Jordan [Syrian refugees]

Flooding in Za’atari Refugee Camp


Last week, Amman had its first snow of this year.


There was no snow in Za’atari Camp, but there was rain during the weekend which flooded the camp with damage. As usual every year, organizations, including JEN who is in charge of providing hygiene aid, are sending trucks to the victims of the flooding to pump out the sewage and are working hard to minimize the damage.


[The flooded shopping area]


[The flooded street the residence area]


[Pumping out the sewage to the truck]

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[JEN staff is briefing UNICEF staff on the damage ]

The rainy season is still continuing. JEN is continuing to support efforts to alleviate problems (especially related to raining) faced by the Syrian refugees, to prevent flooding in their residences and streets, and to prevent such damage from disturbing peoples’ lives.



Recycling Project in the Za’atari Refugee Camp


My name is Momen AL-Omari and I am in charge of the recycling project in the Za’atari Refugee Camp.

Recycling has various advantages and we anticipate the following results from our efforts: effective use of limited resources, waste reduction to maintain a clean living environment in the camp and; the creation of new revenue opportunities for both male and, female refugees over a broad age ranges.

This project was launched on a trial basis in one of the 12 districts in the camp by a Western international NGO in the summer of 2015. The initiative was then introduced to all districts by November 2016. JEN is responsible for the recycling project in Districts 3, 4 and 5 in cooperation with the Western NGO.

The purpose of this project is to collect the recyclable waste generated in everyday life, such as glass, metals, textile and cardboard boxes, in order to reduce waste. This recyclable waste collected from each household is sent to a recycle centre located away from the residential area in the camp where it is separated according to material.

In the districts in which JEN is active, a total of 24 Syrian women and 18 Syrian men work as guidance staff and recyclable waste collection staff. They have been trained in the details of this recycling project and understand how to communicate with and get a message across to refugees.

This is because separation of waste is unfamiliar to Syrians, we firstly explained them the importance of the project and what kind of waste is to be collected.


[Staff explaining the project to refugees]

After the training, the guidance staff began visiting each household, and also recyclable waste collection staff called at households to collect recyclable waste. The households who understand the significance of this project due to the guidance staff’s explanation help to recycle waste.

We have distributed a rubbish bin to every household to make separation easier. We also monitor the progress of each team and carry out coordination between the team members.


[Distribution of a rubbish bin to every household]

When guidance staff confront issues, for example that some households do not support the project, or cooperate with recyclable waste collection, or that they can not succeed in coordinating communication with recyclable waste collection staff, I offer advice and we try to solve the issue together.

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[Group session with female refugees]

When they still cannot solve the issue, I visit the households themselves with the guidance staff to discuss the purpose of the project and persuade them. Thus, the guidance staff has been improving their communication skills by solving this kind of issues one by one.

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[Staff meeting about how to explain the project to refugees]

I have been involved in similar activities with humanitarian support organisations including JEN over the last five years, through which I have learned how to communicate with and support refugees who are in a difficult position.

The feeling that I am helping refugees makes me feel proud and gives me inspiration to improve my skills. I would like to further enhance my management skills.

Momen AL-Omari
In charge of the recycling project

Project Commences to Improve Household Toilets!


Many people living in Jordan’s Za’atari Refugee Camp have begun installing toilets for their dwellings. Some people install the toilets themselves, while others ask for help from other refugees who have the skills to complete the task. As a result, only a few people are coming to use the public toilet facilities built by support groups several years ago. Public toilets here are approaching the end of their duties.

Meanwhile, there are families who remain unable to have a household toilet due to a lack of skills and money. Moreover, even if a household toilet has been installed, many of these facilities consist of just a hole in the floor, with no walls around it, no windows for a cross-breeze, no door locks, and so on, failing to meet the minimum requirements set by organizations involved in water, sanitation and hygiene programs.

To help refugees live in dignity, JEN is rushing to carry out construction work to improve these household toilets.

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[A toilet made by residents before construction work.]


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[The improved toilet after construction work,]


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[The exterior of the improved toilet.]


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[JEN's toilet improvement project team working on a facility.]


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[Project members installing a washbasin.]


【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.

