JERASH, 21 October 2020 — A UNICEF programme to help vulnerable youth and families living in Jerash Camp learn new skills and become more self-sufficient by growing vegetables on innovative green rooftops has successfully completed its pilot phase and is ready to be scaled up.
In its initial phase, the Sennara social enterprise project supported twenty women and youth through the creation of ten green rooftops fully equipped with hydroponic systems -- aiming to create income generation opportunities, enhance food security and improve financial inclusion, while also conserving water use.
"An entire generation of children are growing up in a world made more uncertain as a result of the changing climate," said Tanya Chapuisat, Representative, UNICEF Jordan. "By providing community-led, sustainable livelihood opportunities, projects like this one can foster social and economic development, while also promoting positive youth engagement and climate action."
The Sennara project will now be scaled up with the support of the Prospects partnership from the Government of the Netherlands. An additional 140 green rooftops will be established with each installation supporting two vulnerable households.
"The Netherlands in Jordan focuses on food security and creating decent work opportunities for the most vulnerable groups. We are happy to announce that the Netherlands will be contributing to the scaling up of this pilot project. The next phase will fall within the Netherlands support to UNICEF through the PROSPECTs partnership and will support the building of 140 hydroponics which will benefit 280 households in the Jerash governorate" said Barbara Joziasse, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Jordan.
As well as receiving hydroponics training, youth and women enrolled in the programme are supported to set up digital wallets to promote financial inclusion. By leveraging connections with the private sector, produce harvested from the green rooftops can be sold to local markets, restaurants and other members of the food industry.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, when fresh produce was not easily available in the camp, thousands of vegetables grown on the green rooftops were distributed in the local community as an act of social solidarity with the most vulnerable households.
Jerash camp is home to over 31,000 Palestinian refugees -- half of them children. Youth in the camp face high levels of unemployment and more than half of all residents live below the poverty line.
UNICEF supports vulnerable children and youth in the camp with Makani's integrated learning, skills and child protection services, as well as health and nutrition, and WASH interventions. Youth in the camp are also being provided with scholarships for technical and vocational education and training to equip them with the knowledge and skills to gain meaningful employment.