This blog post was contributed by Jessica Lehman, intern at FoEME’s Amman office
On a beautiful Saturday in early March, a group of media reporters, representatives from the House of Parliament, Rotarians, and FoEME staff and interns traveled to the Jordan Valley to learn about water issues and the work of FoEME.
The media can play a key role in raising public awareness of the issues that FoEME works to address, as well as engendering support for FoEME’s work. Therefore, media tours are an important component of a number of FoEME’s projects, including Good Water Neighbors, Transboundary Advocacy of Parliamentarians (TAP) and the Jordan River Project.
The group departed from Amman early in the morning and stopped to pick up additional members in Salt and Dier Allah. On the drive to the Valley, Munqeth Mehyar, the director of the Amman office, explained the agenda, FoEME’s work, and the awards that FoEME has received.
The Water Control Unit in Dier Allah was the first site that the group visited. Here, an engineer gave a presentation about water governance in the Valley, explaining the sources of water and management practices for the King Abdullah Canal. There were plenty of opportunities to ask questions, look at the maps produced by the Water Control Unit, and to see how the water supply is controlled electronically from this central station.
Next the group visited the Jordan Gateway Industrial Park, a Qualified Industrial Zone. A public relations representative explained the industrial project and answered questions from the group. The group was concerned that precious drinking and irrigation water was being used for industry and that few jobs were created, with potentially bad labor practices. From the bus, one automotive filter factory was seen (the other two factories are not yet operational), as well as the Jordan River in the distance.
On the road, the group was able to witness the poor sanitation and lack of clean water in several communities in the Valley, most notably in Mashare. This highlighted the need for clean water for the health and prosperity of the local people.
Finally, the group arrived at the Sharhabil bin Hassneh Ecopark, operated by FoEME. Abdel Rahman Sultan and other FoEME staff gave the history of the park and explained the accomplishments that have been achieved. The group relaxed in the beautiful park and enjoyed a delicious lunch. Afterwards, they participated in a tour to see the geodesic dome, Bedouin community, and Ziglab dam, all the while learning about the local environment and FoEME’s work. The group left the Ecopark at 5pm to return to Amman.
Article by the Jordan Times covering the media tour through the Jordan Valley:
Conservationists call for rehabilitating Jordan River
Related blog post:
FoEME Hosts Conference in Jordan: One Basin, Conflicting Visions