By Laila Azzeh

AMMAN –– Reducing water loss is daunting in terms of money and resources, but not for women trained under the Water Wise Women’s Initiative (WWWI).

In just a few weeks, 16 women from Southern Shuneh went from knowing very little about water conservation to being water-savvy thanks to a training course on “Plumbing Services and Checking of Home Electrical Appliances”.

Organised by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Hanns-Seidel Stiftung, the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC) and the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), the course was an eye-opener for Feryal Hijran and her colleagues.

“At first, we were surprised when approached to take part in such a course, but now after the training we are grateful for the prospects it has opened for us,” she said during the graduation ceremony yesterday.

HRH Princess Basma, chairperson of the JOHUD board of trustees, presented certificates to the 16 women who completed 150 hours of theoretical and practical training.

Now the women are equipped to carry out maintenance work in their homes and their neighbourhood, such as fixing water leaks.

“We, as women, understand how it would be easier for a female plumber to come immediately and fix a leaking tap, instead of having to wait for husbands or sons to return home,” one course participant told The Jordan Times yesterday, adding that she plans start her own business as a mobile plumber.

“I will do my best to transform my neighbourhood into a more water-conscious community,” another participant remarked.

The course seeks to build sustainable awareness and to spur behavioural change at the local level in water resource management.

The WWWI is implemented under the umbrella of the Minister of Water and the Jordan Water Authority, with the support of the GTZ and the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, on behalf of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Around 10,000 residents of Madaba, Al Kafrein, Sheikh Hussein, Zarqa and Salt have benefited from the initiative since 2007.

The second phase of the initiative will empower inhabitants of Ajloun, Sahab, Irbid and Balqa and help women start their own business in the field.

German Ambassador to the Kingdom Ralph Tarraf said his country’s support to Jordan has amounted to more than JD1.3 billion since the 1970s, including JD250 million in technical cooperation.

“The agreed focal area in our cooperation is the water sector. The reason is obvious… we focus on drinking water supply, reduction of water loss and the development of sewage networks,” he highlighted.

The diplomat said the fact that households and the private sector account for 10 per cent of water loss in Jordan highlighted the need to hold training courses targeting women.

“This course provides individuals with the level of technical skills needed to manage problems related to water in households,” Tarraf said, thanking JOHUD for its support for the initiative.

Mutasem Hiyari, director of JOHUD’s natural resources management programme, said the WWWI has effectively changed the water consumption pattern among women and helped them enter a profession that is still seen as male dominated.

During yesterday’s graduation ceremony, the women also received plumbing tool kits.

“Now I can work as a real plumber,” said Iman Shatti, who currently volunteers with other graduates to fix leaking taps in a school located in their area.