WRAP Project comes to an end
Today marks the official end of JOHUD’s landmark WRAP project, which aimed to improve water security in some of the poorest communities in Jordan. The project used a combination of water infrastructure network repair and community awareness-raising to conserve Jordan’s scarce water resources in the most affected areas.
The need for such a programme has perhaps never been more acute. Jordan’s already meagre freshwater resources have been put under unprecedented pressure since the onset of the refugee crisis. Back in 1945, the average Jordanian citizen could count on receiving 3600m3 of water per year; last year, that figure had plummeted to 145m3. The average Jordanian citizen now lives well below the international water-poverty line, and Jordan is widely considered to be either the 2nd or the 4th driest country in the world (depending on the research body).
This alarming situation is more severe in certain rural areas. The WRAP programme began in 2013 with the support of GIZ and with funding from the EU, and aimed to target the most water-deprived areas in the country. In rural Irbid, Madaba, and Balqa, the programme repaired decaying water networks and springs, ensuring that greater volumes of water reached private residences and local farms rather than being wasted through cracks in the system. Costly yet effective activities like these have improved the lives of tens of thousands of people, and have ensured that Jordan’s agricultural sector has remained both productive and competitive.
On a more fundamental level, WRAP project staff also endeavoured to begin changing the attitudes and habits of ordinary people. In training sessions throughout Jordan’s agricultural heartlands, women were invited to water conservation sessions. All in attendance were taught about the importance of recycling and re-using “greywater” (water used in washing machines and for washing dishes) to recycle crops. Local women were also given plumbing skills training, helping local families to fix leakages in their home water systems and use their water resources more efficiently.
Since 2013, project staff have noted the effect that training and empowerment has had on the self-esteem of local women. In Jordan’s conservative heartlands, most wives and mothers don’t work and rarely take part in solving big community problems. With the training, women are now able to take the lead in fixing leaks and plumbing problems, saving their families money and helping to fight one of the biggest problems in the country.
Now the project is closing, WRAP project staff have released guidelines to help future groups learn from its experience. It is hoped that the process of educating women on plumbing and water conservation can become a national habit, helping to save households money whilst avoiding unnecessary waste of the nation’s most precious resource. Visit www.johud.org.jo to take a look at the new guide and consider creating a similar project in your area!