Discover Madaba: a sustainable tourism project


Madaba, 10 october 2021 – Site visit today at the Cathedral Area of Madaba, where the University of Perugia is carrying out archaeological excavations as part of the activities under the “Discovering Madaba: a sustainable tourism project”, funded by AICS in the framework of the interventions on cultural heritage linked to sustainable development.

The Head of AICS Amman Mr Emilio Cabasino joined representatives from the University and project staff working on the site of the Cathedral. This area is one of the largest urban archaeological areas of Madaba, comprising a Byzantine religious complex with large mosaic floors. As the area was in a state of complete abandonment, the project aims to provide the cleaning and restoration of mosaics and structures and extensive archaeological excavations to show the chronological overlapping of the structures, from the Iron Age to the Byzantine Era.

The visit continued to the training courses held at the Madaba Institute for Mosaic Art and Restoration (MIMAR) where the first of 21 specialist trainings on conservation, enhancement and management of cultural heritage and sustainable tourism development are being delivered to a group of 15 people selected from the employees of the Department of Antiquities of Madaba (DoA) and students of the MIMAR.

“Discover Madaba: a sustainable tourism project” is an intervention originated from a specific need of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan to protect and promote the cultural heritage of the city of Madaba, that present problems of conservation and stability of structures, accessibility and proper use for visitors, particularly in some areas of the city. As archaeological sites and historic places are in fact major tourist attraction, and represent a valuable sources of revenue, AICS Amman is supporting  Jordan in providing adequate site management to counteract deterioration and enhance valorization of sites to increase their social, historical, educational, and economic potential, as well as raise awareness of shared cultural heritage to boost cultural and archaeological tourism to places of historical significance.



Hanan’s first job

Jerash, Jordan - "My name is Hanan, I live in the Gaza refugee camp in Jerash, Jordan, and I am a mother of five children. My story begins with my participation in the training for women organized by AVSI ".

Hanan is one of the 629 beneficiaries of the "Aamal" project, implemented by AVSI Foundation and OXFAM thanks to the support of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS). The initiative took place between April 2017 and June 2018 in Lebanon and Jordan, and focused on vocational training and social inclusion of vulnerable young people.

In Jordan, the project strengthened the soft skills – namely transversal skills such as leadership and effective communication – and the technical and professional skills of 151 Jordanians and Syrian and Palestinian refugees. At the same time, public and private sector’s actors were involved in the project, such as the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC) and Sitti Soap, a social enterprise that provides refugee women with decent job opportunities in the soap industry.

Hanan and the other 150 beneficiaries’ experience began with their participation in a session of life skills – i.e. skills such as empathy and stress management – that helped her to embark on a path of self-awareness and understanding of the other.

"The training has helped me both personally and professionally," Hanan tells us. "I feel I am a better person now, and I would like to help others around me to improve themselves, starting with my family and my children".

As many other beneficiaries, Hanan had never worked before. Prior to her participation in “Aamal”, she had mainly focussed on taking care of her house and children in the "Gaza" camp on the outskirts of Jerash – an ancient Roman city 50 kilometers north of Amman.

After the life skills’ session, Hanan started a vocational training at Sitti Soap, learning how to turn olive oil into various kinds of soap. "I wanted to prove myself, so I started the soap-making training. Before I was just using the soap, now I am producing it!"

Thanks to the project funded by AICS, Hanan also had the opportunity to meet new people and forge new social relationships, especially with "my ten sisters with whom I participated in training".

At the end of the vocational training, Hanan did a two-month internship in the same social enterprise, during which she was followed by a mentor. The mentors of “Aamal” periodically visited the factories, shops and workshops where the beneficiaries were carrying out their training to monitor their presence, make sure that they were not facing problems with their employer or with the assigned tasks and that these would match the skills recently acquired.

"Now I work with Sitti Soap and I feel part of the enterprise". After her internship, Hanan was offered to continue working with Sitti Soap for 20 hours a week, so as to give her time to take care of her children.

"Aamal gave me a chance to make my dreams true", concludes Hanan. This is why she wants to thank AVSI and AICS for "giving me the great opportunity of participating in this project".

AVSI Jordan

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