The EU and Germany are launching a new programme to support solid waste management in the refugee camps in Za’atari and Azraq, as well as in neighbouring host communities. This is a multi-donor programme with a contribution of 39 million Euros from the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (EUTF Syria), and additional 6 million Euros funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMZ has been funding solid waste management activities since 2015. The new programme is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and various partners on the ground. It allows for the continuation of the support to the Jordanian Government in collecting, sorting and processing waste and recyclables.
Waste management is among the most essential tasks to maintain infrastructure during a crisis, and most of the activities such as litter picking, garbage collection and disposal services were also carried out during the lockdown.
Oxfam, a partner of GIZ, runs two sorting facilities at Za’atari Refugee Camp, which were born out of a successful 2015 pilot project, commissioned by the EU and Germany. Solely by recycling cardboard, metal and plastic, a 10% reduction of solid waste in landfills was achieved. Precautionary measures were implemented to avoid the spread of COVID-19, and all staff were provided with personal protective equipment. These new operational procedures rendered the work environment as safe as possible, including through social distancing during all stages. Similar activities are implemented by World Vision, another partner of GIZ, in Azraq camp, where around 70 tons of recyclables were collected during the lockdown from mid-March until the end of June.
“The idea of these sorting stations is to implement waste segregation at household level. We focus on an integrated waste management system in the camp by targeting waste collection of residual waste, sorting of recyclables, composting and treatment of the sludge from the water treatment plant to produce clean energy”, explains Ralf Senzel, Head of the Solid Waste Management Portfolio at GIZ.
Moreover, waste sorting also creates temporary employment and provides knowledge and practice for sustainable waste management for men and women. Yasmin, a widow and mother of 10 and one of the first women to work in Oxfam’s recycling facilities in Za’atari camp recalls: “At the beginning, it was difficult for me to take the responsibilities and the roles of men; but now, I have my own job and I make my own decisions. This makes me feel that there’s equality between men and women - we’re working exactly the same as men”. In total, 11,500 camp inhabitants have already been employed since mid-2016, including 32% women.
About the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the EU Madad Fund:
Since its establishment in December 2014, a significant share of the EU’s non-humanitarian aid for Syria’s neighbouring countries is provided through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. The Trust Fund brings a more coherent and integrated EU aid response to the crisis and primarily addresses longer term economic, educational, protection and social needs of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, and supports overstretched local communities and their administrations. For more information about the EU Trust Fund, please visit https://ec.europa.eu/trustfund-syria-region/content/home_en