Posted by: hamede | March 11, 2009

Blog about jordan day The Bani Hamida Project

blog-jordanbnihmidabanihamida02The Bani Hamida Project

Weaving the Threads of Success

Governorate: Madaba
District: Thiban
Community Type: Rural

The Bani Hamida Mountain is situated in the Madaba Governorate, in the middle part of the Kingdom. It is located 35 km away from Madaba City and 80 km away from the capital city, Amman.

The Bani Hamida area of Madaba Governorate is an impoverished remote part of the Kingdom with high levels of unemployment and out migration, in addition to a lack of public services and private development initiatives. It is composed of sporadic settlements and population groups, situated in a very remote and underdeveloped area.

Problems and Challenges Facing the Area
• There are poor public transportation systems that reach Bani Hamida, contributing to its isolated nature. There is lack of connecting roads with Dead Sea, Maa’in resort and Qusaib resort.
• Inhabitants rely on septic tanks to dispose of liquid waste, which are emptied by hired trucks.
• The area is connected to the national power grid. However, residents suffer of frequent electricity outages.
• The area is connected to the Ministry of Water and irrigation’s potable water supply network. However, this water supply is intermittent, and inhabitants sometimes purchase supplemental supplies from tanker trucks. There are a number of springs in the area, though the inhabitants are not allowed to use them.
• Polygamy is common and social status is poor.
• The area lacks sufficient health care facilities and specialized doctors. It is served with a primary health center in Al Areed, in addition to two other secondary health centers. The nearest hospital is in Madaba City, about 35 km away.
• High rate of migration: in the last 30 years, more than 20,00 inhabitants have left the area due to the severe difficult economic situation and remoteness of the area.
• Lack of recreational facilities.

Economic Problems Facing the Area
• Poverty
• High unemployment rates.
• The lack of market place (The nearest market 35 Km away from the mountain) and difficulties in marketing agricultural and handicraft products.
• Lack of income generating activities (for men, women and youth) in the area. Employment opportunities are very limited.
• Lack of agricultural roads, rangeland and forages.
• Unavailability of vocational training opportunities.
• According to Social Development Directorate 148 families receive social aid.
• Youth, normally considered an important sector in the work force, are forced to leave the area due to the difficult economic situation, the remoteness of the area and the lack of job opportunities.

Threads of the future
The Bani Hamida Women’s Weaving Project, originated by the Save the Children Federation in 1985 and merged into the Jordan River Foundation in 1998, revived traditional Bedouin rug weaving, helping to maintain the social fabric of the Makawir area. Older women in the community were eager to pass on rug-weaving techniques to younger generations. Today, women in 13 villages keep this tradition alive, while contributing to the betterment of the quality of life of their families.

Using home-made ground looms and wooden spindles, the project rejuvenated the unique warp-faced flat weave in pure wool, along with the colours and particular designs representing Jordan’s unrivalled traditional rug making. The rugs were an instant hit when they were commercially introduced and have created a unique image for the Bani Hamida Mountain and its women. As the project grew throughout the years, it has become the largest and most famous rug weaving project in Jordan and the neighboring countries.

Since its inception, the project employed 24 full-time employees, benefited over 1650 wage-based women and over 1.5 million Jordanian Dinars have been paid to spinners, weavers and dyers who have produced the superior quality pure wool rugs that travel the world with a “Handmade With Pride by Bedouin Jordanian Women” ticket.

The impact of the project on these women and their community could be clearly seen in their homes, their health and their children’s education who are now able to earn their university degree. Women have become independent, confident and are socially accepted as working women.

Halima Al-Qa’aydeh, the 37-year old project manager, is a success story acclaimed by national and international development agencies. She has appeared in countless TV documentaries and press articles. Cameras have followed her on daily trips in the white pick up truck as she shuttled between the Center and the weavers’ homes discussing the latest orders, designs and color schemes. While challenges remain, Halima has also become a leader in her communities. In the recent municipal elections, Halima was one of the six women nationally elected to local councils.

The Jordan River Foundation along with the Bani Hamida Women have been working to find other means and opportunities to expand the number of beneficiaries. And as a result, in 2003, the Foundation was able to obtain a grant from Citigroup that provided seed money for a candle-making project that saw light on Bani Hamida Mountain. The marketing strategy is based on research that hand-made candles (with ingredients indigenous to the area) out-glow cheaper mass-produced ones.

Through its Rural Community Cluster Development Program, the Foundation was able to respond to some of the prevailing difficulties facing the Bani Hamida local community members by building a Service Complex that includes a market place, bus stop, storage space and offices for the local cooperative.



  1. Hamede,why did i always have the feeling that bani hameda are the rich people? ya3ni their gallery and their items are sold at high prices,i really don;t mind at all if the money goes directly to them and don”t take the usual tour 😀

    thanks hamede for the info.. enjoyed reading

  2. أهلاً ملاقط
    والله انها القصه محزنة النساء لا يحصلو الى على الفتات مؤسسه نهر الاردن تلهف الكل لقد رئيت قطعة إنباعات في نيويورك ١٠٠٠ دولار حصلت المرأه التي صنعتها ١٥ دينار

  3. Thanks for this reminder, Hamede!

  4. Kinzi.
    long time ago we talk about that thank you.

  5. Hi Hamede,

    I used one of the pictures in a Global Voices Online post, hope that’s OK with you.

  6. Ebtihal It is all good thank you.

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