Paving the way towards a greener future
Title: Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Jordan through Labor-Intensive Measures
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Special Initiative "Tackling the root causes of displacement, stabilizing host regions, supporting refugees"
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment
Overall term: 2017 to 2020
For years, Jordan has sheltered refugees from neighbouring conflict- and war zones. More than 666,000 refugees from war-torn Syria were officially registered in Jordan by mid-2018 according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This resulted in more than a 10 per cent increase in the population of Jordan in just a few years. Around 80 per cent of refugees do not live in refugee camps, but in the municipalities.
The rapid population growth puts immense pressure on the country and its people, forcing them to compete for jobs, water, electricity and food. It has become more difficult to earn a sufficient wage.
In many of the municipalities the infrastructure does no longer meet the needs of the growing population, and municipalities lack the resources to maintain and create green spaces. This affects all groups of society: adequate and accessible green infrastructure is a key to human well-being as well as integration and social cohesion. Functional public green spaces and networks and recreational areas are essential for the urban climate and biodiversity and contribute to climate change adaptation.
Jordanian and Syrian workers improve green infrastructure and the conditions for social cohesion, public life, urban climate and biodiversity – in the rural area, they rehabilitate eco systems in nature reserves, allowing for income enhancement.
In the project Improvement of Green Infrastructure in Jordan through Labor-Intensive Measures, women and men who are particularly in need are selected for a cash for work scheme. They plant trees, contribute to urban gardening, create picnic areas, restore parks, playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities. Steps and footpaths in public space get necessary renovations, which makes the areas safer and fosters neighbourhood connections. This development and maintenance of green infrastructure serves entire communities, promoting contact between neighbours and families.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and its partners also foster dialogue and cooperation between municipal authorities and their citizens: all residents – locals and refugees – are encouraged to get involved in the planning process of the project. While identifying the most urgent work measures, community members strengthen their feeling of ownership towards their surroundings, thereby contributing to sustainable development in Jordan.
The project is implemented in eight municipalities and eight rural areas in Jordan. It employs 2,200 workers, providing at least two months’ work for each person. While half of those employed are Jordanians in need, the other half are Syrian refugees. At least 20 per cent of workers are women. Since the average household in Jordan consists of five family members, the project can support up to 11,000 people. Approximately 1,650 workers will receive further qualification in different areas, such as gardening, sustainable cultivation practices, life skills or financial literacy. The cash workers will be offered short term employment in accordance with Ministry of Labour and social security regulations. This will create long-term prospects not only in Jordan, but also in Syria once the war is over.
The project includes capacity development measures beyond short-term income effects through temporary employment, also through additional training geared to formal labour-market needs and opportunities to connect with longer-term employment.
Participatory processes regarding the site selection as well as the nature of the design ensure the creation of ownership within the community. Local design offices are contracted for developing and implementing the designs with the cash workers as labourers. For the design development, special attention is given to the needs of women and girls in the public realm.
Humanitarian organisations support the project by providing social services, i.e. team building, trainings in life skills, by creating safe working environments, providing post-employment services and referral systems for vulnerable cases and psycho-social or trauma related issues.