Economic Growth Sector
Sustainable Cultural Heritage through Engagement of Local Communities Project
Jordan hosts a vast number of archaeological sites that are important cultural heritage resources (CHRs) for the country. Besides the well-known tourist and World Heritage sites, these include numerous other locations that could have substantial tourism appeal if properly developed using a sustainable preservation model that ensures their viability as long term resources for Jordan. Jordan also abounds with living cultural heritage traditions within its diverse range of different types of communities.
The USAID Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities Project (SCHEP) aims to enable local communities to preserve and promote cultural heritage resources through site development projects that engage and employ local communities in sustainable site preservation, management and promotion, while simultaneously building an enabling environment through a community of practice among academic, government, tourism and customs professionals to support effective and sustainable cultural heritage resources preservation and management.
The SCHEP approach is based primarily on a proven model of grassroots capacity and skill building within local communities for assisting with effective preservation, management, and development of Jordan’s CHRs. The core of this model was built around the lessons learned from developing and implementing the Temple of the Winged Lions Cultural Resource Management (TWLCRM) Initiative in Petra, a holistic approach for conducting cultural resource management utilizing a grass-roots social engagement model, emphasizing the local communities as the primary stakeholders in the project.
Many of Jordan’s cultural heritage resources are located within underserved areas and poverty pockets outside of Amman, where local communities are unable to capitalize on the tourism potential of these sites. SCHEP emphasizes grassroots capacity building to create skilled teams necessary to build sustainable capacities for effective preservation, management, and development of Jordan’s CHRs at the local level, and to create employment gains. SCHEP targets 8 secondary sites in Jordan, working closely with the communities to develop teams capable of preserving, managing and promoting the target sites within their communities.
Working closely with the Ministry of Tourism and Department of Antiquities, SCHEP builds skill sets, knowledge and tools for adherence to best practices in site preservation and presentation, sustainable promotion, and management. Working with stakeholders ranging from the communities around CHR sites to Archaeology and Tourism faculties at Jordanian universities, to tour guides and tour operators, to archaeologists, the SCHEP project works to build and strengthen a collaborative community of practice that convenes regularly to merge tourism promotion and cultural heritage preservation for sustainable cultural heritage management according to international best practices. Simultaneously SCHEP works with key tourism promotion stakeholders to increase the visibility of the target secondary sites, with the ultimate goal of increasing tourism to these cultural heritage sites, bringing economic benefits to the communities surrounding these important cultural heritage resources.