The Danish-Arab Partnership Programme (DAPP) has supported women's rights, access to the labour market and the political and democratic participation of young people in Jordan through entrepreneurship since 2005

Via DAPP, Denmark supports the reform and democratisation process to promote long-term stability and growth in Jordan. Since 2005 DAPP has worked in partnership with public authorities, civil society and industry in Jordan, including by supporting the development of fair legal systems, the participation of young people in political and the economic affairs, promotion of women’s rights and access to the labour market as well as supporting independent, in-depth journalism.

Jordan faces challenges due to its geopolitical position and the conflicts raging in the region, especially in Syria, but the country remains relatively stable in political and security terms. Globally, Jordan is among the countries hosting the highest number of refugees, with refugees comprising 20% of the country’s population. The national political debate is significantly coloured by the crisis in Syria and its consequences for Jordan as regards national security and the national economy. In this context a programme such as DAPP, which maintains constant focus on long-term stability and reforms, is extremely important and relevant.

Current projects

In common with the wider region, Jordan has a problem with unemployment, in particular youth unemployment. Almost 70% of the population is under the age of 29. In 2016, the unemployment rate was officially 15.8%, but double that figure for young people. DAPP focuses on helping young people to engage with the labour market by supporting job creation and entrepreneurship. DAPP also supports labour-market reforms and social dialogue between businesses and their employees to promote a more stable labour market.

DAPP furthermore seeks to encourage the participation of young people in civil society and political processes. This is achieved by giving them the means and opportunity to engage in social development in Jordan by supporting youth centres and councils, and providing young people with dedicated capacity development. ActionAid Denmark and its partners have supported young Jordanians and Syrians in actively participating in social development, and have supported young people’s resistance to extremism.

Greater focus on security in the region, including on combating terror, has had a negative impact on human rights in the region generally, including in Jordan. DAPP promotes observance of human rights, and has made a particular effort in Jordan to promote a fair legal system, for instance by combating torture.

Access to information and freedom of speech is promoted by DAPP through support of critical journalism and media coverage, e.g. in local areas in southern Jordan. The participation of women in journalism is also a special focus area for DAPP in Jordan. 

In common with the rest of the region, Jordan lags behind when it comes to equality. Gender discrimination in the legal and economic spheres hinders democratic and economic development in the country. Just 14% of Jordanian women are officially active on the labour market. DAPP promotes equality initiatives and encourages the participation of women in political and the economic affairs by supporting Jordanian women’s rights organisations and initiatives.

Since 2003 DAPP has supported working partnerships between Danish and Jordanian organisations, including through the following initiatives:

  • The Confederation of Danish Industry and the Jordan Chamber of Industry have together promoted private industry and set up a network for female business owners.
  • The Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY),  together with Jordanian NGOs, the Jordanian National Centre for Human Rights and the Jordanian Ministry of Justice and Freedoms have implemented a successful campaign to combat torture.
  • Together with its Jordanian partners the Danish Center for Research on Women and Gender (KVINFO) has promoted women’s rights and gender-specific statistics and encouraged businesses to employ, retain and promote women.
  • The Danish International Media Support has supported in-depth and critical journalism, and joined forces with private Jordanian radio and TV stations to promote news reporting from the country’s rural areas.
  • Together with its partners the Danish organisation Danmission has promoted the use of interreligious and intercultural dialogue among young people and religious leaders to strengthen coexistence and diversity and to prevent extremism.
  • Red Cross Youth has teamed up with the Jordan National Red Crescent Society to promote the influence of young people within its organisation, expand the capacity of local branches and help vulnerable young people.
  • The Danish Youth Council has trained Jordanian “dialogue ambassadors” to work with Jordanian and Danish youths to spread awareness of dialogue.
  • Local Government Denmark (KL), Viborg Municipality and Høje Tåstrup Municipality have collaborated with local authorities in Jordan to promote decentralisation, public services and public engagement.