JRF, Bank al Etihad Agreement Supports Women Employment Under JRF/IKEA Handicrafts Project
AMMAN – The Jordan River Foundation (JRF) and Bank al Etihad signed a partnership agreement this week supporting women artisans employed by the Foundation’s Jordan River Designs Program.
Under the agreement, which coincides with this year’s International Women’s Day, Bank al Etihad will sponsor three community women to join the JRF/IKEA Handicrafts Project. Launched in 2017, the project aims to economically and socially empower women through the design and production of various handicraft collections, capturing Jordan’s artistic tradition and heritage. The business initiative between JRF and IKEA will offer jobs to 400 women artisans working under the Bani Hamida Weaving Project for the coming three years. The product line includes handmade carpets and embroidery items, sold exclusively by IKEA, locally, regionally and globally.
Bank al Etihad will sponsor the training and employment of the three women, including their enrollment in a 30-day workforce readiness and vocational skills program offered by JRF, after which these women will become full time JRF employees. Bank al Etihad will cover their salaries, in addition to their employment benefits for one full year.
The agreement was signed by Mrs. Nadia Al Saeed, CEO of Bank al Etihad, and Mrs. Enaam Barrishi, Director General of JRF.
“JRF has always been a catalyst for women empowerment ever since its establishment 23 years ago. We are excited to work with Bank al Etihad in enabling community women, especially across Jordan’s poverty pockets,” says Barrishi.
“Women empowerment is really about women’s rights to a better future, it’s about helping them rise above themselves, and unleash their entrepreneurial potential through the business of handicrafts; a business that is able to save entire communities, who, otherwise, could end up smeared by social and economic disintegration, abused children, troubled youth, broken families, increasing violence and crime, child marriages, sexual exploitation, and human trafficking, to name a few,” states Barrishi.
In turn, Al Saeed said, "Alongside the ongoing discussions about the obstacles that discourage women from participating in the labor market, Bank al Etihad continues to be part of the solution, by taking practical steps and implementing practices that contribute to activating women’s roles and supporting their economic participation. We have made big steps towards this goal by launching the Shorouq program in 2014, which is considered the first financial and non-financial services program specifically designed for women in Jordan, establishing the children's nursery, and launching the Shorouq Comeback Program.”
“Today, we are delighted to be able to encourage and motivate women in the local community, helping them to improve their skills and talents, in order to enable them to work according to global specifications and standards, through our support of JRF, which works to empower local women and improve their lives and those of their families.”
Under the JRF/IKEA business agreement, the first limited collection of handcrafted textiles, titled TILLTALANDE, has been produced by over 110 women artisans, a number that will double this year; reaching 400 by the end of 2020. IKEA Jordan was the first store to launch the collection, to be followed later by several GCC countries and stores in North Africa, the US and Europe.