Jordan hosts a
vast number of archaeological sites that serve as important cultural heritage
resources (CHRs) for the country. Many such sites are located within
underserved areas outside of Amman, presenting the opportunity to develop local
economies. However, currently many of these sites cannot live up to their potential
as tourist desinations or windows into Jordan’s rich history because their host
communities often lack the capacity and resources to capitalize on these sites’
tourism potential. Local communities and visitors alike miss out on the
opportunity to capitalize on these hidden gems.
Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities Project
(SCHEP), implemented by the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR), aims
to enable communities to preserve CHRs
and market them as tourist destinations domestically and internationally. 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.
cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Department of
Antiquities, SCHEP builds skillsets, 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 cultural heritage projects in
Jordan that will conserve cultural heritage, create employment opportunities,
and give back to the host community.
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 to improve preservation and
protection practices as well as marketing sustainable tourism of Jordan’s CHRs.
- Supporting nine CHR sites including Ghawr as-Safi (Karak), Busayra
(Tafila), Umm al-Jimal (Mafraq), Bir Madhkur (Wadi Araba), the Temple of the
Winged Lions (Petra), Bayt Ra’s (Irbid), Al Khaz’ali (Wadi Rum), Ayla (Aqaba),
- Engaging host community members in CHR promotion and management. Nearly 136
individuals, including local youth, have received hands-on training in CHR best
practices across the nine SCHEP sites.
jobs and improving the type and quality of employment for CHR host communities.
Thus far, SCHEP sites have generated 78 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 during 2017.
- Completing comprehensive assessments to support CHR capacity building
and training for the staff of the Department of Antiquities, as well as the
faculty members 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.
- Launching the Training Diploma in Archaeological Surveying in
cooperation with the Hashemite University, an accredited and intensive vocation
training program to bolster capacity within the Petra Archaeological Park and
the Department of Antiquities.
- 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 ranged from 4th
to 6th grade in nine schools in Ghawr as-Safi, Karak, Amman, and
- Awarding 15 scholarships to high-achieving students in Jordanian universities
and 8 SCHEP Site Stewards to attend the prestigious 13th International
Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan. The students, who are
majoring in archaeology, tourism-management, and related fields were be able to
network and learn from leading professionals in their respective fields. SCHEP
also supported the efforts of the Department of Antiquities to host the
week-long international conference in May 2016.