AZRAQ REFUGEE CAMP The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (UN Women) on Tuesday launched its first Oasis space for women and girls at Azraq refugee camp a resilence and empowerment centre aimed at providing secure livelihood opportunities, protection and civic engagement services to vulnerable Syrian refugee women.

Supported by the governments of Australia, Finland, France, Italy and Japan, the new UN Women Oasis will open 100 extra cash-for-work positions at the camp, in parallel to the establishment of a business incubator aimed at easing the transition from cash-for-work jobs to work permit opportunities, according to UN Womens representative to Jordan Ziad Sheikh.

In addition, the new centre will empower Syrian refugees through gender-based violence protection, prevention and awareness services, as well as remedial education, leadership and civic initiatives.

During the opening, Sheikh expressed his gratitude for the diversity of partnerships that have made this oasis possible, and the steadfast leadership of the Jordanian government in continuing to provide a safe space for all vulnerable Syrians fleeing the conflict, stressing that this would not have been possible without the international community and its long-term commitment to gender equality across the world.

Since 2012, UN Women has been able to open three oases at the Zaatari refugee camp, helping to reduce the cycle of isolation by providing women with work opportunities and access to an income and now, we are implementing this model in Azraq, the representative continued, noting that the initiative has reached approximately 4,000 beneficiaries and 16,000 indirect beneficiaries until now.

However, these results can only be ensured in the long term if we focus on women empowerment, Sheikh highlighted, explaining that at the core of our [UN Women?s] empowerment approach lies the commitment to address the persistent vulnerabilities and inequalities that affect the lives of both Syrian and Jordanian women.

Syrian Refugee Affairs Directorates Colonel Mohammad Al Sayaydeh was also present at the opening, where he thanked all partners and organisations who cooperated in such great effort, noting that the Azraq camp has been open since 2014 hosting over 34,000 Syrian refugees.

The launching ceremony was held in the presence of several members of the international community including Australian Ambassador Miles Armitage, Finnish Ambassador Matti Lassila, French Ambassador David Bertolotti, Italian Ambassador Giovanni Brauzzi and Japanese Ambassador Hidenao Yanagi, who inaugurated the different spaces, workshops and activity rooms comprising the Oasis.

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