The long-enduring refugee crisis, the limited international support and the lack of income-generating opportunities have brought the more than 650 000 refugees in Jordan into a very precarious situation. «We have no money, and now the UNO is cutting the food vouchers. What are my children to live on?» said Muhamed, who, as early as 2015, had fled from Syria to Jordan with his eight children. Emergency aid on its own is not sufficient to provide people with perspectives and sustainable, reinforcing measures.
As in many countries bordering on Syria, the crisis in Jordan - the country with one of the highest refugee numbers per capita worldwide - affects the economic and social situation of the whole country. Needy Jordanians are also feeling the increasing pressure on services and national infrastructures such as water, sanitation, health and education. This endangers the cohesion between refugees and local people. From the close settlement and ensuing production of waste, ecosystems and biodiversity also suffer.
Waste management as chance both for people and their environment
Caritas Switzerland and its local partner, Caritas Jordan, are creating income generation opportunities both for Syrian refugees and acutely poverty-stricken Jordanian families. Not only Syrians living outside the camps but also Jordanians in ten municipalities in the north-western provinces of Irbid, Jerash and Ajloun receive temporary contracts of employment for three to six months. The project employs around 900 people every day. They are employed to collect recyclable waste and process it further. No high qualifications are required for this work, so the project offers opportunities for people who find it hard to get into the labour market.
At the same time, the project promotes community health and has a positive impact on the environment. The workloads are integrated into public clean-up campaigns and comprehensive waste disposal strategies.
Sustainable also for people who already earn an income as waste collectors
Many people already earn an informal income by collecting and recycling waste. To ensure that the waste project of Caritas shall adversely affect such collectors, Caritas determines how the waste-value chain in all ten municipalities functions, involving all parties and establishing contacts with them. The intention is that by means of public relations, the former waste collectors shall be informed about the project and be involved in it in order for them to secure a regular, formalized and recognised job.
The project is supported by the German Association for International Cooperation (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ) and is part of a more widespread commitment to waste management in Jordan.