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Areej Jordanie © Sebastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim



Hunger for a Cleaner Environment in Irbid

However, Jordanians and Syrians have been engaging and working together in many activities to improve their livelihoods. One of these ways is through programmes like Action Against Hunger’s Solid Waste Management programming in Irbid Governorate, which engages Jordanians and Syrians, alike.

One of these women is Areej, one of the Team Leaders participating in Action Against Hunger’s cleaning campaigns around Bani Obaid and Al Koura districts in Irbid Governorate. As a mother of five children, she participated in order to help support her family financially after her husband fell ill for 10 years after a stroke. “We had accumulated debt that kept on pilling up,” explained Areej who at the time began seeking more work opportunities to better her family’s financial needs. Life was difficult for Areej during this turbulent time


Bonding Through Cleaning Campaigns


One day, Areej found out about Action Against Hunger’s cash for work initiatives in Irbid after witnessing men cleaning the streets in her neighborhood. “You have no idea how happy I was!” exclaimed Areej with a smile after finding out she had been hired as a Team Leader for the project, unable to contain her joy. “As if I was a lightning bolt shooting from the sky! I was super happy.”

These participatory cleaning campaigns are one of the Food Security and Livelihoods activities as part of the “Waste to (Positive) Energy in Jordan” initiative in Jordan, where Action Against Hunger is an implementing partner of the Deutsche Gessellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), funded by the German Ministry for Development (BMZ). This project aims at improving the solid waste management system in three municipalities in the Irbid Governorate, while enhancing livelihoods of vulnerable Jordanian families and Syrian refugees through short-term employment opportunities.

Areej Jordanie ©Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim
Areej Jordanie ©Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim
Areej Jordanie © Sébastien Duijndam pour Action contre la Faim

Under the initiative “My City is Clean” Jordanians and Syrians work together cleaning public spaces, recycling urban waste, all in coordination with local authorities and cooperatives around Bani Obaid and Al Kurah districts in Irbid. Together with other activities such as door-to-door visits and school events, these campaigns aim to improve people’s awareness on the importance of sorting and recycling waste.

As a team leader, Areej makes sure that the women under her supervision are on time, wearing their safety gear and masks, and promptly cleaning their designated areas. She would divide the women into different groups where one would collect scraps while the other group would collect plastic, cardboard, or paper for recycling


Breaking Barriers


One of Areej’s favorite moments while being Team Leader is seeing the inclusion between women and men, whether they were Syrians or Jordanians. Rather than worry about the negative things in their lives, “We focused on the unity we had as a team,” she said joyfully. “It eased my soul!

She obtained the opportunity to meet new people while sharing her views on the importance of having women playing a key role in the workforce. “She can help change and better her household’s financial situation by earning a living, which is not a disgrace in my opinion.”

She hopes that more Syrians and Jordanians, both men and women, can put their differences aside and work together in harmony. She loved working side by side with her Syrian and Jordanian brothers and sisters and wishes everyone else can gain the same experience she gained while cleaning the streets of Irbid. “We established a bond of friendship with one another,” highlighted Areej. “There is no shame in working side by side with a Syrian,” she said proudly.


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