Queen attends Citigroup Global Micro-entrepreneurship Awards

December 11, 2007

(Jordan Times - Amman) Two years ago, Nawal Balawneh started a home-based project with only JD750 in capital. Now she owns a greenhouse which exports saplings to the Gulf countries generating JD2,000 a month.
Balawneh was one of 26 small business pioneers honoured at the third annual Citigroup Global Microentrepreneurship Awards for their contributions to the country’s socio-economic progress.  
Her Majesty Queen Rania yesterday toured an exhibition on the sidelines of the award ceremony, displaying the winners’ products.
The award recipients shared with her their success stories and the hardships they faced.
Queen Rania, a supporter of microfinance, said that in light of the challenges facing the Kingdom and its efforts to improve living standards despite limited natural resources, microcredit is an efficient tool in combating poverty.
Balawneh, a winner in the poverty pocket category, said her project started as a small greenhouse in Deir Alla cultivating domestic plants, but has now grown to include rare plants and fruit trees.  
“I took a loan to expand the greenhouse; now it provides jobs for five workers and helps secure a safe future for me and my family,” Balawneh told The Jordan Times yesterday.
“I believe in my ability to progress, and will not stop at this point. Receiving this award has motivated me to do more. I now plan to expand my business next year by turning it into an integrated project including cattle- rearing and bee-keeping,” she added.
For the third consecutive year, Citigroup sponsored the awards, which, in partnership with the Jordan River Foundation (JRF), seek to illustrate the effective role microfinance plays in poverty alleviation around the world.  
JRF received 223 applications from 11 microcredit corporations across the country for the various award categories: Industry, artefacts, production projects, services, trade, agriculture, tourism, poverty pocket projects, projects managed by civil society institutions and recently established projects.
The winners comprise 15 women and 11 men and their 26 projects, worth JD600,000, created 128 job opportunities and generated an annual income of JD158,000.
Citigroup General Manager Ziad Akrouk said the award seeks to acknowledge the role small business owners play in reinforcing the national economy, and highlight the best income-generating projects and practices.
“The award is very important in developing the next generation of the microfinance network and building comprehensive financial sectors,” Akrouk said yesterday in his opening address at the award ceremony.
Khuloud Abu Daker, the sole winner in the tourism category, said what really brought her happiness was the fact that her three children were present when she received the award.
“I am happy to set a model of success and persistence for my children. I want them to be successful in the future,” Abu Daker told The Jordan Times yesterday.  
Abu Daker, who makes framed mosaic paintings, artefacts and medals, replicates well-known mosaic maps and paintings and sells them to tourists from her Madaba-based shop.
“I started my project two years ago after taking a course in mosaics. I started at home and developed from there. After taking a JD4,000 loan, I now own a shop where I employ a woman, while four others work from home, manufacturing mosaics,” she said.
“The project not only improved my family’s financial conditions, but it also helped women whose husbands are against them going out to work,” Abu Daker said.
Microentrepreneurship Award winners  
Industry, artefacts and production projects:
Abdullah Ayash
Husni Qudah
Walid Malek
Salma Kelani
Rana Saadedin
Amer Obeid
Iyad Belbeisi
Mahmoud Abul Huda
Fadwa Musa
Ahmad Hassan
Hasnah Muqbel
Dunia Shelbayah
Tamam Abu Lubbad
Jawaher Asaad
Feryal Droua
Wafa Abu Nassar
Mazouzah Muheisen
Najat Khatib
Anwar Ajouri
Poverty Pockets:
Salim Salim
Nawal Balawneh
Khuloud Abu Daker
Projects managed by civil society institutions:
Rural women’s cooperative society
Recently-established projects:
Arij Jaber
Fatmeh Bermawi