Welcome to USAID SCHEP
The Sustainable Cultural Heritage
Through Engagement of Local Communities Project (USAID SCHEP), is a USAID
project implemented by the American
Center of Oriental Research (ACOR) that uses a unique methodology for
preserving, managing and promoting cultural heritage resources in Jordan
through a community-first approach. The project began in 2014 and is set
to continue until 2022.
We’re active in underserved and economically disadvantaged areas of Jordan that
host important archaeological and cultural heritage sites. USAID SCHEP works to
connect on-going site surveying, excavation, and conservation to the local
communities, forming a mutually advantageous relationship between the
archaeological team and the communities in which they work.
USAID SCHEP employs a holistic approach for conducting cultural resource
management by utilizing a grassroots social engagement model that emphasizes the
local communities as the primary stakeholders in the project.
USAID SCHEP projects provide employment not only through meaningful work on the
site itself, but also by promoting the site as a tourist destination and
supporting various micro-enterprises within the local communities.
These on-the-ground activities are coupled with USAID SCHEP’s efforts to build a
community of practice with academic, government, and tourism professionals to
support effective and sustainable cultural heritage resources preservation and
management. We work with other key institutions in Jordan to ensure they have
the skills, tools, and capacity to continue to engage in best practices for
heritage preservation long after our project has ended. This includes updating
technologies, educating key stakeholders on best practices, and investing in the
next generation of cultural heritage enthusiasts and professionals. For more
information on these activities, check out our section on capacity building and
The USAID SCHEP Difference
Jordan is home to hundreds of archaeological and economic development projects
but USAID USAID SCHEP has some key features that set it apart.
For locals, by locals: USAID SCHEP locations have “Site Stewards” who act as
liaisons between USAID SCHEP, the project directors, and the host communities.
They are active in the archaeological process, as well as hosting workshops and
events for the host communities. These empowered men and women ensure that USAID
SCHEP activities ultimately serve the best interests of the host communities and
fall in line with the unique social and cultural context.
Marketable, transferable skills: Trainees at USAID SCHEP sites learn best
practices of excavation, conservation, and cultural resource management. After
training in masonry, surveying, documentation, and other skills ready to use
their talents in multiple projects, raising their prospects for future
employment in other arenas.
Moving away from seasonable employment: By empowering communities with real
skills and responsibilities for site development, USAID SCHEP allows for the
possibility of year-round employment.
Promoting cultural heritage as a value: Whether it’s raising awareness of the
historical site in host communities, creating hands-on learning activities for
underserved schools across Jordan, or promotion of USAID SCHEP sites as tourist
attractions, USAID SCHEP ensures that Jordanians and visitors alike appreciate
and value the rich cultural heritage of these sites.
There’s more information about the specific sites we’re focusing on, the
activities we’re participating in, and ways for you to connect with USAID SCHEP
throughout the website. We encourage you to check out our Facebook and Instagram
to get updates about our day-to-day activities. Feel free to contact us if you
have any questions or if you would like to get involved in USAID SCHEP.