© WFP/Mohammad Batah
Jordan is an upper middle-income country, with a population of 10 million, of which 2.9 million are non-citizens, including refugees. It is a resource-poor, food-deficit country with limited agricultural land, no oil resources and a scarce water supply.
Jordan is considered a food secure country with a score of 11.2 on the 2018 Global Hunger Index, indicating that the level of hunger is moderate. However, food security is challenged by a multitude of structural and political factors, such as high poverty rates, unemployment, slow economic growth and increased cost of living, with marked disparities between regions and population groups. A small proportion of vulnerable Jordanians receive cash or food assistance from the National Aid Fund and local NGOs, but social safety net coverage remains limited.
Jordan’s economy has been growing steadily benefiting from a strategic location and a well-educated workforce. However, adverse regional developments, particularly the Syria and Iraq crises, caused this progress to slow, placing significant strains on the country’s socio-economic foundations and local resources.
Jordan’s exceptional solidarity with the 1.3 million Syrians it hosts, including 670,000 registered as refugees with UNHCR (79 percent living in host communities versus 21 percent in camps) has tested the country’s resilience over time. While humanitarian assistance is acting as a buffer, food security amongst Syrian refugees in Jordan remains precarious. According to the 2018 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis, less than one in four Syrian refugees (23 percent) are food secure, compared to 28 percent in 2016.
While Jordan ranks 139/144 in the 2018 Global Gender Gap, its Gender Inequality Index has been improving over the last years. The education system has virtually no gender gap in primary enrollment and women represent 52 percent of university students. Yet Jordan has one of the lowest rates of female workforce participation (below 14 percent versus 63.6 for men) pointing towards structural obstacles as well as cultural and societal pressures facing women.
WFP has been a strategic and operational partner of the Government of Jordan since 1964 assisting vulnerable and food insecure Jordanians and, most recently, supporting the national management of the refugee crisis and its consequences.
WFP’s operations are innovative, rely on new technologies and contribute to the national economy. Jordan was the first country in the world where WFP used the innovative Blockchain technology to support its cash transfers to Syrian refugees.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Jordan
Humanitarian supportWFP responds to the basic food requirements of the 500,000 most food insecure Syrian refugees by providing them with cash and food-restricted vouchers. WFP also supports the school attendance of 30,000 refugee children in camps through the provision of school snacks while creating economic opportunities for Syrian women and men living in camps through engagement in the preparation, packaging, delivery and distribution of snacks.
Support to social protection programmesWFP provides financial and technical support to the Government of Jordan with a focus on social protection schemes to enhance the design and implementation of effective and efficient programmes in support of vulnerable Jordanians. WFP works closely with the National Aid Fund in designing and piloting cash programmes and supports the Ministry of Education in implementing and augmenting the role of the National School Feeding Programme which targets 388,000 school children in poverty pockets.
Livelihood supportIn collaboration with ministries and national actors, WFP works on strengthening the self-reliance of refugees and vulnerable Jordanians by investing in their skills, capacities and public asset base. WFP provides conditional food assistance for livelihood support offering access to income-generating opportunities to improve food security, strengthen community cohesion and stimulate economic opportunities at the local level ensuring higher participation of women.