Jordan Development Article

Supporting Livelihoods Through Cultural Heritage Development

Beit Eidis, Irbid Governorate

June 2023

Beit Eidis, a Byzantine site located in the hills of the Jordan Valley, is a cultural heritage site of outstanding beauty with high potential for tourism. By ensuring the preservation of this ancient church’s historical features, such as its stone walls and mosaic floors, and facilitating access to the site, UNESCO and ILO, under the European Union funded project "Support to Livelihoods Through Cultural Heritage Development”, and in partnership with Acted Jordan, the Ministry of Tourism, and Department of Antiquities, aim at promoting tourism in the region while supporting livelihoods of surrounding local communities.

The rehabilitation of the site has enabled people from the local communities, like Hala and Hamza, to access employment. Read their stories:

Hala*, Jordanian Worker, Beit Eidis

After finishing her university studies in geology, Hala struggled to find a job as she lacked practical work experience. Through working on the project, she has gained a range of practical skills, including mosaic restoration, structural stabilization, and stone refinishing. She has particularly enjoyed working alongside others in the team to learn and support each other in completing the Beit Eidis rehabilitation work. She hopes to use the experience she has gained to find further work opportunities in the future.

"The project has allowed me to gain valuable practical experience that I was lacking after my university studies, to support me in finding future job opportunities."

Hala

Hamza, Syrian Worker, Beit Eidis

Hamza came to Jordan from Syria in 2012. He joined the project to earn an income, which he needed to support his wife and four young children. Although he had no prior experience, through the project, he learned eagerly on the job and attended skills training sessions with Acted. He now specializes in stone refinishing on the project and has developed a passion for understanding and preserving local cultural heritage.

"I have gained a lot of experience through the work and have learned a lot about how we can rehabilitate cultural heritage sites through skills trainings with Acted."

Hamza

Thanks to funding support from the European Union and in collaboration with UNESCO, the ILO, the Department of Antiquities, and the Ministry of Tourism, Acted is working to support livelihoods through cultural heritage rehabilitation in Beit Eidis and Pella, Irbid Governorate, Jordan. The project has created employment opportunities and provided skills training for 283 Syrian refugees and vulnerable Jordanians, while preserving local cultural heritage.

*Names have been changed to protect workers’ identities

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