatively secure environment makes it a hub for the delivery of Canada’s programs in the Middle East: it plays a critical role in supporting Canada’s response to the crises in the region.

Thematic Focus

In the beginning of 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada's new strategy to address the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria, including further increases over the next three years to Canada's security, stabilization, and humanitarian and development assistance. Complementing Canada’s international humanitarian assistance, Canada’s bilateral development assistance will reinforce long-term development objectives in education and sustainable economic growth while also supporting Jordan in its response to the refugee crisis. Canada’s development programming will help to strengthen the resilience of individuals, communities and systems to withstand the crises in the region and contribute to the longer-term development of Jordan.

Children and youth

Support for children and youth has been, and continues to be, a Canadian priority through investment in Jordan’s education sector. Canada’s development assistance in Jordan supports a more-resilient education system that provides a quality and inclusive education for all children, including refugee children. Canada provides direct budget support to Jordan’s Ministry of Education to implement its national education plan and strengthen its capacity to deliver services while further supporting improvements to the quality of education through, for example, support for teacher training.

Sustainable economic growth

In order to encourage sustainable economic growth, Canada supports improved, low-carbon economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurship in Jordan, particularly for women, youth, refugees and refugee-hosting communities. Canada’s programs in Jordan support, for example, local renewable energy, enterprise development, skills development and income generation, and targeting women and youth.

Advancing democracy

Canada is supporting the Government of Jordan to respond effectively to the needs of citizens and refugees, particularly in refugee-hosting communities. By adopting a resilience-based approach, Canada is helping to strengthen the capacities of individuals, institutions and systems of the government to withstand the impacts of the ongoing crises in the region. For example, Canada’s programming is supporting municipalities to provide quality basic services to local populations.

Key anticipated results

  • improved learning outcomes and improved access to public schools for Jordanian and Syrian boys and girls;
  • increased participation of women and working-age youth in the formal labour market;
  • a more conducive environment for economic growth, including for women and youth entrepreneurs;
  • increased employment opportunities for skilled workers in the renewable energy and energy-efficient sector, particularly for women and youth;
  • improved relationships between Jordanian and Syrian refugees and resilience of individuals affected by the conflict in Syria.

Achievements

2014-2015

Achievements 2014-2015

Children and youth:

  • 700,000 students have benefited from nutritious food at school.
  • 2,009 schools implemented school-improvement plans that enhanced quality of education.
  • 2,368 teachers and administrators in Jordanian public schools received training on self-assessment, strategic planning as well as results-based management and gender mainstreaming to improve the quality of education.

Sustainable economic growth:

  • With Canada’s support, 819 college students participated in skills-for-employability courses implemented in five community colleges.
  • After receiving training supported by Canada, 211 youth found long-term employment, of whom 90 percent have retained their jobs.

Resilience and advancing democracy:

  • Nine municipalities hosting the largest concentration of Syrian refugees in northern Jordan improved their service delivery by accessing municipal grants.
  • Canada supported the aforementioned nine municipalities by undertaking public consultations with local communities to collaboratively and systematically determine priority needs for schools.