- 10.9 million
- of the population receives some form of WFP assistance
- of the olive trees in Jordan were planted through WFP projects in partnership with the Government
Jordan is an upper middle-income country, with a population of 10.9 million, quite youthful with 74 percent below the age of 30. It is a resource-poor, food-deficit country with limited agricultural land, no oil resources and a scarce water supply. Jordan hosts the second highest share of refugees per capita in the world with over 750,000 refugees registered as of July 2021, mostly from Syria (89 percent). Around 83 percent of refugees live in cities while 17 percent live in Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps.
While Jordan is considered a food secure country with a score of 8.8 on the 2020 Global Hunger Index, 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. While Jordan’s National Aid Fund (NAF) has scaled-up its coverage of vulnerable Jordanians in response to COVID-19, social safety net coverage remains limited.
Food security has been a key concern for refugees in camps and communities, with their decreased income due to loss of informal labour opportunities and their weakened market access associated with lack of financial resources. The results of WFP’s June 2021 mobile vulnerability analysis and mapping (mVAM) showed 23.4 percent of refugees are food insecure, with an additional 60 percent vulnerable to food insecurity.
Female-headed households, small households, and households with disabilities have disproportionally poor food consumption. 93 percent of refugee households are below the refugee poverty line with 35 percent below the abject poverty line.
Jordan has suffered from the socio-economic impact of COVID-19. According to the World Bank, Jordan’s economic growth suffered significant loss in 2020 and 2021. Jordan’s unemployment rate reached 25 percent during the first quarter of 2021, youth unemployment rates reached an unprecedented 50 percent while income losses have escalated further. The pandemic has also been detrimental to the children’s emotional and physical health with rising levels of stressful home environments, unequal access to digital services, food insecurity and lack of education all exacerbating their vulnerabilities.
WFP has been a strategic and operational partner of the Government of Jordan since 1964 assisting vulnerable and food insecure Jordanians and, 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
WFP supports the Government’s response to the pandemic and provides food assistance to vulnerable communities, including refugees, while taking measures to contain the spread of the virus. WFP deployed mobile ATM to help people with disabilities or those who live in remote areas access assistance. WFP supports the National Aid Fund – Jordan’s largest social protection programme – with technical assistance and has provided 20,000 Jordanians with virtual financial literacy information sessions.to support the enrolment and remote opening of mobile wallets protection.
Food assistance to refugees
WFP meets the basic food requirements of nearly 500,000 refugees through cash assistance. This includes Syrians living in camps and the community, along with around 10,000 refugees from other countries like Iraq, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia. WFP uses innovative technologies like blockchain and iris scanners to give refugees living inside camps access to the assistance, while refugees living outside of camps use ATMs to withdraw cash or use e-cards at one of the 200 contracted shops across the country.
Emergency preparedness and response
WFP provides tools, systems and training to the Government to enhance its own emergency preparedness and response, leveraging WFP’s extensive experience and expertise in the planning and delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Strengthening social protection schemes
WFP works with the Government to strengthen the national social protection programme and provides technical and financial support, focusing on two key national schemes: the National Aid Fund and the National School Meals Programme (NSMP). WFP supports the implementation of the NSMP, continuing a partnership with the Ministry of Education that goes back to the mid-seventies, when a school feeding programme was first started.
WFP directly supports the Ministry of Education with the delivery of the National School Meals Programme, ensuring that more than 420,000 of the most vulnerable Jordanian and refugee children have access to nutritious snacks at school. The programme also provides jobs for around 700 workers who prepare the meals in 17 kitchens across the country. Women and people with disabilities are continuously encouraged to fill these roles.
Sustainable income-generating solutions
WFP provides income-generating and training opportunities to around 40,000 vulnerable people every year, with a focus on women, youth and people with disabilities. WFP helps address the social and economic barriers that hinder these groups’ participation in the workforce.