Over the years, NHF has pioneered numerous initiatives that have created jobs, increased incomes and helped to improve the lives of thousands of women and their families.
Jordan Design and Trade Center
The Jordan Design and Trade Center (JDTC) was founded in 1990 with support from USAID to advance the goals of the National Handicraft Development Program. It soon established itself as a model for other local NGOs. JDTC has been instrumental in reviving the handicraft industry by promoting women’s production of hand-made items. JDTC operated retail outlets in major tourist sites in Amman, Petra, Aqaba, Jerash, and Madaba, and supported production ventures initiated by NHF, as well as and other handicraft workshops in Jordan and the region. JDTC also provided technical assistance to improve quality and management skills. As a vital link between Jordan’s local handicraft industry and world markets, JDTC provided marketing support and product development and introduced internationally acclaimed contemporary designs.
In 2004, JDTC’s showroom and its initiated handicraft projects were turned over to women-led cooperatives, which NHF’s Cooperatives Unit continues to support indirectly.
National Handicraft Development Program
Established in 1985 to preserve traditional handicrafts unique to Jordan’s heritage, the National Handicraft Development Program has been one of NHF's most prominent income generation initiatives for empowering women, financially, socially and personally. Through the Jordan Design and Trade Center, the program has established several income-generating handicraft centers around Jordan, providing product development, technical expertise, and links to local and international markets. The National Handicraft Development program has created over 2,000 job opportunities for women.
Mukheibeh Basketry Weaving Project
The Mukheibeh Project is a community-managed business that produced traditional basketry and handicrafts from locally harvested materials. Initiated in 1995 with support from Asamblea de Cooperacion por La Paz, the project has trained approximately 200 women, creating job opportunities and income for their families. The Mukheibeh Project - located in the small rural village of Mukheibeh at the base of the Golan Heights in the northern Jordan Valley - created contemporary wheat baskets and contemporary furniture using hand-spun banana and palm leaves. In 2001, the women involved in the Mukheibeh Project opted to become self-employed and produce products out of their homes.
Wadi Mousa Silver Production Center
Established in 1996, the Wadi Mousa Silver Production Center is an income-generating project for Bedouin women in Wadi Mousa at the entrance of the ancient Nabatean city of Petra. With support from Fundación Codespa, the Joukowsky Family Foundation and AIDOS, the project was established to create employment opportunities for the Wadi Mousa community and to involve them, especially women, in tourism development in the region. The Wadi Mousa Center has trained over 60 Bedouin women to produce intricate silver jewelry reflecting the city’s rich history and art.
In November 1999, NHF facilitated the turn-over of the project to the Association of the Nabatean Women Cooperative, ensuring full ownership for the project’s participants. A new sales outlet, where tourists can visit the production site and the shop, was renovated in May 2000.
Nuzha Embroidery Center
NHF has played an active and catalytic role in the revival and preservation of traditional needlework in Jordan. In 1991, it established the Nuzha Embroidery Center and provided training and equipment for the Nuzha women to produce high quality embroidery.
The Center has helped revive the Tahreeri, Resheq and the Palestinian stitches and has preserved the Jordanian Ma’ani stitch. Cushions, clothing and other embroidered items blend traditional motifs with contemporary designs and are sought out by both local and tourist clienteles. The Nuzha Embroidery Project provides 600 families with supplementary income. The Center was successfully turned into a self-sustaining and self-managed cooperative in 1999. Since 2006, it has been exclusively producing handmade shawls for Dutch company, Cosmo Queen, which distributes them in Europe.
Hweitat Weavers Project
NHF established the Hweitat Weavers Project in 1990 to respond to the social, educational and economic needs of the local community in the village of Al- Husseiniyyeh. Located in southern Jordan with a population of 5,000, the community is descended from the Al-Hweitat Bedouin tribe, renowned for beautiful hand-woven rugs. The project provided work for more than 600 people. Nearly 90% of the income was allocated to basic family needs (food, clothing and medicine), while 10% supported children’s higher education. The traditionally designed and woven rugs enjoyed wide appeal and appreciation worldwide. In 1994, Fada Mijwel, a weaver at the project, won the “Magnificent Carpet Award” at the Atlanta International and Rug Market in the United States, achieving international acclaim for both herself and the project.
Rimoun Weaving Project
In 1992, NHF partnered with the Rimoun Charity Society in the village of Rimoun, north of the archaeological city of Jerash. NHF trained 30 women in the hand-weaving of traditional rugs and provided the Society with looms. The weavers produce rugs in varying sizes and in a multitude of contemporary patterns, but they are especially renowned for their intricate mosaic-like designs. With the skills acquired from the project, some women chose to become self-employed, producing from their homes, while others went on to take employment in several factories in Irbid.
Iraq Al Amir Handicrafts Village
This project was launched in 1994 through the Jordanian-Swiss Counterpart Fund to accelerate comprehensive socio-economic development in five villages in the Wadi Seer area. This initiative continues to create employment and increase income for the community, particularly for women.
Ten historic farmhouses were renovated in the scenic archaeological valley of Iraq Al Amir, and were transformed into a Handicraft Village that hosts several handcraft workshops. Forty-one women produce handmade fabric, handmade paper from indigenous leaves and stems, natural olive oil soap and clay artifacts representing the area’s history and geography.
In 2001, the Iraq Al Amir Handicrafts Village was turned over to a woman’s cooperative. A showroom was opened in 2003, in addition to an IT center to provide training for the benefit of the local community. Currently, a coffee shop is being built at the site with funding from Qudorat.
Salt Handicrafts Training Center
Established in 1987 in cooperation with the Salt Development Cooperation and the Italian government, the Salt Handicrafts Training Center (SHTC) is developing a new generation of skilled Jordanian craftspeople and trainers. In July 2003, the SHTC was turned over to the National Vocational Corporation in line with government initiatives to enhance vocational training in Jordan.
Jerash Women’s Association
The Jerash Women’s Association produces embroidered items. NHF provided technical training, product development and marketing links to the beneficiaries. The Association has been fully self-reliant since 2002.
The Kenza Workshop was established in 1994 and began operating independently in 1998. Employing 22 women, the Kenza Workshop produces industrial uniforms for public and private institutions. It has been highly successful in acquiring tenders for and purchase orders from the private sector.
Al Raya is a semi-automated workshop producing industrial uniforms in Mafrak. In 2001 the cooperative members agreed to dissolve the center, and over 22 women took ownership of the sewing machines to start their own home business