Jordan has 15 international, governmental and non-governmental organizations sponsoring around 14,000 income-generating projects for women, the disabled, the unemployed and underprivileged individuals, as well as for Palestinian refugees.
Prominent among these organizations is the Development and Generating Fund (DGF) which enables needy individuals and households to engage in work and production by extending soft loans of up to JD 10,000 (US$ 14,000) to help them set up small-scale projects that would contribute to further job opportunities and alleviate the severity of poverty. The DGF also gives loans indirectly through the Queen Alia Fund and the Agricultural Credit Corporation. The National Aid Fund has also financed over 6000 income-generating projects, the loans from which will be repaid over a period of ten years with no interest. The Noor al-Hussein Foundation also provides interest-free loans.
Projects by non-governmental charity and development organizations have also addressed the challenge of poverty in Jordan. A partial list of these organizations includes The Noor al-Hussein Foundation, The Zakat Fund, and The General Union of Voluntary Societies, which consists of more than 600 public service societies and charities, along with several foreign agencies. In addition, the Queen Alia Fund plays a leading role in promoting social and economic development in rural areas. Perhaps most effective of all, however, are the strong, tightly-knit family structures and tribal links which help ease the plight of the poor and protect them from becoming homeless.
Recognizing that reform and structural adjustment programs have succeeded in redressing the long-standing external and internal imbalances of the economy, and in order to enhance the productivity of all segments of society, the government, in collaboration with the private sector and NGOs, launched, early in 1997 a set of measures aimed at enhancing the productivity of the resource-challenged segments of society.
To complement the efforts of the Economic Restructuring Program, the government developed a comprehensive and integrated Social Productivity Package. This multi-track concerted strategy aims at alleviating poverty and unemployment through two concomitant tracks. The first, which was initiated in early 1998, aims at reducing poverty pockets and addressing the essential social needs in the short-term. The program involves:
The second track of the six-year strategy aims at increasing social productivity in the long run through eliminating the causes of poverty and unemployment by focusing on the education, health, information and technology sectors.
Funding has been sought and received for many of the components of the Social Productivity Package, and work is in progress to activate all the components. Several units have been established at the Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Social Development to coordinate the activities of the Social Package.