The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Jordan, and Partners for Good (PfG), launched on Monday the Dar Al Shouneh project, aimed at promoting the tourism product of the Southern Shounah region, and providing the local community with economic opportunities.
The launch was attended by Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities Dr. Emad Hijazeen , in addition to the Netherlands Ambassador to Jordan, Harry Verweij. The officials toured the project, located in proximity to Dead Sea hotels and attractions.
Before the tour, PfG briefed the officials on its Local Partnership for Tourism Development project, “SHAMS”, which seeks to empower local community through economic opportunity creation, particularly in the areas of tourism, entertainment, and agriculture. SHAMS is designed to help local communities build sustainable linkages with private sector actors.
Dr. Emad Hijazeen, “The Ministry of Tourism pays great attention to heritage tourism projects, especially those of a local developmental nature. It is necessary to integrate local communities into the tourism sector and engage it with the private sector” Hijazeen stressed, “Dar Al-Shouneh, with its environmental and cultural heritage components, represents a model of tourism projects that are based on developing touristic products from the hearts of the local communities and the Jordanian families through integration in and creating economic opportunities within targeted communities.”
“We are pleased that this project is moving forward with its accomplishments, contributing to the economic empowerment of local community, and enhancing its resilience,” said Verweij. He added, “SHAMS is focused on advancing specific skills and capacities of women and youths, and on assisting local communities in the development of in-demand products and services.”
“Dar Al Shouneh celebrates the culture, heritage, and biodiversity in Southern Shounah,” said Waleed Al- Tarawneh, PfG Chief Executive Officer (CEO).”
Developed in partnership with the Greening the Desert Project and the local community, Dar Al Shouneh “gives visitors an opportunity to live the Jordanian village experience, including cooking traditional dishes, playing traditional games, and enjoying cultural activities,” Al-Tarawneh added. “We will promote the Jordanian village experience through our collaboration with partner hotels, and the use of reliable marketing channels.”
Nadia Abu Yahia – Lawton, a founder of the Greening the Desert Project, said: “We greatly value our collaboration with Partners for Good. This collaboration has started to bear fruit, setting a new stage for development work that is built on mutual understanding of sustainable development principles.”
Geoff Lawton, a permaculture specialist, and another founder of the Greening the Desert Project, agreed. “Our joint collaboration, as well as project accomplishments and its new standards, provide local communities with means for decent living, economic enablers, and arable land,” he said. “In our field of work, we realize that sometimes we start with limited resources, but little things eventually grow and become big things.”
The officials also tour Bayt (Home) Abu Ali, a Dar Al Shouneh component, equipped by SHAMS to host tourist groups of 25 people, who can live a Jordanian village experience. At Bayt Abu Ali, visitors can enjoy traditional entertainment and games, as well as Jordanian heritage stories and tales.
“I met Partners for Good team as it conducted a field survey. I would like to see my entire area transform into a tourist attraction,” said Khader Jahalin, or Abu Ali, the owner of Bayt Abu Ali.
“My family and I want to offer a genuine village lifestyle at our home, including the food, beverages, and hospitality. We want to be part of positive change,” said the father of three sons, and two daughters.