Empowering Rural Women in the Jordan Valley

©UNESCO/Valentina Gamba
Some members of the Ghor el Safi Women Association for Social Development

The 30-month project "Empowering Rural Women in the Jordan Valley" started in July 2013. Funded by Drosos Foundation, the project addresses a group of women living in the impoverished village of Ghor el Safi, in the south of Jordan. By supporting Ghor el Safi Women Association for Social Development to improve its production and promotion of handicrafts, the project will provide the women of Ghor el Safi with innovative income-generating opportunities and contribute to the sustainable development of the area.

Ghor el Safi is a rural village south of the Dead Sea, located at 350 m below sea level. The village is inhabited by about 40,000 people, the majority of whom rely on farming for their livelihoods. The village is located within one of the poorest areas in Jordan.

Since 1999, Ghor el Safi Women Association for Social Development has been producing original handmade crafts with the use of natural dyes. ‘Safi Crafts’ are unique and beautiful, and show daily life in Safi, with families, tomato farms and local heritage.

Within this project, UNESCO will support Ghor el Safi Women Association to improve the quality of ‘Safi Crafts’ , develop new designs and colours and teach the women involved to better promote and market these artistic treasures. As part of the project, UNESCO will support research on additional natural dye sources and pilot the cultivation of Indigofera tinctoria (indigo coloring) in Ghor el Safi to provide natural colours for the production of handicrafts.

Project activities include:

  • Study of the handicraft market in Jordan and development of a marketing strategy
  • Research on locally available natural dyes
  • Research and pilot cultivation of Indigofera tinctoria
  • Training on art, design, dyeing techniques, manufacturing and production 
  • Training on management and marketing
  • Promotion of ‘Safi Crafts’ products

In line with the 2005 UNESCO Convention, this project aims at intertwining history, culture and capacity development in order to improve the livelihoods of local communities.

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