Formative Evaluation of the Women’s Economic Linkages and Employment Development (WE-LEAD) (P002120) and Launching Economic Achievement Program (LEAP) (P002121) Projects in Jordan – Executive summary

Evaluation Type: Formative
Commissioned by: Global Affairs Canada
Consultant: Integrated International
Date: December 2020

Rationale and purpose of the evaluation

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) commissioned INTEGRATED International to undertake a formative (mid-term) evaluation of the Canada-funded Women’s Economic Linkages and Employment Development (WE-LEAD) and Launching Economic Achievement (LEAP) projects.

The mid-term evaluation is intended to serve as a means of validating or filling the gaps in the data obtained from monitoring. The mid‐term evaluation is being commissioned at this point in time to assess project progress and achievement of results and prompt necessary adjustments.Footnote 1 It should also provide insights into challenges due to project design and assumptions.

The purpose of the mid-term evaluation is to:

This external, independent formative evaluation will benefit and inform the implementing partners: World University Service of Canada (WUSC), Canadian Leaders in International Consulting (CLIC) and the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), as well as Global Affairs Canada. The evaluation results will also be made available to stakeholders in Jordan.

Objectives of the evaluation

The objectives of the evaluation are as follows:

Scope of the evaluation

The mid-term evaluation covers 2 projects funded by Global Affairs Canada in Jordan: WE-LEAD and LEAP.

Development context

Women in Jordan account for almost half of the total population, but less than 18% of the total labor force. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that the gender gap in Jordan’s labour force participation resulted in a loss of US$8 billion in the value of Jordan’s GDP in 2018.Footnote 4 Women in Jordan are an underutilized economic resource with the potential to contribute critically to the country’s economic growth by enhancing business productivity and competitiveness.Footnote 5 Currently, only 14% of women in Jordan are actively engaged in the labour market, a level well below regional and world averages. Employment prospects for Jordanian youth and women are considerably worse than for the average population,Footnote 6 and Jordan ranks 139 out of 142 countries in women’s economic participation— one of the lowest rates in the world.Footnote 7

The most recent global economic crisis has slowed Jordan’s GDP growth, and the conflict in neighboring Syria has had a considerable impact on the socio-economic front. The COVID-19 pandemic has also negatively affected Jordan’s already challenged economy. In April, the World Bank forecasted the economy to shrink to negative 3.5% of GDP in 2020 due to reduced global and local demand.Footnote 8 Labor force participation is also expected to continue to decrease coinciding with a sharp rise in unemployment that reached 19% before the pandemic.Footnote 9

There is a lack of an enabling environment to support women’s participation in the labour market, such as availability of affordable childcare, safe transportation, and harassment-free workplace.Footnote 10Footnote 11 Unsafe, unreliable, unaffordable, inaccessible, or non-existent (especially in remote areas) transportation is a binding constraint to women’s labor force participation; safety is also a key concern. Lack of capacity-building opportunities, salaries below the minimum wage, and lack of control over income and autonomous decision making further discourages women from entering or remaining in the private sector.

Canada’s development investments in economic growth in Jordan focus on enhancing women’s economic empowerment through skills development and entrepreneurship, in order to support women to be competitive in the labour market and to establish and sustain businesses.Footnote 12


Below are summaries of both projects.

CBIE: Launching Economic Achievement Program (LEAP) for Women in Jordan

Date: February 2017 – January 2022

Budget: Can$4.91 million

Project description: This project aims to support women’s economic empowerment in Jordan through programming that seeks to address the high unemployment rates among Jordanian women and improvements to the enabling environment and culture regarding entrepreneurship and women in the workforce. The overall goal of the LEAP project is to increase women’s empowerment for sustainable economic growth. Project activities include: (1) establishment and operation of a business incubator focused on women-led teams that includes training, mentoring, advisory services and networking; (2) development, enrichment and delivery of gender-sensitive entrepreneurship curriculum and initiatives at Jordanian universities and schools; and (3) development and implementation of a stakeholder capacity-building campaign.

WUSC-CLIC: Women's Economic Linkages and Employment Development (WE-LEAD)

Date: March 2017 – March 2022

Budget: Can$6.6 million

Project description: This project aims to remove barriers to women’s access to the labour market in Salt, Irbid and East Amman. It seeks to provide skills-based development in the private health care sector, find solutions to child-care challenges and identify safe and affordable transportation to and from work. Project activities include: (1) developing and implementing new vocational training programs in the health care sector through the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC); (2) working to reduce key barriers to women’s employment related to childcare and transportation, and within the workplace; and (3) linking public and private sectors to promote on-the-job apprenticeships in health administration for female graduates of the vocational training programs.

