JORDAN Helping families sustain their livelihoods

 Economic Development
 11th Aug 2008

Adhul shows every day of his 87 years as he graciously offers Arabic coffee in the comfort of his modest home in the heart of Bayoudeh village. As the curious eyes of his grandchildren peer into the living room, Adhul tightly grips his walking stick and speaks of his life as a Jordanian and his family’s recent struggle with the drought and the increasing cost of life; ‘I have never in my lifetime seen the situation as bad as this. It is like fire in the straw. Money is like straw and life has become fire.’

For generations Ahdul and the local Bayoudeh community have supported themselves by farming olives and producing olive oil. Yet, as water becomes scarce the traditional farming methods are no longer returning the harvest required to sustain livelihoods. As the cost of food and daily living increase dramatically some families have been forced to sell their land and with that abandon their traditional livelihoods just to survive.

Recognising the hardships rural Jordanian families such as Adhul’s are struggling with in the face of severe drought, CARE is working to improve the situation in Bayoudeh. By introducing improved water systems and environmental land management, CARE is helping families sustain both their livelihoods and the environment into the future.

As Adhul’s age catches him and he is no longer able to tend to his prized land, he has entrusted the management of his small farm to his youngest daughter Khadija. With support from CARE, Adhul and Khadija have become heavily involved in sustainable farming using water recycling and compost methods to ensure their next seasons yield.

When CARE first visited their village and discussed the importance of using natural resources to improve the nutrition and structure of the soil the entire village was filled with excitement. For the first time community members saw the opportunity to use their existing resources to make their land more fertile and as a result, improve their lives. After CARE’s initial training session he and Khadija were given ducks and chickens to farm. Using their manure they have produced rich compost which they use on their olive trees and have even created a new source of income by selling the chicken and duck eggs at the market.

However, their success goes far beyond farming; Ahdul excitedly gestures to his water harvesting well which catches run-off from his roof top. The water harvesting technology introduced by CARE ensures Adhul and Khadija have a reliable and clean water supply for the summer and saves them money on their water bills. With a toothless grin Ahdul comments; ‘These ideas are not traditional for us, but I like these ideas, everyday they are making my family’s life easier.’

Khadija thinks the technologies introduced by CARE are really making a difference; ‘I use the very simple technologies that CARE taught me to reduce water consumption. I make mulch to go under the trees and we have dug two wells to hold grey water with the money saved from CARE’s revolving fund in our community’ said Khadija. ‘The benefits from the birds are endless; we have more food to eat and the composting results are amazing, I feel safer now for all our family.’

Excited by the opportunity to support her own family, Khadija’s vision is bigger than just her own farm, she now wants to influence the entire village so she can improve the quality of the produce and as a result improve the entire community’s health. Today, she is well on her way to achieving his goal; Khadija recently became a trainer and proudly exclaimed; ‘Already I have counted more than 10 people that have replicated the technologies that CARE taught me and I have taught them.’

Today, Adhul and Khadija’s olive farm is supporting their whole family and the environment: ‘Without these technologies I don’t know where my family would be today. Today I no longer fear what will come tomorrow’ said Adhul.

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