Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities

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Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities
Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities

BACKGROUND 

Jordan’s tourism sector is a cornerstone of the economy, contributing 14 percent to GDP and employing 90,000 people. USAID supports the growth of Jordan’s tourism industry in order to drive employment, boost the overall strength of the economy, and create a more secure Jordan. With a wealth of historical, archaeological and natural attractions and a functioning tourism infrastructure, Jordan has the assets to develop a robust tourism sector. Jordan is home to over 20,000 documented archaeological sites, scattered across the Kingdom, and many are located within communities suffering from high poverty and unemployment rates. These sites suffer from poor maintenance and low awareness amongst tourists. The restoration, preservation, and promotion of these sites as destinations for local and international tourism are a real opportunity for local economic development. 

PROJECT OVERVIEWS

USAID’s Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities Project, implemented by the American Center of Oriental Research, strengthens the preservation, management, and development of Jordan’s cultural heritage resources by involving local communities. The project enhances the self-reliance of Jordan’s cultural heritage sector by equipping cultural heritage workers and institutions with key skills, such as specialized archaeological techniques, English language report writing, and presentation delivery.  

The project brings together governmental, local community, academic, and private sector stakeholders to develop strategies and policies to guide the management of Jordan’s cultural heritage resources, and provides extensive technical and financial support to micro- and small-sized enterprises focusing on sustainable cultural tourism. In this way, the project supports a robust tourism sector in Jordan through improving the country’s ability to sustainably preserve, protect, and promote the cultural heritage resources that form its heart.  

NOTEWORTHY ACHIEVEMENTS 

  • Harnessed the potential of cultural heritage resources to generate new streams of income and employment, especially in rural communities. By supporting four youth-led, micro to small enterprises that offer unique cultural, natural, and agricultural tourism experiences in lesser-known areas of the kingdom, the project has diversified Jordan’s tourism sector. Visitors can participate in a farm-to-table experience in Ghawr as Safi, take an archaeological tour in Umm al Jimal or Busayra, and learn to make local specialties in Aqaba, among many other unique and varied offerings. 
  • Improved the management of Jordan’s cultural heritage resources, including its archaeological heritage, a main pillar of the country’s tourism industry. To date, 474 employees of key cultural heritage institutions and tourism enterprises have gained new skills, such as improved English language, GIS, archaeological surveying, drone photography, and others, through the project’s capacity building program.  
  • Supported the creation of new jobs, as well as better employment opportunities for those already employed such as positions offering better pay or a closer place of work. The project’s activities have helped create more than 394 jobs in tourism service provision, archaeological site development, or cultural resource management. 430 Jordanians have accessed better employment opportunities with project support. Many of the new and better jobs were created through micro to small enterprises for local community members, including women who are earning their own income for the first time. 
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the project supported local community members and micro to small enterprise partners by providing learning opportunities such as scholarships for 50 Jordanians to attend online courses and training modules in archaeology and sustainable tourism, training in best practices for  
  • health and hygiene in light of COVID-19 and continued financial and technical support for tourism enterprises suffering from the lack of inbound tourism in 2020.  

 

Last updated: June 15, 2022

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