In Jordan, promoted by the Intercultural Cities strand of the South Programme, two local authorities in the cities of Sahab and Zarqa, have come up with pilot projects to mobilise the assets already present in their communities. Both cities are hosting a large number of immigrants and refugees from Syria, but also other groups like Palestinians, Egyptians, Iraqis, and nationals of Philippines and Sri Lanka. The projects are based on the “Asset Based Community Development” (ABCD) approach, meaning that migrants and refugees should not be defined only by their vulnerabilities and needs, but that they also have talents, skills and experiences to contribute to the development of the community where they are resettling.
The pilot project in Zarqa will be focusing on entrepreneurial skills for women of different backgrounds that will be provided by the municipality with small shops, on the basis of partnerships between Jordanian and Syrian women, within the space of a bazaar re-designed by a mixed team of students from the University of Zarqa.
In Sahab, an anti-rumour component would be added to an ongoing awareness raising campaign around recycling and waste for pupils in schools. This would allow students and their families to start questioning some of the myths around migrants and refugees and to disseminate more and better information to the entire community.
The aim is to work towards the principles of non-segregation, mixing, interaction, as well as applying the diversity advantage lens and to focus on the co-creation of well-being for the entire society, not to exasperate the social tensions and the feeling of being left behind of the host community that can lead to hostile feelings towards newcomers, as well as youth radicalisation.