Cultural heritage conservation, management, and presentation demand a wide variety of skills. These fields are often on the very cutting edge of technology, and therefore require vast detailed, up-to-date knowledge. SCHEP has consulted with the community of practice to find out which skills would be most useful for the cultural heritage sector in Jordan, and conducted trainings and workshops that have benefited a wide variety of participants.
From 2014–2018, SCHEP capacity building efforts included site-specific initiatives that dealt with particular skills necessary for working at a unique site, like conserving frescoes at Bayt Ras or interpreting examples of Thamudic script in Wadi Rum, as well as more general skills such as Geographic Information System (GIS) technology, site promotion, archaeological surveying, and more.
Capacity building is a major focus of SCHEP’s current phase (2018–2022), which aims to grow and enhance skills and knowledge of CHR professionals, recent graduates, and local communities in Jordan, with the ultimate goal of helping them achieve better employment. SCHEP capacity building courses cover a broad range of topics related to the specific needs of Jordan’s CHR professionals, from heritage museum planning to wall painting conservation.In light of the COVID-19 pandemic that spread throughout the world starting in early 2020, SCHEP adjusted its capacity building offerings to reflect new restrictions on travel and gatherings. Instead of in-person training, SCHEP has offered several scholarships for online training courses during this period, covering a range of topics related to archaeology, heritage, and tourism. As of June 2020, the program is still under evaluation and may be further adjusted to reflect the changing global and local situation. For regular updates on SCHEP’s capacity building program, follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
A major component of SCHEP’s capacity building programming is the project’s collaboration with AMIDEAST on a two-year program of English language courses for employees of Jordan’s key CHR institutions and SCHEP-supported MSEs. These courses cover a range of specialized topics, including basics of conversation and communication, report writing and presentations, English for tourism, and others. The program was designed by SCHEP and AMIDEAST after a rigorous skills assessment, which identified the needs of over 150 employees of the DOA, PDTRA, ASEZA/Wadi Rum, the Jordan Museum, and SCHEP MSEs.
English often serves as a primary language of international conferences and publications, as well as a common language for travelers from across the world – as such, bolstering the English language abilities of these CHR and tourism experts can help them gain new opportunities for advancement, collaboration, and economic growth.
In support of the capacity building and institutional development programs, SCHEP is supporting the establishment of CHR Open Learning Environments (OLE) that will serve as locations for hands-on professional training courses and programs, awareness and education activities, and conferences. These spaces, to be established in Amman, Bayt Ras, and Wadi Rum, will bolster the ability of the Jordanian heritage sector to preserve, protect and manage CHRs across Jordan.
National and international conferences provide excellent opportunities for USAID SCHEP to share our model for community-based heritage management, spread awareness of our work and our related sites, and make connections with scholars and heritage professionals from throughout Jordan and beyond. Since 2015, SCHEP team members have presented about the project at conferences and meetings in Jordan, the USA, India, Bahrain, and Italy.
SCHEP has also created opportunities for Jordanian university students, heritage professionals, and recent graduates to participate in such events. The project sponsored 15 Jordanian cultural heritage specialists to attend The Thirteenth International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan (ICHAJ 13) in Amman in 2016, and 14 to attend ICHAJ 14 in Florence in 2019.
SCHEP continues to offer scholarships for Jordanian students and recent graduates to attend and present their work at international conferences, on an ad hoc basis.