Empowering Local Women

Founded in 2010, the Umm el-Jimal Women's Cooperative Society promotes the roles of women and families as integral to the communities of Mafraq governorate. Women's empowerment is a key factor for sustainable development and poverty reduction, and UJWCS is improving lives of local women by enabling new opportunities in managing and promoting Umm el-Jimal's ancient and modern cultural heritage.


The organization is structured as a cooperative society under Jordanian law. Open to women from Umm el-Jimal and surrounding communities, each of its members pays dues that finance its operations, and has a say in its governance. Along with its complementary organization Black Jewel, the society will share the space and facilities of the town's permanent cultural heritage center upon its completion.


In addition to its growing membership of dozens of Umm el-Jimal's residents, the co-op's working partners currently include the Umm el-Jimal Project, Al Hima Foundation, Open Hand Studios, UNESCO, UN Women, ZENID, and other organizations.


The Women's Cooperative Society continues to develop its suite of programs. Currently, as part of a grant funded jointly by UN Women and UNESCO, the co-op's activities are focused on four interrelated areas. All of these programs will help ensure the preservation and sharing of Umm el-Jimal's heritage through sustainable, appropriate, and locally-led development.

Handicraft Production

Training in and producing traditional artisanal goods local to the southern Hauran, such as textiles.

Food & Hospitality

Producing traditional foods and hosting visitors through home stays and local events.

Community Tour Guiding & Cultural Awareness Education

Training and facilitating tour guides to teach visitors about the site and its heritage, especially to Jordanian school groups.

Site Preservation & Maintenance

Contributing to the long term conservation of ancient Umm el-Jimal in collaboration with Al Jawhara and the project's other partners.

Business Development

Developing other heritage-related opportunities for local women and families.

Key Support

The following institutions have been instrumental in growing the Umm el-Jimal Women's Cooperative Society.

al-Hima Foundation

A Jordanian nonprofit organization specializing in revitalizing communities through sustainable cultural heritage projects, al-Hima is implementing much of the co-op's programs and training in conjunction with UNESCO and UN Women.


UNESCO and UN Women's joint Empowering Rural Women grant project, started in 2014, is providing a range of funding, technical support, training, and other resources for the women's co-op.

Launch event

Project Launch Event

Over a hundred co-op members, community residents, project partners, ministry representatives, and dignitaries celebrated the launch of the Empowering Rural Women Project at Umm el-Jimal with an event and tour of the ancient site on January 18, 2014.