Palestinian refugees in Jordan

29.01.2015 - Jordan – Switzerland of the Middle East or refugee camp of the region? GIZ expert Gudrun Kramer talks to rbb-Inforadio about the situation of Palestinian refugees in the country.

Around five million Palestinians are registered as refugees with the United Nations. The majority of them live in Jordan. Over the decades, the places where they once settled temporarily have developed in such a way that they now function like towns of their own.

‘However, the Palestinians who were born here don’t look on Jordan as their home country’, says Kramer. ‘The people live here as if they were in one of history’s waiting rooms.’ Their relations with the population living in the surrounding districts are frequently difficult. Discord also arises within their own areas – conflicting views on how to deal with the past and how to shape the future present the people with great challenges. ‘In such a situation it is not enough to simply supply the refugees with food and medicines’, explains Kramer.

‘Exploring the past constructively, shaping the present and the future proactively’ is the motto of the project Kramer heads in Jordan. GIZ has been implementing the project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) since 2010.

Young people especially are encouraged to develop social skills that help to resolve conflicts peacefully – whether within the family, in the neighbourhood, or in dealings with authorities. With its training offerings and specific projects, GIZ is supporting young people in a drive to assume responsibility and do something for the community, be it making the camp more attractive, establishing cultural centres, or through film and photography projects. Talking to rbb, Kramer explains precisely and graphically how measures that may appear small at first glance often generate major results.

The interview was part of the ‘GIZ at work’ series, in which Radio Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb) talks to individuals from GIZ in order to showcase GIZ projects from around the world.