Intervention logic

Table 1: LEAP logic model

Ultimate outcome (1000): Increased women’s empowerment for sustainable economic growth
Intermediate outcome (1100): Increased productivity and job opportunities generated by women entrepreneurs
Intermediate outcome (1200): Reduced gender-specific barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and to women entering into and remaining in the workforce
Immediate outcome (1110): Increased capacity of an incubator to provide targeted business support services and to accelerate growth of women-led start-up teams
Immediate outcome (1210): Increased ability of stakeholders to provide a supportive environment for female students in their pursuit of entrepreneurship as a career path
Immediate outcome (1210): Increased capacity of stakeholders to identify and address barriers related to women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship

Table 2: WE-LEAD logic model

Ultimate outcome (1000): Increased women’s empowerment for sustainable economic growth
Intermediate outcome (1100): Increased employment of women by businesses in the health and child care sectors in the targeted governorates
Intermediate outcome (1200): Reduced gender-specific barriers to women entering into and remaining in the workforce
Immediate outcome (1110): Increased capacity of targeted training providers to deliver market-driven and gender-sensitive skills training programs to unemployed women and female youth
Immediate outcome (1120): Improved collaboration between employers in child care and health sectors and targeted training providers to integrate women trainees into employment
Immediate outcome (1130): Increased access of unemployed women and female youth to market-driven and gender-sensitive training programs in health and child care sectors
Immediate outcome (1210): Improved access of women to more equitable, inclusive and safe working and training conditions in the health sector in targeted locations
Immediate outcome (1220): Increased awareness of women, their families and communities on women’s economic opportunities, gender-based violence, mediation and gender equality in the workplace


Table 3: Direct beneficiaries of the LEAP and WE-LEAD projects

Direct beneficiariesLEAPWELEAD

Women-led teams WLTs (including youth)




High school and post-secondary students


Instructors & trainers (at schools & universities)


Participants of the round-table discussions


Women enrolled in training & internship


Trained VTC instructors


Partners – employers



Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE)

Table 4 LEAP cooperation partners

INJAZEstablish and operate a women’s business incubator in Amman.
Ryerson UniversityLeverage its existing business incubator model, extensive network of Canadian business partners and past experience coaching counterpart incubators to deliver value added for the project.
Business and Professional Women – Amman (BPWA)Lead the project’s stakeholder capacity building campaign, including establishing an operational advisory committee, which will eventually be institutionalized within BPWA’s network.


World University Service of Canada (WUSC)

Canadian Leaders in International Consulting (CLIC)

Table 5 WE-LEAD cooperation partners

Vocational Training Corporation (VTC)VTC works with WE-LEAD to increase skills of women for employment.
Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD)JOHUD supports WE-LEAD to work with community’s local leaders and families in order to break down cultural barriers restricting women’s workforce participation.
National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA)NCFA works with the VTC to develop and launch an early childhood development (ECD) training program.

Evaluation approach and methodology

The methodology applied in this evaluation adheres to the principles of impartiality, independence, credibility and usefulness as well as the OECD-DAC criteria for evaluating development assistance.Footnote 13 The evaluation employed a participatory approach using mixed methods of qualitative and quantitative data collection tools to examine WE-LEAD and LEAP projects and appraise progress and achievement of results in the women’s economic empowerment (WEE) sector.

The evaluation was completed in 3 phases described below:

  1. In the Work Plan Phase, the main output was a work plan report that included an evaluation evidence matrix and data collection plan. The work plan constituted the guiding framework for the data collection, analysis and reporting phases.
  2. In the Data Collection Phase, the evaluation team implemented the data collection plan designed in the work plan. Data collection was closely coordinated with the Jordan-based primary implementers to introduce the evaluation team, organize meetings, arrange logistics and ensure timely resolution of any emergent data collection issues. The data collection phase was concluded with a debrief session to validate data.
  3. In the Analysis and Reporting Phase a systematic process of organization, comparison and synthesis of the collected data was undertaken. Data analysis was guided by the evaluation evidence matrix (EEM) triangulating in the process information generated through qualitative and quantitative methods. Data analysis comprised a systematic assessment of information and data as relevant to each of the main evaluation questions. Data analysis findings were clustered under the main evaluation criteria of effectiveness, impact, efficiency, sustainability and gender equality, which enabled the generation of conclusions and recommendations.

Data collection methods included a desk review, group or individual key informant interviews, and online or phone surveys of project beneficiaries.

