Water sector in Jordan: more women being trained as skilled workers
Title: Technical and vocational education and training for Jordanian and Syrian refugees in the Jordanian water sector Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Country: Jordan Lead executing agency: Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MWI) Overall term: 2017 to 2020
Jordan is one of the world’s most arid countries. The demand for water is rising continuously as a result of the expansion of irrigation farming, increasing industrialisation and strong population growth. On top of this, the crisis in neighbouring Syria has seen more than 655,000 refugees register in Jordan. Estimates suggest that nearly the same number of unregistered refugees also live in the country. This is increasing the pressure on scarce water resources and bringing the already inadequate supply infrastructure to the limits of its capacity.
The inefficient management of Jordan’s scarce water resources is currently leading to enormous technical and administrative water losses. This is due to the population’s lack of awareness about the need to use water sparingly and to the poor quality of the water and sanitation infrastructure. Neglect also plays a role, especially when it comes to maintenance at the household level where water is lost due to inadequate servicing of sanitary installations. In Jordan’s conservative society, the plumbing trade is very male-dominated, making it difficult for women to enter the profession. A visit by a male plumber to the home usually requires the presence of a male family member, which means there is often a time delay before leaking taps and other defects are repaired – and so precious water is lost.
Large quantities of water are also wasted on the public supply network side as the Jordanian water authorities do not have enough sufficiently skilled workers to efficiently operate and service the pipeline systems and the technical infrastructure in the long term. The lack of qualified operating staff at the water supply companies and of sanitation experts, especially female experts, who offer water and sanitation installation and maintenance services at the household level prevent the effective use of water resources.
The capacities of sanitation experts and specialists from water supply companies in Jordan are improved.
The project supports the Jordanian Vocational Training Corporation in creating training courses for semi-skilled and qualified sanitation specialists. These are aimed at men and women from both Jordan and Syria in the governorates of Amman and Irbid. These sanitation system specialists also receive advice on how to improve their employment prospects and potential income. The trained workers ensure efficient maintenance and repair of sanitary installations in households, thereby reducing water losses.
The Jordanian water authorities are given advice on developing capacity for the roll-out of an extensive skills enhancement programme for technical operating staff. In this way, the project contributes to the reduction of water losses, including at the level of the supply networks, and to the sustainable safeguarding of investments in water infrastructure.
A consortium made up of the consultancy firms PEM Consult and WEE Pros is supporting the implementation of the project
More than 200 plumbers had already been trained by 2016 as part of the predecessor project, entitled Water Wise Plumbers, and given support in finding employment. In addition to an existing cooperative of female plumbers in the capital Amman, a second cooperative has been set up in Irbid. The current project will continue to support these female plumbers and cooperatives and advise them on how to improve their employment prospects and potential income. Their existing customers include (girls’) schools, universities and private households.