April 9th marked the launch of the EU-funded Rewell Society project for supporting civil society and women empowerment in the Jordan Valley. The inauguration was sponsored by Jordanian Member of Parliament Randa Al Sha’ar. The Parliamentarian delivered a speech about the essential roles women play in the development of the local economy of the Jordan Valley.
Earlier this year, Rewell Society, the charity backed by EastNets, was successfully named Lead Recipient of an EU grant focused on capacity building for civil organizations. The grant is part of a greater EU Fund managed by Jordan’s The National Centre for Human Rights.
The fund finances a series of expert-run workshops that train civil organizations in project generation and management. The training focuses on the organizational skills required to qualify for funding. This includes proposal and business plan development, selecting the right projects and managing sustainability.
Hazem Mulhim, Chairman of the Board at Rewell Society, couldn’t attend the inauguration but flew in his representative. “The project is yet another great opportunity to bring changes at a grassroots level in the poor areas of Jordan… it’s never easy changing a long-standing reality, but from our experience at Rewell Society, the best approach has always been to build capacity through skills that could generate sustainable income and produce new job opportunities for others. We believe success breeds success and hope infects with hope… it helps uproot collective negative sentiments. This EU project, as others before it, can do a lot of good in poor enclaves,” commented Mulhim in a telephone conversation.
The project’s 20-month span will see more support flowing toward civil organizations, many of which were founded and are run by women. According to Engineer Essam Atwan, Project Manager, the project’s objectives are three fold. “We hope to build effective capacity among civil organisations, preselected based on strict qualifiers; the second objective is to effectively do the same in programs focused on women empowerment; and last, we hope to produce leaders among women that possess the knowhow for training others in project planning and management,” Atwan said.
The Jordan Valley suffers from intense poverty as it lacks a diversified robust local economy. The region offers plenty of investable resources, but the bulk of the investment goes into the potash industry, corporate-controlled agriculture and 5-star hotels. The area is part of the Great African Rift Valley, and it has plenty of untapped tourism potential that would benefit the local population. It is rich in historic and archeological sites; has a unique geology that offers stunning scenery, and is a resting stop on the path of migrating birds.
In the final speech Professor and representative of civil organizations in the region, Dr. Khalaf Al Oshoush, reiterated at length the key role women played in the development of the Jordan Valley’s society and economy. “Discount the role of women and you discount the future,” he said.
Rewell Society was established in 1992 by the late Mohammed Ayyash Mulhim, activist and lawyer with operations across the Middle East. He chartered Rewell Society in Jordan with a clear focus on funding projects in education, training, civil society development and women empowerment.
Hazem Mulhim has continued his father’s charitable legacy; dedicating his time, as well as financial and professional resources from EastNets to the cause. The company, founded by Mulhim, develops compliance solutions for the global financial industry. “The commitment to continue my father’s charity efforts as part of EastNets social responsibility will continue uninterrupted, and the plan is to expand it and make it a sustainable program,” said Mulhim.