Queen Rania Attends the Launch of “Jordan Now”

December 12, 2010

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Amman) Under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, The Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC), in collaboration with the World Bank and the Jordan National Commission for Women launched the “Jordan NOW” program today.

Upon Her arrival, Her Majesty was received by Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, H.E. Dr. Jafaar Hassan and World Bank Country Director, Mr. Hedi Larbi.

In his remarks, H.E. Dr Jafaar Hassan thanked Her Majesty for Her Attendance and support for such an innovative initiative. The Minister stressed the importance of such programs in light of increasing unemployment, especially amongst females. H.E. Dr. Hassan also stressed that such programs are implemented in line with the government’s efforts to decrease unemployment rates amongst the youth of Jordan.

Mr. Hedi Larbi, World Bank Country Director, spoke about the importance of cooperation between the World Bank, MoPIC, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labor, as well as other local partners in insuring the success of such programs. Mr. Larbi also stressed the importance of social development and women’s participation in the economic development process.

Following the remarks, the audience listened to a description of the Jordan NOW pilot and progress to date by Ms. Tara Vishwanath, Task Team Leader and Lead Economist, MENA Region from the World Bank. Ms. Vishwanath presented the program and its attributes, as well as the benefits participants gain from it.

Three beneficiaries shared with Her Majesty their experiences with the program which provided them with work skills training as well as job vouchers at different private sector enterprises. The beneficiaries noted that the program has increased their self confidence and their chances in finding suitable working opportunities.

“Jordan NOW” is a pilot program that aims to increase female labor force participation amongst young graduates. Selected graduates will receive employability skills training to build professional skills which employers look for when hiring new graduates and job vouchers, which provide financial assistance to employers willing to hire these graduates.

The project comes as a response to a government request to the World Bank during discussions a couple of years ago which focused on the importance of designing gender-specific intervention programs that involve a robust evaluation framework to improve gender equality in the labor market.