* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In many parts of the world, women lack access to financial capital and opportunities to gain skills that can help boost their qualifications for the job market. Vocational training, which involves development of technical capacity and entrepreneurship skills, can play a key role in helping girls and women secure employment. WFP, in collaboration with Jordanian NGO NAJMA as well as vocational training centres in different areas of northern Jordan (Ramtha, Mafraq and Irbid cities) supported a vocational training program that boosted the technical skills of hundreds of participants, many of whom were women.
WFP's cash-for-training initiative provided technical skills training for participants in their respective professional fields, and secured job placements for them in areas as varied as working with solar cooling systems, carpentry, mechanics, and baking of pastries and desserts.
For each day the trainees participated, WFP distributed cash to them. It continues to do so while they receive on-the-job training in different companies and organizations before they become full-time employees. Out of the 439 men and women who were initially enrolled in different areas across Jordan, 180 were women in Irbid and Mafraq. Of those, 116 women learnt how to cook and bake pastries so that they could become chefs.
Nadia, 41 years of age, is from Mafraq. She has ten kids, but struggled to find a job due to the economic situation in Jordan. She pursued WFP's vocational training program to become an assistant baker so that she could help her family. Nadia picked up the skills of the trade quickly, gathering 26 of her colleagues at the center to open their own business in Mafraq. They called it the "Sister's Gathering."
Nadia is becoming well-known in her field. She has received many requests for her date bars and desserts in preparation for the occasion of Eid al-Fitr which marks the feast of breaking the fast following the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The expansion of her business will help provide financial support for her young children and those of her colleagues.
"I received valuable training on the secret of baking good pastries and thought of creating a business with 26 of my training mates. We put to very good use the skills and information we got from the WFP- NAJMA vocational training program."