Joint Economic and Social Support (JESS)
Donor: The Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands
Location: Basateen, Aden Governorate
Project Duration: November 1, 2010 – October 31, 2011
Target beneficiaries: Refugees and vulnerable Yemenis living in Basateen
The main goals and objectives of the Joint Economic and Social Support (JESS) project are to provide a long-term solution for refugees and vulnerable Yemenis living in the Basateen area of Aden. The JESS project addresses its goal through activities in four areas:
Awareness raising and advocacy to pave the way for an enabling environment, and fostering a receptive attitude within the host community through community mobilization including cultural and sporting events.
Education and Vocational Training by facilitating and supporting access to primary education, additional ‘catch up’ classes and summer school, vocational training, and language courses, with a focus on utilizing skills learned for income-generation.
Economic self-reliance through income-generating activities in new industries, micro-credit loans for small enterprises, job-oriented skills development, and employment matching.
Community development and Capacity Building that will build the capacity of both refugees and the local population in organizing themselves and representing various community groups as well as foster a mentality of community service and benefitting their local societies.
Advocacy & Awareness
August is the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast during daylight hours. The JESS project is holding several activities throughout the month during the evening hours after the breaking of the fast. Planned events include sports activities such as volleyball and table tennis tournaments and competitions in trivia and knowledge of English.
While students are on summer holidays from school, the JESS project hosted a week-long summer camp activity in July 2011, specially intended for the youth of Basateen. Over 120 youth attended the camp and participated in activities combining games with class topics (computers, English, Arabic, art, mathematics and music and dance). Camp activities also included sports and games such as football, volleyball, tug-o-war, and an exhibition of crafts and baked goods. The ADRA Social Coexistence Team, a group of youth dedicated to creating awareness in the community, were instrumental in implementing events. The week ended with a ceremony during which students performed music and dance pieces. Certificates and small gifts were also given to the participants and volunteers.
Vocational training classes are on-going with 22 students learning how to cook desserts and 16 studying computer maintenance. The dessert-making class does in-class lessons on food safety and then spends time in the kitchen learning to make sweets such as donuts, pastries, cakes and candies. The students in computer maintenance class are learning hands-on by first learning the ins-and-outs of Windows and then learning about hardware by practicing taking apart and putting back together the elements of the computer.
The Employment Center is up and running at the Basateen Community Center and now serves as a place for residents to gain access to employment opportunities in and around Aden. Already over 60 people have been registered in a CV database. Simultaneously, staff members are visiting local businesses and institutions to seek potential employment vacancies. The Employment Center also intends to conduct seminars on how to write winning CVs and how to perform well in job interviews.
The JESS staff recently provided 10 microfinance loans to small business owners in Basateen. The loan clients have small projects ranging from sewing clothes, to grocery shops to selling perfumes door-to-door. Also, the JESS project is working with 10 Basateen residents to provide small, weekly loans that allow the clients to purchase goods to increase their sales opportunities. Examples include buying vegetables for sales in the market and cloth for sewing dresses.