Strengthening host regions


Globally, the majority of those displaced from their home countries flee to neighbouring countries, and these are often among the poorest in the world. This means that around 86 per cent of refugees worldwide are currently living in developing countries, where resources and infrastructure services are usually barely sufficient to cover the needs of the local population. GIZ supports the receiving regions in developing countries and emerging economies with projects that benefit refugees and the local population alike. This not only diffuses possible conflicts, but also creates long-term prospects for all.


Jordan is one of the countries most keenly and directly challenged by Syria’s civil war. By March 2016, approximately 630,000 refugees had crossed into Jordan from Syria. The majority of them do not live in refugee camps but have found housing in urban areas. Having to provide basic services to so many people has only served to aggravate the country’s existing problems – take, for example, healthcare, the job market and education.

Watermanagement in Jordan

Water supplies are particularly problematic. As a desert state, Jordan is extremely water poor and the little water it does have is barely sufficient to meet its own people’s needs.

The refugees’ arrival has increased demand for supplies of this limited resource. According to the latest calculations, every inhabitant has around 100 cubic metres of renewable groundwater at his or her disposal each year. This is a dramatically low figure. By way of comparison: Germany has twenty times as much. On behalf of Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ supports Jordan to develop solutions for tackling water shortages.


Water ambassadors

One project aims to train the Jordanian population and Syrian refugees and make them aware of how to use water sparingly and efficiently. In order to reach as many people as possible, GIZ is working with Islamic religious leaders. Over 90 per cent of Jordanians and Syrians are followers of Islam, and all worshippers attend mosques regardless of their ethnic origin. Imams and female preachers therefore play an important role in disseminating information. Courses have already been run for over 800 imams and female preachers to train them as ‘water ambassadors’. Here, they themselves learn ways of saving water and then pass this knowledge on to their communities in their sermons and during their home visits.

Water is also being saved in the mosques, where worshippers perform their ritual washing five times a day before prayer. For example, water saving fittings and drinking water filters have been installed. As a pilot project, mosques are also being fitted with facilities that collect rainwater or reuse wastewater.

Another project involves the training of Syrian and Jordan women to become professional plumbers – as properly installed and adequately maintained help to save water.


Plumbing training

The project has been launched by GIZ on behalf of Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and in cooperation with Jordan's Ministry of Water and Irrigation. Around 40 per cent of the water available is lost due to leakage from pipes, most of which are neither properly installed nor adequately maintained. By training Syrian and Jordanian men and women to become professional plumbers, the project aims to help conserve water and make better use of the scarce supplies. Also, training is helping to ease the skills bottleneck and it gives people on site – Jordanians and Syrians alike – a real prospect of finding a job later on. 

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    GIZ is enabling Jordanian and Syrian women to train as plumbers, generating job opportunities and preventing the loss of valuable water resources. © GIZ
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    Jordanian and Syrian women are training together to become plumbers, and strengthening social cohesion in the process. © GIZ
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    Around half of the trainees in the GIZ project are women. Learning the skills of the trade has also strengthened their social status in Jordan. © GIZ