Italy, UN Women partner to counter pandemic’s impact on women

Representatives from UN Women, the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, and the Italian Embassy in Amman meet on Sunday to sign a cooperation agreement to empower women. (Photo: Lina Allouzi/JNews)
AMMAN — The Italian government and UN Women on Sunday signed a 1-million-euro agreement, to be funded through the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), to support vulnerable women in Jordan as part of COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.اضافة اعلان

“Empowering women and gender equality are the top priorities of our strategic framework for development cooperation all over the world,” Italian Ambassador to Jordan Fabio Cassese told Jordan News in an interview. 

He also highlighted the importance of poverty reduction and environmental protection, key cross-cutting topics for the Italian government in all its programs and initiatives, according to Cassese. 

The agreement was signed by the ambassador, head of AICS Amman, Michele Morana, and the UN Women officer in charge, Aisha Mukhtar, at a ceremony on Sunday.

“The principle is to support Jordan in promoting gender equality and women empowerment,” Cassese said. “We know that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the social and economic life in Jordan, mainly on women because women lost many opportunities in the market.”   

The two-year grant aims to expand the “Oasis” model, which provides a comprehensive package of services, and “has already been proven to be successful in reaching out to the most vulnerable communities,” according to a joint statement from AICS and UN Women.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global health crisis, and women in Jordan have been disproportionately impacted by its implications,” Morana said. “We firmly believe that investing in women’s economic empowerment is essential to leading a fast recovery from the impact of COVID-19, and to promoting women and girls as key agents of development and change.”

“Together with the European Union, we have a common approach in line with the Jordanian authorities’ prescription, because we have many plans to strengthen the role of women in this society, so we work all together on the same side,” Cassese said.

The Ministry of Social Development currently manages 13 Oasis centers across the country, in collaboration with UN Women. UN Women also runs four Oasis centers in Jordan’s refugee camps. As a result of this strategic alliance, Oasis centers will be further able to provide access to sustainable livelihood opportunities, protection programs, distance learning, and social and political engagement to 40,000 disadvantaged women and girls, including those living in refugee camps. 

A 2020 study conducted by UN Women on women benefiting from Oasis centers found that the pandemic had a variety of overlapping effects on women. 

According to the study, women reported being at higher risk of gender-based violence, suffering from food insecurity, the loss of jobs, and an increase in negative coping mechanisms due to the pandemic. 

The study also found that women are much more likely to help their children with online learning than fathers, which imposes an additional burden on their time.

For her part, Mukhtar told Jordan News that “This agreement will provide multi-sectorial services not only for vulnerable Jordanian women but also refugee women and provide them with a comprehensive set of services.” 

Simultaneously, the program will invest “in building institutional capacities of the government departments that we work with. We see that this partnership is making a tremendous impact and it will go a long way in making a difference in the lives of women and girls everywhere,” Mukhtar added.

Cassese stated that the agreement is one of many “long-term solutions” to the impact of COVID-19 on vulnerable women with which they wish to contribute in the future. 

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