Sample: Purposive sampling was deemed the most appropriate sampling approach to select and target stakeholders for data collection, to ensure representation of the various sub-sets based on a set of selection criteria projected to be relevant for the later data analysis. Criteria proposed for selecting specific population sub-sets varied depending on the specific beneficiary group but generally involved gender, age, regions, and type or extent of project involvement. After selecting the main population sub-sets, the evaluation team applied a random sampling approach to select and target beneficiary stakeholders within each specific population sub-set. The sample size of each surveyed group took into consideration the relative significance of each beneficiary group to the assessment of the 2 main drivers of the projects i.e. increasing women’s economic empowerment and gender equality.

Limitations: Whether for qualitative data or quantitative survey results, the evaluation’s main source of information was based on self-reported feedback by project stakeholders and beneficiaries. It is important to note that the evaluation was not designed to validate reported figures from project reports, especially the indicator numbers reported under each project’s immediate and intermediate outcomes. Hence, the reported statistical information should be considered potentially indicative rather than absolutely indicative of achievement of project outcomes.    

The main limitation of purposive sampling in the context of the evaluation of the WE-LEAD and LEAP projects is the risk for researcher bias. Researcher bias, also called experimenter bias, is intrinsic to the selection of the specific population groups to participate in the collection of evaluation data since it is based on the evaluators’ judgement of the relative importance of these groups to the research findings. Researcher bias is mitigated through triangulation of multiple data sources with the survey findings.

COVID-19 and the need for remote data collection imposed some restrictions on the initially planned data collection methods. Focus group discussions were changed to group interviews and/or key informant interviews to limit the number of beneficiaries/stakeholders present in close proximity. Site visits and observations were cancelled due to the travel restrictions imposed by the Government of Jordan, and all interviews were conducted online via media platforms. Nevertheless, the collection of evaluation data was possible for the different evaluation target groups, reaching the great majority of surveyed beneficiaries to identify and validate findings.

Despite repeated requests and reminders, the LEAP team was unable to secure the required permits from the Jordanian Ministry of Education to survey school students.

Key findings



Key conclusions*



Key recommendations*


Recommendation #1: Improve monitoring management and framework to include metrics that track the potential achievement of outcomes prior to project end line.  Targeted party: LEAP and GAC
Link to conclusions #2 and 3

Recommendation #2: To boost growth, sustainability and impact, build linkages with financial institutions and other entrepreneurship players in the sector that can extend further support to project graduates. Targeted party: LEAP
Link to conclusions #1 and 5

Recommendation #3: Focus stakeholder capacity building activities on tangible, well defined and measurable changes. Targeted party: LEAP and GAC
Link to conclusions #1 and 2

Recommendation #4: Strengthen horizontal linkages to increase efficiency and optimize impact. Targeted party: GAC
Link to conclusion #4

Recommendation #5: Introduce research and advocacy initiatives with government stakeholders to support changes in the legal, taxation and investment ecosystem to provide a supportive environment for entrepreneurs and start-ups. Targeted party: GAC
Link to conclusion: #5


Recommendation #1: The private sector is a key stakeholder for attaining and sustaining project outcomes. WE-LEAD (or future women’s economic empowerment programs) needs to introduce new strategies and project tactics to engage the private sector. Targeted party: WE-LEAD and GAC
Link to conclusions: #2, 5 and 6

Recommendation #2: Address identified weaknesses in awareness-raising activities through more targeted interventions to reach the specific interest groups with messaging focused on women’s economic empowerment. Targeted party: WE-LEAD and GAC
Link to conclusions: #2 and 5

Recommendation #3: Build the capacity of the VTC Employment Hub ensuring a new, committed advisory committee and strong VTC buy-in. Targeted party: WE-LEAD
Link to conclusions: #3 and 7

Recommendation #4: Apply the lessons learned from medical office assistant and health support worker skills training and private sector employment to build a stronger foundation for early child development training and employment. Targeted party: WE-LEAD and GAC
Link to conclusion: #4

Recommendation #5: Consider and, if feasible, pursue regulatory reforms to sustain demand for 2 vocations and raise standards in the health sector. Targeted party: WE-LEAD and GAC
Link to conclusion: #3

*The findings, conclusions, recommendations and lessons listed above are those of the consultant and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department or the Government of Canada. The Department does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided in this report.

Management responses

Department’s response: The Department took note of the consultant’s findings, conclusions and recommendations and has shared them with relevant stakeholders for consideration.

Cooperation Partner(s) response(s):

CBIE: The partner took note of the consultant’s findings, conclusions and recommendations and has shared them within the organization for consideration. The partner has committed to integrate specific actions into the remaining program delivery time frame that will address the accepted recommendations.

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