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news | January 29, 2018 | Jordan | Emergency

ACTED welcomes German President to Azraq Refugee Camp

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier arriving at ACTED’s technical site on 29th January 2018 © ACTED Jordan, 2018

On 29th January 2018, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, visited ACTED’s GiZ-funded project in Azraq Refugee Camp.

On Monday 29th January 2018, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Azraq Refugee Camp accompanied by his wife and a delegation of German diplomats, representatives of the Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and of the German development agency GiZ. The President and the delegation were welcomed at ACTED’s technical site in the morning to get to know the activities of ACTED’s solid waste management project funded by GiZ and BMZ. Since October 2017, with the support of GiZ, ACTED has been implementing a solid waste management project in Azraq camp ‘Waste to Positive Energy’ focusing on camp cleaning and dry bread processing activities while providing Syrian refugees with over 1,000 work opportunities on a monthly basis.

With this ongoing solid waste management project, ACTED aims at encouraging sustainable solid waste management practices such as reducing the use of plastic bags by distributing shopping trolleys to Syrian refugee households, encourage waste sorting into dry and wet waste at the household level by providing bins, and fostering behavioral change through community mobilization activities. ACTED’s project is a pilot, meaning that we are constantly learning, improving operational capacity, and driving down costs. Moreover, in Azraq camp, ACTED collects and separates bread from the general waste, processing it at ACTED’s Operations Facility and working with a local CBO to sell it to nearby farms, improving the productivity of farm animals such as sheep, camel, and other ruminants, thereby increasing the income earned by farmers.

Each year over 3 billion plastic bags are used in Jordan and only 20% of them are disposed. By providing refugees with shopping trolleys to do their groceries, ACTED will reduce the negative impact of plastic bags on the environment and contribute to a cleaner Azraq camp.

ACTED staff, including Country Director Hanalia Ferhan, Area Coordinator Paht Tanattanawin and WASH Project Coordinator Sami al-Shobaki welcomed the delegation and illustrated the project activities. The delegation could see ACTED recruited Syrian incentive-based volunteers in action while processing the bread waste and were also shown all the tools and materials used during ACTED’s solid waste management activities. President Steinmeier and his wife were particularly impressed by the handicrafts manufactured by Syrian refugee children during the children-tailored sessions with recycled and upcycled materials and were also showcased the materials distributed throughout the camp for ACTED community mobilization campaign encouraging sustainable waste management practices. One of the most important aspects of solid waste management is the camp sensitization to the processes of recycling, segregation, and garbage collection. Influencing people’s behaviour and increasing their awareness is the key to reducing the impact of solid waste in the camp.

“Our goal here is for the project to become self-sustaining through re-investment of revenue. We strive to work closer with local community organizations as well as the Azraq municipality to increase sustainability of the project, in the hopes that one day, the communities that are hosting refugees can do so with capacity, with confidence, and with care.” - ACTED Area Coordinator, Azraq

Since the opening of Azraq camp in April 2014, ACTED has been working alongside 27 agencies to cover the basic needs of all camp residents and ensure the delivery of services across the camp. For almost three years, ACTED has been in charge of bread distribution and supplying clean drinking water to the entire camp population on a daily basis as well as collecting and removing solid waste and wastewater from the camp for external processing. In 2017, ACTED began implementing a WFP-funded livelihood pilot project aiming to strengthen the livelihoods of vulnerable households in Azraq town.