Creating employment opportunities in waste management

Project description

Title: Generating (positive) energy from waste
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), European Union (MADAD, ENI)
Country: Jordan
Lead executing agency: Jordanian Ministry of Local Administration (MOLA)
Overall term: 2015 to 2023

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Jordan has taken in an estimated one million displaced persons from Syria. As a result of the inflow, the amount of waste in the Jordanian host locations has increased considerably. Local councils are often overwhelmed by this, resulting in littering.


Waste collection and the processing of recyclable materials provide an income for disadvantaged population groups.

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The project creates income-generating opportunities in waste management by employing displaced persons from Syria and disadvantaged Jordanians for around 40 days on a cash-for-work scheme. In 15 municipalities and at two refugee camps, participants collect recyclable materials, in particular cardboard, paper, plastic and metal, and process them for sale.

Two partner organisations are responsible for implementing the measures: OXFAM Germany runs the collection of recyclables at the Za’atari refugee camp, while World Vision implements the measures at the Azraq refugee camp.

In the municipalities, dialogue forums raise awareness about waste prevention and promote peaceful coexistence between migrant Syrians and resident Jordanians. The project is cooperating with the non-governmental organisation ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development) in this regard.

The European Union is contributing financially to integrating informal recycling into the state waste management system in order to improve working conditions for workers. Awareness-raising measures are also being taken in the areas of waste and the environment.

Aiming to mainstream the collection and processing of recyclable materials in the long term, the project is developing cooperation arrangements between Jordanian and German universities.

Since 2020, the measures have been continued with financial support from the European Trust Fund. Moreover, a biogas plant is being built at the Za’atari camp to dispose of sludge in an environmentally friendly manner. The biogas is intended to cover a significant proportion of the energy consumed by the sewage treatment plant.

Up to mid-2021, the project has employed more than 35,000 people, 25 per cent of whom are women.

Last updated: June 2021

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Additional information