When Aisha’s husband retired from the military, the responsibility of providing for their family of 14 fell on her shoulders. Her sons were starting university, and this would mean extra expenses to pay for their fees.
“I want to guarantee a decent life for my children” she explained, echoing the universal desire of parents everywhere.
But finding a job was not as easy as Aisha and her husband had anticipated, “especially because of the Syria situation” she said. The crisis has exacerbated structural challenges in livelihoods and food security in Jordan, including persistent high unemployment and deficiencies related to private sector growth.
Ever since she was a little girl, Aisha has loved to make things grow. She used to plant Okra and Molokhia in her garden, and even had a brief stint breeding sheep, but a difficult financial period forced the family to sell the herd soon after they had acquired them.
An important dimension of the poverty profile in Jordan is that the majority of poor are clustered just above and below the national poverty line, with only a small proportion of the poor significantly and chronically below it. In this majority cluster many could be ‘transitorily poor’ or ‘transitorily vulnerable’ and may be sensitive to fluctuating economic conditions. So while 14 per cent of Jordan’s population is considered poor, 19 per cent of the population, classified as non-poor, experience transient poverty, including some lower-middle and middle-income households – households like Aisha’s.
Still motivated by her childhood desire to become a farmer, and driven by her ambition to provide for her family, Aisha set out to start her own agricultural business. She started out by contacting charities that provide financial support, and learned from one of her friends about the affordable loans being provided to local communities by the Al Rahma Charitable Association and the Jordan River Foundation.
She rushed to apply and was approved. She was thrilled!
“Planting started in the beginning of April. I planted pumpkin, okra, molokhia, tomato, parsley and cucumbers to feed my family. To sell in the market, I planted thyme & sage because they use less water” she explained while giving a tour of her garden.
Aisha farms the land adjacent to her house. The loan she received has enabled her to invest in appropriate tools and technology to increase her production; she uses a combination of drip irrigation and mulch for soil moisture conservation in order to rationalize water consumption and reduce her costs.
“Now I am able to pay my sons’ university fees” she proudly exclaimed.
But ever the entrepreneurial business woman, she already has plans for expansion: “My ambition is to grow my business and establish many, many more.”
JORISS ID: 331
Sector: Livelihoods and Food Security
Project name: Enhancing food security in Mafraq
JRP Specific Objective: RES 2: The local economies of the most-affected areas revived for sustainable employment and income generation
JRP Project Title: RES 2.1 Support establishment and growth of sustainable micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) targeting vulnerable Jordanian households
Total Financing: USD 500,000
Financing Agency: International Fund for Agriculture and Development
Implementing Partner: Jordan River Foundation