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Jena and Deir Alla develop a master plan for sustainable solid waste management in Deir Alla

History of the partnership

Representatives of the municipalities of Jena and Deir Alla got to know each other at two workshops held by Connective Cities in 2016/2017, and an expert fact-finding mission to Jordan organised by the Service Agency. At these meetings it emerged that Jena possesses extensive experience in the field of solid waste management. This was the very area in which Deir Alla was seeking support. 'We would like to draw up a marketing plan for solid waste management, and in doing so also drive forward economic development', says Amal Al-Haourat, engineer and Head of the Municipal Development Department in Deir Alla. This was the beginning of the two sides’ working together in partnership.

Project partnership between Jena and Deir Alla

Developing a master plan for solid waste management

Several people are standing by the side of a road on which a waste container is spilling over.
Taken during the waste management fact-finding mission to Jordan. Photo: Hamza Atuom

The Jordanian city of Deir Alla is home to some 60,000 inhabitants, one tenth of whom are Syrian refugees. The rapid population growth in Deir Alla also entails infrastructural challenges, including challenges involving waste disposal. The increased volume of waste, plus an almost non-existent awareness of the need to reduce and separate waste, is placing a huge strain on waste management in Deir Alla, and calls for sound waste management planning. In the future the municipality intends to base its waste management system on a sound database and a master plan.

Designing a master plan together

Sustainable solid waste management in Deir Alla

As part of a project partnership, in 2017 staff of the municipality of Jena and their colleagues from Deir Alla jointly drew up a master plan for solid waste management and conducted an initial sorting analysis. For this purpose the waste management master plan was first of all translated into Arabic and handed over to Deir Alla. This was followed by a project workshop in Jena. Participants of the workshop shared lessons learned, and elaborated in more detail the plans for implementing waste separation. They also optimised the route planning for waste collection, and developed the implementation of awareness-raising campaigns on waste separation. Moreover, they defined further steps of cooperation. After that a batch of residual waste was sorted, which led to the production of a waste analysis. 'The experience of German municipalities is very helpful. It is interesting to see how the process works here and how much autonomy municipalities have in their decision-making', said Amal Al-Haourat.

Four people are standing in front of a paper sorting plant. One man is talking to the others, who are listening to him.
Visiting a paper sorting plant in Kerak during the fact-finding mission in June 2017. Photo: SKEW/Engagement Global
First results and further development

Benefits and lessons learned by both sides

Drei Personen sitzen um einen Tisch und besprechen sich
Workshop „Planung und Organisation des kommunalen Abfallentsorgungssystems“, Foto: SKEW/Engagement Global

The project received support from the Middle East Quick-Starter Package I. The analysis will now form the basis for further development of solid waste management in Deir Alla. Following the first results of the sorting analysis, there are now plans to design and implement initiatives for the separate collection and recycling of waste – such as paper and cardboard, plastics and organic waste.

Sharing with their peers enabled the experts from Deir Alla to gain an impression of waste management practices in Germany. The experts from Deir Alla were closely involved in preparing the sorting analysis, in order to strengthen their understanding of the potential of waste separation, and prompt societal debate of waste sorting and environmental protection in Deir All and its environs.


Mehrere Personen stehen vor der Kompostierungsanlage in Deir Alla
Besuch der Kompostierungsanlage in Deir Alla/Jordanien der Fachinformationsreise im Juni 2017. Foto: SKEW/Engagement Global

The creation of a more enabling environment for effective waste management in Deir Alla will help relieve pressure on the municipality, which faces huge challenges in the delivery of basic public services due to the influx of Syrian refuges.

At the same time, the experts from Jena have also learned many valuable lessons from the joint project. The engagement of the two municipalities and their experts is fostering development discourse and building new structures for cooperation. Awareness of global inter-connectedness, and the challenges faced by Jordanian municipalities, has been raised. Those municipalities have also learned how to deliver smart responses to these challenges, even with few resources.

Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon

Examples of municipal project work