Job creation for Syrian refugees and Jordanian host communities through green works in agriculture and forestry (Phase I)

The project supports Syrian refugees and Jordanians access decent work and livelihood opportunities in Jordan’s agricultural sector, through the use of employment-intensive methods.

Summary

A market assessment of the Jordanian labour market, conducted by the ILO in 2015 showed that 50 per cent of Jordanians and 99 per cent of Syrians were working in the informal economy. These jobs are outside the scope of any form of governance and lack basic social protection coverage. They are characterised by sub-standard wages, hazardous working conditions and exploitative practices.

In 2016, the Government of Jordan agreed to allow Syrian refugees into selected occupations of the labour market, in return for improved Jordanian access of Jordanian products to the European market, soft loans, and increased foreign investment in the country. This has led to the creation of job opportunities for Syrian refugees in Jordan, while also enabling them greater security and mobility to find work.

This project, implemented in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, focuses on boosting decent employment and livelihood for Syrian refugees and Jordanians through green works and labour-intensive employment in agriculture and forestry to improve agricultural productivity in selected regions in Jordan.

The Employment Intensive Investment approach (EIIP) provides direct work opportunities as well as a means for the refugees to obtain work permits, formalising their employment in Jordan’s labour market.

Green work is infrastructure and agricultural work that has direct production or environmental benefits, or is in response to specific environmental contexts, such as climate change and extreme weather events.

Activities will be carried out in the Governorates of Ajloun, Jarash, Karak, AlAlbalqa and Tafila, which host a significant number of Syrian refugees.

The project builds on the German-funded ILO Employment Intensive Investment Programme in Mafraq and Irbid, launched in 2016, which aims to improve rural infrastructure through the use of labour intensive methods in Mafraq and Irbid.

Objectives

  • Support 700 Jordanian (50%) and Syrian (50%) men and women, with 10% of the total being women, and 3% persons with disabilities access short-term employment through the use of employment intensive methods in the agriculture and forestry sectors; and
  • promote better living conditions for Syrian refugees and Jordanians as a result of increased decent work in the agricultural sector and an improved environment.

Main Activities

  • Expanding agricultural infrastructure of local farmers and local communities, through building water catchments to collect rainwater; terracing and planting; installing greenhouses and irrigation systems;
  • increasing vegetation cover through tree planting in public areas (including recreational areas and parks) and on roadsides;
  • building the capacity of the Ministry of Agriculture and local cooperatives to implement local resource-based approaches for men and women, through classroom and on-the-job training on local resource-based methods;
  • generating short-term employment opportunities through the establishment of Joint Business Ventures (JBVs) for Syrians and Jordanians;
  • enhancing workers’ entry into the formal labour market through access to Social Security benefits; ensuring they are employed under decent working conditions (including pay, working hours, Occupational Health and Safety); as well as training and skills development;
  • building the capacity of Syrian refugees to apply for and obtain work permits; and
  • enhancing the employment of women through raising awareness at community level on employment opportunities for women; identifying challenges faced by women; focusing on traditional occupations that are culturally acceptable for women; and promoting women champions in non-traditional occupations.

Outcomes/achievements:

  • 31,519 working days created for 1,199 Syrian women and men refugees and Jordanians men and women through Employment-Intensive Investment in green works and agriculture development;
  • infrastructural and environmental support for local farmers and local communities provided;
  • vegetation cover, environmental protection improved and increased; and
  • capacity of staff at the Ministry of Agriculture and local contractors enhanced.