Considering the increasing amount of waste in Jordan’s municipalities and the high unemployment rate, the project aims to address the lack of adequate waste disposal services, while at the same time creating employment opportunities for Jordanians and Syrian refugees.
Lead Authority or Organization: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Area: Governorates of Irbid, Mafraq, Al Balqa, Karak, Madaba, Jerash, and Ajloun, Jordan
Beneficiaries: Vulnerable Jordanians and Syrians in hosting communities, and refugee-hosting municipalities
Timeline: September 2015 – October 2020
Human Resources: 1 project manager, 4 project coordinators, 3 project advisors, 1 construction engineer, 1 administration officer, 1 logistics officer, 1 data management officer
Sources of Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Jordan is hosting over 655,000 Syrians, with 79% living outside refugee camps. The population increase is putting a strain on municipalities, which are no longer able to deliver adequate public services like waste disposal. This difficult situation could trigger conflicts between Jordanians and Syrians. Additionally, according to the Department of Statistics, Jordan faces the highest unemployment rate in the past 25 years (18.2%). Although the high unemployment is not a result of the Syrian crisis, the public sentiment tends to blame Syrian refugees as the cause.
As solid waste management is a labor-intensive municipal service, the project has been implemented in direct partnership and ownership with municipalities. Their successful cooperation is crucial to reach sustainable outcomes. The project aims to provide livelihood opportunities for vulnerable Jordanians and Syrians while contributing to a relief on the environment, to alleviate tensions between Syrians and the hosting community, and to improve solid waste management systems in partner municipalities.
The project went through the following steps:
Evidence and Beneficiary Feedback
The cash-for-work activities in waste collection led to an increased positive perception of the cleanliness of the municipalities. Of the households surveyed in Irbid, 89% agreed that the municipality is noticeably cleaner than the previous year. As an act of solidarity, in some areas residents provide workers with food and drinks. Moreover, in the Karak Municipality, Syrians strongly disagreed when they were asked if they are discriminated by the Jordanian workers, and a number of questionnaires showed that the majority of workers do not feel discriminated.
What beneficiaries say
“The Deir Alla municipality team has visited us…, called me to start working with them in the GIZ WtPE project. We used to be indebted but our burdens have become lighter and we are happier now. I can cover the expenses for winter clothes for my kids and for the rent and a heater, as it is winter now.” —A 58-year old Syrian man, who came with his family from Homs to Mafraq, had to live with his family at his relatives’ place. Only after he started to work with the project, was he able to rent an apartment for his family, which provided him with a livelihood and dignity.
Challenges and Risks
Key Ingredients of Success
In spite of the usual use of cash-for-work in humanitarian situations, this project connected cash-for-work to an existing technical field, supporting the development of solid waste management in Jordan and also providing vulnerable Jordanians and Syrians with livelihood opportunities. By utilizing direct partnerships with municipalities and the provision of infrastructure, the project connects the need for work and a better solid waste management system.
In the case of scaling up, the context of the intervention needs to be carefully evaluated, and experiences shared with other cash-for-work projects. In countries where many cash-for-work interventions are implemented, coordination is important. Flexible standard operating procedures could be developed to support these processes.
The “Waste to Positive Energy” project and post-employment services have already been expanded and the focus now shifts more to sustainable activities like recycling and composting.
The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) with a signed implementation agreement with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs as a political partner. The Ministry provides access to the municipalities as implementing partners of the project.
Several international NGOs are additional implementing partners of the project in order to increase the outreach and to pilot different implementation strategies.
Local communities and refugees are included in the processes in several ways: through the project advisory committee, in public hearings before the construction of recycling facilities, and in monthly dialogue platforms.