Trial-and-Error Bazaar


In mid-November, a bazaar was held at a JEN community centre in Za’atari Refugee Camp. It was the third bazaar organized by the Women’s Recycling project, first mentioned in this blog in August. This event, the first one since May 2016, aimed to earn revenue through selling hand made products including carpets, winter clothing, toys for children and decors, all constructed out of old clothes over the course of the last six months.

On the event day, the Recycle project members prepared for the bazaar with support from the JEN staff. Thanks to the effects of flyer distribution, word-of-mouth advertising, and email the bazaar had a total of 100 visitors including more than 90 Syrian refugees.








[All set for the bazaar.]






[Visitors examining products.]






[A variety of products for sale.]

Although the previous bazaar had more than 100 visitors, a majority of them did not purchase products. Reflecting on this, the Women’s Recycling project members exercised their ingenuity and flexibility in setting prices to suit visitors, making products to more precisely meet the need of customers, and advertising the bazaar more actively based on their own ideas. These efforts saw a revenue of 100 Jordanian dinars (about 15,500 Japanese Yen), almost four times more than last time.
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[Support organization staff selecting recycled carpets.]

The main goal of the Recycling project is to improve quality of life in the camp through the refugee women’s making and selling goods crafted from old clothes. There are very few chances to generate income in the camp. Thus, supporting the women who are taking these step towards independence by gaining an income, albeit not very much, provides the JEN staff great pleasure.

We are considering holding the next bazaar at the JEN community centre in the third district of the camp, not the fourth district where three bazaars have been held so far, because we would like residents who live far away from the district to be able to come to the bazaar. Looking forward to witnessing the further creativity of the women, JEN will continue to support their income generation.

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.

Behind the scenes of the cultural exchange between the U-17 Japan Women’s National Team and the female students


Behind the scenes, this cultural exchange between Japan’s Little Nadeshiko women’s football team and the female students belonging to the football club of a girls’ public school from Amman was organized in only 3 days from the time that agreement was reached with the Japan Football Association.

Since the original plan was that the cultural exchange was to be held at the public school, permission for the exchange was required from Jordan’s Ministry of Education. After receiving the approval of, and a letter of recommendation from, the manager of the physical education department of the Ministry of Education, preparations for the event proceeded from the next day with unprecedented speed.

While the plan was taking shape within the short time-frame, dozens of people agreed to help and did so with a positive attitude. Although it was all very sudden, the principal of the secondary school promptly talked with the students participating in this cultural exchange.

Furthermore, despite the sudden change, the night before, to the time and location of the exchange, the principal patiently explained the reason for this to the staff of the sports section of the Education Office, to the principal’s co-workers, and to the students.

The female students needed permission from their parents in order to participate in this event and this was also difficult to get. For example, one of the students coming to the bus station seemed distressed, a separate student’s mother drove her daughter to the bus station and angrily asked the teacher, “What is this about? ”, and another parent said, “I can’t let my daughter go until you give me a contact phone number”.

There were some dramas, but in the end, we are grateful to all of the parents for entrusting their daughters to JEN and the teachers.

For the JEN staff also, this adjustment was a hard challenge. It was only decided that the cultural exchange would be held with three days’ notice, and everything else was uncertain. Since the plan was almost changed on the day, they couldn’t relax until the safe end of the cultural exchange.

JEN’s staff had many tasks to do, including negotiating with the school, with the local government, and with the central government. Furthermore, they made great efforts to deal with the sudden change of plan.

Similar to Japan, public schools in Jordan don’t have their own school bus. At 6:30 a.m. on the day of the event, it was still uncertain whether we would get the permission from the students’ parents.

However, we let the school staff know that, if we get permission from the students’ parents by 1:30 p.m., we would like to rent a bus for 21 students and asked for permission to do so, which they gladly accepted.

With every step uncertain, this cultural exchange was nevertheless successfully realized thanks to the cooperation of the staff and everyone who helped with our plans.

We would like to express our gratitude to the women’s division of the Japan Football Association for gladly accepting this cultural exchange and giving us this wonderful opportunity, and to the Japan Women’s National Team for participating in this cultural exchange and sparing their time for us.

We are as well grateful to UNICEF’s Jordan office for their cooperation.



[Beginning of the cultural exchange with the Japan National Team and greetings]


[The Little Nadeshiko team and the Amman students]


[All of the girls]

【JEN is now accepting donations. Your help would be very much appreciated.

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