The Aqaba Center trains unemployed secondary school graduates and disadvantaged women in the production of marketable tourist items. Since its inception in 1986, the number of beneficiaries has exceeded 50,000, a majority of them women. Through its projects, the Aqaba Center addresses the economic, social and cultural needs of families in Aqaba.
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The center's most notable initiatives include:
The Aqaba Center launched the first Micro-Business Incubator (MBI) supported by Aqaba Community and Economic Development (ACED) program, a USAID funded project this year. The first batch of trainee entrepreneurs, mostly women, have completed initial training to qualify for entry into the Micro-Business Incubator.
The initial-business incubator training program offers a package of tools to introduce trainees to the methods of starting their businesses, including creating a business idea, as well as marketing, and technical and financial studies.
The Aqaba Workshop
The Aqaba Workshop provides vocational training and job opportunities for underprivileged women to raise family incomes and improve standards of living. The workshop has three production lines: sewing, tie-dye clothing, and tapestry patchwork, each reflecting the rich heritage of Jordan.
The Aqaba Showroom
The Aqaba Showroom exhibits products from the workshop in a historic house near the Aqaba Museum. The showroom displays Jordanian handicrafts made by NHF’s cooperatives nationwide, as well as local artisans.
The Children’s Library
Founded in 1996 and the first of its kind in Aqaba, the Children’s Library reaches hundreds of students annually, and is a venue for cultural activities and educational awareness campaigns on topics such as children’s rights, drug awareness, health care and environmental issues. One of the library's major projects, "Children of the Coral Reef of Aqaba," initiated in cooperation with the Global Environment Fund
(GEF), has raised awareness on the bio-diversity of marine life and the need to protect the endangered reef.
The Information Technology Center
The Library hosts an ICT Knowledge Station, in cooperation with the National Information Center, to build capacity and enhance the skills of unemployed youths and entrepreneurs.
As Aqaba evolves into a liberalized, low-tax, duty-free, development area, NHF’s Capacity Building and Business Development Services Unit is providing tailored training programs to community members throughout the Aqaba governorate. NHF is also expanding the Aqaba Center into a human resources development center to enable individuals to meet the rising demand for a skilled local workforce. Current programs include the Aqaba Micro-Business Incubator, vocational training, International Computer Driving License, and conversational English for tourism workers, such as taxi drivers and tour operators.