An Oasis in Um Qais
Name: Tareq Masarweh
Date: 2 July 2019
Value Chain: Community-Based Tourism
Domain of Change: Social
Water scarcity has been a persistent issue in Jordan that has affected many governorates throughout the Kingdom. Local aquifers are running dry and demand for safe drinking water is steadily rising. In Um Qais, one enterprise offers a unique service that sets it apart from the others. For the past five years, 27-year-old Tareq Masarweh has been operating his water purification business across the street from his father’s supermarket, after purchasing it from his uncle. The water is sourced from the same water supply provided to all households but is cleaned using an advanced ultra-violet filtration system. Living with his family (six sisters and one brother), Tareq’s time is split between operating the water purifier and helping his father with his supermarket.
The Results of JVL’s Support
Tareq attended several training sessions organized by Al Baraka, a key facilitating partner for the MEDA JVL project. The trainings focused on developing his business idea and introducing him to social media marketing techniques while also educating on the merits of using environmentally friendly materials. Through MEDA-JVL, Tareq received a small business grant which enabled him to expand his services to sterilizing bottles and selling ice made on the premises.
The combination of training and a matching grant has added tremendous value to Tareq’s business and to his community. Customers are willing to travel to Tareq’s business because of the additional services that he offers compared to other water stations. Currently, he provides clean drinking water to over 400 households and companies in the surrounding area. The waste water from his business – which mostly contains salt and is thus unpotable – is being drained to farmland located behind the business which helps with the growth of lemon trees. Tareq truly feels that he has made a major contribution to his community, His self-confidence has improved drastically because of the success of his business. He is happy to be able to help his family and is appreciative of their support for his business. “I am very proud to have my family, especially my sister, to help me in making this project more successful. She does this by using the social media platforms and handling client requests and inquiries,” Tareq said.
In the future, Tareq plans on opening an additional location as well as expanding into producing smaller bottles for purchase by customers. At first, Tareq planned on switching from plastic to glass bottles but discovered that there is a lack of suppliers and distributors for glass containers in Jordan. This represents an opportunity to help establish and expand this type of business not only as a means to assist businesses who wish to switch to environmentally friendly packaging but to also encourage its use by th