Supporting COVID-19 economic recovery efforts: Promoting economic empowerment and resilience among refugee populations in Jordan


Bara’ah, a 34-year-old mother of three, reflects on her experience participating in the mentorship and training activities of the economic empowerment and resilience project funded by the Government of Kuwait and delivered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM): “I feel empowered more than ever. This training and the mentorship programme have taught me the skills that I need to manage my small business effectively explained Bara’ah, a Syrian refugee from Homs. Before Syria’s crisis began, Baraah’s husband used to work in the photography industry since 2005, and Bara’ah was able to develop her photography skills as a hobby with his support.

Economic empowerment and resilience among refugee populations in Jordan

As a result of the Syrian crisis, Bara’ah and her family had to move to Jordan in 2012 and tried to reopen their business but it was very hard as they could barely maintain their household basic needs. ‘’It was very limited and small due to the lack of money, so my husband managed to work in a studio in order to cover the household needs’’ she explained.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have faced many circumstances” explained Bara’ah. Unable to cover household needs, and house rentals, the financial situation got worse when the photography industry completely shut down due to the lockdowns. We had used all our savings to cover our households’ expenses’’ Bara’ah explained, ‘’during the pandemic, wedding parties were very limited, so I used only to take a few photography orders in beauty salons for brides’’ she added.

Bara’ah is one of the 32 beneficiaries of the economic empowerment and resilience project, who benefited from business development assistance as well as tailored skills building. All project beneficiaries benefited equally from the business development skills training and other vocational training. Bara’ah believes she has learned important skills about business management that will serve her well. These skills include how to calculate profits, pricing of goods and services, and business marketing.

Bara'ah taking a photo in her studio

"The grant that I received from IOM was used to buy a camera and other tools to re-open my business. I am now fully capable of running the business, thanks to all the useful information and follow-ups that we learned during this mentorship programme and training".

IOM provided cash grants to 32 Syrian beneficiaries, a grant worth USD 2,000 to grow their business, in addition to the consumption support monthly cash assistance to cover their basic needs, based on the viability of their business plan, and their capacity to implement it.

“I believe that this comprehensive program, through the training and the grant is just what we need as refugees in Jordan. Businesses need to learn how to be managed, especially during this severe economic crisis” she said.

Jordan and the region have been facing an unprecedented economic crisis after the COVID-19 pandemic. IOM Jordan has implemented a pilot economic empowerment and resilience project funded by the Government of Kuwait in order to address the economic hardships faced by Syrian refugees. 

The project supported Syrian refugee households in the North of Jordan and East Amman, targeting refugees who lost their income due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 crisis, to regain employment or restart and strengthen the competitiveness and adaptability of their micro and home-based businesses. Interventions aimed to strengthen the income-generating capacity of targeted refugees and their economic resilience to future shocks and market disruptions, through vocational training and grants for startups and small businesses.

SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities