The wider objective of the project was to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions for the inhabitants of Al Zaa’tari camp and the Mafraq region in Jordan through improved planning and operational capacity.
In line with the overall objective, the project was set to achieve four main purposes:
I. To assist UNHCR in developing an integrated spatial planning approach to Al Zaa’tari camp, which allows streamlining of services offered to refugees within the camp and which accounts for the interrelations of the camp with its surroundings (the Mafraq region), so that services in the camp are not managed in isolation but in complementarity with sector-wide approaches in the region and at national level;
II. To extend the sector-wide integrated planning approach applied in Al Zaa’tari camp to the broader Mafraq region in a way that ensures the spread of learning and a win-win approach to the proposed solutions implemented as part of the response to the Syrian refugee influx;
III. To encourage innovation and experimentation of new approaches and models related to humanitarian response to conflicts through the incorporation of municipal expertise and know-how (derived from hands-on practice, often in a non-crisis setting) into some of these new proposed solutions which can be considered as ‘new’ or ‘experimental’;
IV. To assist the national and local authorities of Jordan in developing a local economic development based approach to the Mafraq region linking immediate relief solutions to problems arising from the refugee influx into a more comprehensive and long-term approach to local development. This would entail a paradigm shift in approaching the Syrian refugee crisis as a source of (never-ending) problems into seeing it as an opportunity for developing the infrastructure and the capacities at local level.
In line with these purposes, the project is organized around 4 work packages which pay equal attention to the Al Zaa’tari camp and to its host environment in Al Mafraq governorate:
WP1: Assistance to UNHCR in developing an integrated planning approach for Al Zaa’tari camp.
WP2: Assistance to Jordanian national and local authorities in addressing services planning bottlenecks arising from the Syrian refugee influx.
WP3: Assistance to the Jordanian national and local authorities in developing a local economic development vision and plan for the Mafraq region.
WP4: Catalysing a broader reflection around the role of local authorities in response to humanitarian crisis.
The project achieved the following results:
1. An integrated spatial development plan for the Al Zaa’tari refugee camp alongside a participatory local governance model was developed, which is aligned with UNHCR’s existing planning and which tackles specifically the streamlining and alignment of the issues of water and sanitation (WASH), waste, transport and governance;
2. Win-win development planning and priority interventions in the Mafraq region and Al Zaatari camp were identified, particularly in the four priority sectors (water, sanitation, waste, transport and governance) alongside the overarching spatial development model championed by the project in Al Zaa’tari;
3. Quick-win interventions were identified and implemented in both Al Zaa’tari camp and Mafraq Governorate in support of the planning process and to provide technical backstopping with small concrete realisations with high visibility and impact;
4. Local authorities in the Mafraq region (both at governorate and municipal level) are engaged in a participatory LED process which is modestly transforming and mitigating the burden of the Syrian crisis into a longer term development opportunity for the region;
5. New approaches and models related to humanitarian response to conflicts are applied by UNHCR and the national and local Jordanian authorities, through the incorporation of the municipal expertise and know-how into existing responses schemes, but also through catalysing broader thinking around the role of local authorities in humanitarian response.
6. Memoranda of Understanding were signed by the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
Quick wins accompanied methods of coaching-mentoring and technical assistance more common to institution building. The project was financed by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.