Economic Development and Energy
Sustainable Cultural Heritage through Engagement of Local Communities Project (SCHEP)
Jordan hosts a vast number of archaeological sites that serve as important cultural heritage resources (CHRs) for the country. Aside from the most well-known tourist attractions and World Heritage Sites, there are numerous lesser-known locations that hold tourism potential if developed sustainably. Many such sites are located within underserved areas and poverty pockets outside of Amman, presenting the opportunity to develop local economies. Unfortunately, many of these communities lack the capacity and resources to capitalize on these sites’ tourism potential.
USAID’s Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities Project (SCHEP) aims to enable communities to preserve cultural heritage resources and market them to both domestic and international visitors. This is achieved through site development projects that engage communities in preserving, managing, and promoting these sites in a manner that ensures their viability as long-term resources.
Many communities that host CHRs are unable to capitalize on their tourism potential because they lie in underserved areas with scant economic or educational opportunities. SCHEP is currently active in five sites in Jordan, working closely with the communities to develop their ability to preserve, manage, and promote these cultural heritage sites.
In close cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, and the Department of Antiquities SCHEP builds skill sets, knowledge, and tools that adhere to best practices in site preservation and presentation, sustainable promotion, and management. Working with stakeholders that include archaeologists, tour guides, Jordanian university faculties, government officials and the host communities of CHRs, SCHEP works to build and strengthen a collaborative community of practice that convenes regularly to merge tourism promotion and cultural heritage preservation. Simultaneously, SCHEP works with key tourism promotion stakeholders to increase the visibility of specific sites, with the ultimate goal of increasing tourism and bringing economic benefits to the communities surrounding these important sites.
- Providing small-scale grants to specific projects that will bolster the Department of Antiquities’ capacity.
- Building a strong Jordanian heritage community of practice by increasing best practices in site preservation, conservation, management, and tourism promotion through workshops, course work and practicums with hands-on experience in CHR development.
- Creating relationships between relevant governmental departments, institutions, and professional associations for improved preservation and protection practices in marketing sustainable tourism of Jordan’s CHRs.
- Supporting five CHR sites including Ghawr as-Safi (Karak), Busayra (Tafila), Umm al-Jimal (Mafraq), Bir Madhkur (Wadi Araba), and the Temple of the Winged Lions (Petra). SCHEP expects to support a total of eight sites by 2018.
- Engaging host community members in CHR promotion and management. Nearly 100 individuals, including local youth, have received hands-on training in CHR best practices across the five SCHEP sites.
- Creating jobs and improving the type and quality of employment for CHR host communities. Thus far, SCHEP sites have generated 65 employment opportunities in rural areas. By 2018, SCHEP expects to create 650 community-based job opportunities around CHR sites, with a focus on youth (75%) and female (47%) employment.
- Creating the Jordan Heritage Consortium (JHC) to facilitate communication and collaboration among Jordan’s cultural heritage professionals. The JHC’s initial meeting brought together representatives from the government, universities, and foreign institutes to discuss key challenges and areas of cooperation. The JHC will be officially launched by the end of 2016.
- Completing comprehensive assessments to support CHR capacity building and training for the staff of the Department of Antiquities, as well as the faculties and students of Jordan’s five public universities.
- Supporting the establishment of Sela for Vocational Training and Protection of Cultural Heritage, the first community-based nonprofit of its kind, focusing exclusively on local training in cultural resource management. Sela’s training program will allow more than 60 individuals from Petra’s communities to gain vocational experience in archaeological excavation and documentation, site conservation, and landscape rehabilitation.
- Launching a new accredited program in cooperation with the Hashemite University. The Training Diploma in Archaeological Surveying and Cultural Heritage Documentation currently has 11 participants from the Department of Antiquities and the Petra Archaeological Park, who upon completion will be qualified to fill the dire shortage of archaeological surveyors in the Kingdom.
- Organizing a cultural heritage curriculum for more than 450 students across Jordan in cooperation with HM Queen Rania’s Madrasati Initiative and the Department of Antiquities. The students, who were 30% female and included a significant number of Syrian refugees, ranged from 4th to 6th grade in nine schools in Ghawr as-Safi, Karak, Amman, and Irbid. The program taught students about archaeology, conservation, and cultural heritage through a series of workshops on pottery, mosaics, and field trips to Dar as-Sariya in Irbid, Karak Castle, Tawahin as-Sukkar, as well as the Roman Theatre and the Jordan Museum in Amman.
- Awarding 15 scholarships to high-achieving students in Jordanian universities and 8 SCHEP Site Stewards to attend the prestigious International Conference on the History of Archaeology of Jordan. The students, who are majoring in archaeology, tourism-management, and related fields will be able to network and learn from leading professionals in their respective fields. SCHEP is also supporting the efforts of the Department of Antiquities to host the week-long international conference in May 2016.
SCHEP aims to help communities preserve cultural heritage sites while simultaneously building the economy through increased employment and visitation.
In the Middle East region, Jordan ranks second to Egypt in total number of tourists. SCHEP builds on this by working with communities, cultural heritage experts, and the tourism industry to upgrade, preserve, and promote Jordan’s cultural heritage sites.
Total Funding: $4.2 million
Geographic Coverage: Nationwide
Implemented by: The American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR)
USAID c/o American Embassy
P.O. Box 354
Amman 11118 Jordan
P. O. Box 2470
Amman 11181 Jordan