Economic Opportunity Award, 2003
Arije Al Amad is an innovative and determined leader for women’s economic development in Jordan. Today she is the operations manager of the Microfund for Women (MFW), a women-run institution serving women micro entrepreneurs. She manages a team of 45 field workers that serves over 8,000 clients in nine branches throughout Jordan.
MFW provides financial opportunities for women with potential who otherwise lack access to traditional financial institutions. Arije has been part of the organization since its inception in 1996 as a pilot program of Save the Children. Today, MFW is a private, non-profit organization. Its mission is not only to provide much needed economic support, but also to harness the productive capacity of Jordanian women. MFW provides loans to women to open small shops, to sell household appliances, develop a home-based business, or to pursue other entrepreneurial ideas. To date, MFW has extended over 70,800 loans to more than 28,700 women clients through its extensive branch network. Loans average $270. Repayment rates exceed 99%.
In addition to providing much needed capital, MFW also provides women opportunities for personal growth. MFW sponsors a group of its outstanding clients every year to perform the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. The clients are randomly selected from all areas of operation based on repayment record and project growth record.