UN Women inaugurates it's first 'Oasis for Women and Girls' in the Azraq Refugee Camp
Date: Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Mr. Ziad Sheikh, UN Women Jordan Country Representative, HE Mr. Matti Lassila, Ambassador of Finland to Lebanon and Jordan; Colonel Mohammad Sayaideh, Azraq Camp Manager, HE Mr. Giovanni Brauzzi, Ambassador of Italy to Jordan; HE Mr. David Bertolotti, Ambassador of France to Jordan; and HE Mr. Hidenao Yanagi, Ambassador of Japan to Jordan inaugurated the launch its first ‘Oasis for Women and Girls’ in the Azraq refugee camp opening. Photo Credits: Chris Herwig
Azraq Camp, Jordan. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (UN Women) launched its first ‘Oasis for Women and Girls’ in the Azraq refugee camp - a resilience and empowerment center designed to provide secure livelihoods opportunities, protection and civic engagement services to vulnerable Syrian refugee women. Opened in 2014, the camp hosts nearly 34,463 Syrians who have escaped the conflict in Syria. According to UNHCR’s data, 30% of households residing in the Azraq refugee camp are headed by women.
The launching ceremony was held in the presence of Colonel Mohammad Sayaideh on behalf of the Syrian Refugee Affairs Directorate (SRAD) as well as members of the international community which have extended their generous support to the work of UN Women in both refugee camp settings and Jordanian host communities. Their Excellencies Mr. Miles Armitage, Ambassador of Australia to Jordan; Mr. Matti Lassila, Ambassador of Finland to Lebanon and Jordan; Mr. David Bertolotti, Ambassador of France to Jordan; Mr. Giovanni Brauzzi, Ambassador of Italy to Jordan; and Mr. Hidenao Yanagi, Ambassador of Japan to Jordan inaugurated the various spaces, workshops and activity rooms comprising the ‘Oasis’.
In addition to providing 110 daily cash for work opportunities for Syrian refugees, UN Women empowers women through gender-based violence prevention, protection and awareness raising services, remedial education, leadership and civic engagement initiatives. The center also involves men and boys from the community on issues related to women’s empowerment. To maximize the impact of its interventions, UN Women is working in close collaboration with camp-authorities and other humanitarian actors. For instance, through the partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP), UN Women provides child-care services for Syrian refugee women employed in WFP’s nearby “Healthy Kitchen” which produces nutritious school meals for students in Azraq camp schools.
“At the core of our empowerment approach lies the commitment to address persistent vulnerabilities and inequalities that disproportionately affect the lives of Syrian and Jordanian women. It is critical that the key role of women in building resilience is recognized and that they are provided with the needed skills and opportunities to fulfill their aspirations.” affirmed Mr. Ziad Sheikh, UN Women Jordan Country Representative.
Since 2012, UN Women has progressively opened and operated three ‘Oases for Women and Girls’ in the Za’atari refugee camp, reaching approximately 4000 direct beneficiaries and 16,000 indirect beneficiaries on an annual basis. With this new capacity in Azraq Camp UN Women will provide an additional 110 cash for work positions to women as well as other direct services that support resilience and empowerment. A dedicated business incubator has been also established to support the transition from cash for work into work permit employment opportunities or microbusinesses in camp settings.
UN Women’s monitoring has found that the Oasis model delivers proven results and impact for women in generating income and increasing their household decision making and engagement in the camp community and creating an enabling environment for their own empowerment. As such, UN Women is committed to take the resilience and empowerment-based Oasis model to the Jordanian host communities, continuing its support to Syrian refugee and vulnerable Jordanian women with livelihood services that are designed to translate into business development and job placements.