During the TFO Canada conducted Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) training under the Women in Trade for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth (WIT) project for beneficiary country Trade Support Institutions (TSIs) in March 2021. In Jordan, TFO Canada provided training on GESI for 13 staff members, including 11 women. TFO Canada was able to discuss the impacts of the training in further details with Halim Abu Rahmeh and Suzan Haddadein, CEO and Assistant General Manager for Business Development, respectively, of the Jordan Exporters Association (JEA).
Halim tells us that “Jordan Exporters Association is at the core of gender sensitivity. What we have offered in coordination with TFO Canada was something unique which participants, especially women, really appreciated and valued. After GESI training, approaching female management and female represented companies became a priority in our policies and activities. Our policies will be covering the priority given to the female-led organizations.”
“The impact will be directly related to those benefiting from our activities who were unable to find a source or a body that was able to extend to them the services that they were eager to know about. JEA, through the help of TFO Canada, was able to touch on a sector that was marginalized or fairly marginalized in the past and was able to extend to them the services that they were eager to learn from.”
As a result of the GESI training, JEA is in the process of updating and upgrading its gender policy. “We are very aware of the importance of being a gender-sensitive organization. Women constitute a major part of our economy; we need to extend assistance to them. Women need certain assistance to help them upgrade their operations. We are upgrading our policies to address all those challenges.”
GESI training has brought new impetus to JEA. For example, Nadia Shahin, General Manager of Kawar Group’s Shipping and Logistics Division, was recently elected as a JEA board member during the annual general assembly meeting. According to Halim, “having Nadia as a member of the JEA board, in addition to her high qualifications and experience, adds a dimension in recognizing gender equality. Her presence on the board set standards to other women to work to their potential to reach leading positions. Nadia’s presence on the JEA board consolidates the role of JEA in supporting women owned/managed enterprises throughout Jordan.”
The economy of Jordan has been affected by the pandemic. According to Halim, the pandemic has created challenges for companies but also opportunities for Jordan SMEs, including women-led SMEs. “We are always eager to address the challenges we are facing in assisting specifically the women-led organizations that want to penetrate new markets. We are always looking into opportunities to assist companies to find and penetrate new markets worldwide,” he notes.
Suzan says that “Since JEA was established, our major focus is to train companies and expand their presence in other markets. We provide the exporters practical training on how to study and penetrate other markets. We also coach companies, and we take them to exhibitions or trade missions. In the coming years, we will focus on training and export promotion.” JEA is planning to follow up with the women who participated in the training. “Especially the women who are not ready yet to start, to help them to bring funds from other donors to upgrade their capacity to export and to sell in the global market. We are planning to help them to increase their appearance online,” explains Suzan.
We would like to thank Halim Abu Rahmeh and Suzan Haddadein for sharing their experiences.