Jordan: Ferial Salem Al Jahran, plumber

Ferial Salem Al Jahran, a Jordanian plumber

Ferial Salem Al Jahran was one of the first women ever to qualify as a plumber in the Jordan Valley. Her services are in great demand in her local area because only female plumbers are able to work in another woman’s household without a male member of the family being present. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and in cooperation with JOHUD, GIZ has enabled more than 50 women in Jordan to train as plumbers under the Water Wise Women Initiative.

What has been the biggest change in your life to date?

The decision to work for myself. I now have a job of my own, a lot more self-confidence and I love to be on the go!

What’s it like being a female plumber in Jordan?

Let me give you an example: One of my first jobs was for a school, but I had the feeling the staff there were sceptical about me. They didn’t believe a woman could carry out repair and maintenance work on sanitary facilities. However, I proved them wrong and showed them I could do the job efficiently and professionally. Now they really trust me. I get so much enjoyment out of what I do now and I’m very enthusiastic about it. I’m also pleased that, through my work, I can help support my family financially.

How have the people in your environment reacted to your new line of work?

In our conservative society, women normally have to wait until their husband, brother or son comes home before any repair work can be done in the house. I grew up in this village, the people here know me well and because I’m a woman I have no problems accessing buildings. As part of its training courses, the Water Wise Women Initiative has also built up a strong network of women, which boosted confidence and opened doors for me. It was only really when I was starting out that I was sometimes criticised and told that plumbing is a man’s job and that I was just copying what my husband did.

How do you support others in your community?

Raising awareness is particularly important to me in my job. I always inform my customers about any damage and how they can avoid it in future. Once I’ve finished installing everything I usually come back regularly for maintenance purposes.

What would you do if you had enough money to be able to stop working?

I would invest the money in our household and in training. I’d also donate money to train and educate people about efficient water usage. And I’d distribute free water-savings products, too.

The heart of the Water Wise Women Initiative – JOHUD’s Capacity Development Centre in Kafrain.

The Water Wise Women advocate efficient use of water in the Jordan Valley.

Ferial Salem Al Jahran is now one of 38 women plumbers certified by the Jordan Vocational Training Corporation.

Ferial proudly displays a photo of the moment she was presented with her certificate – Princess Basma bint Talal of Jordan congratulated her in person on her achievement.

With the money she earns, Ferial can pay the electricity and water bills – and fund her son’s education.

Ferial lives with her family in the small town of Kafrain in the Jordan Valley.

A new job as a plumber – Ferial’s family is happy for her. Her husband is a plumber, too.

Ferial’s work is not limited to doing repairs in her own home herself – together with her husband she has already completed several assembly and installation jobs.

Ferial’s customers include schools, hospitals and women from local families.

As a woman, Ferial has no problem entering a house, even if there are only women at home.

Ferial enjoys her work so much she now wants to set up her own plumbing business, together with other women from the Water Wise Women Initiative.

Water shortages are among the greatest challenges in Jordan. It is therefore absolutely vital that people use this resource sparingly.