The Medicinal Plants Project welcomes the community for their first Open Day

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On 25 August, the first Community Open Day for the Medicinal Plants Project was held in Sabha, Al-Mafraq. The project is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through a grant from the USAID Civic Initiatives Support Program implemented by FHI 360. The aim of the project is to promote sustainable community development through the integration of Syrian refugees into Jordanian society with the establishment of a medicinal herbs project, which will bring together women, limit improper growing practices, and widen opportunities for the community.

The day was to celebrate the achievements of the employees of the project, and to share education and knowledge with the community. The attendees included members from 4 local cooperatives from the Northern Badia region, as well as the families and neighbours of the women employed by the project. In total, over 80 guests attended.

The day started with Mr. Ahmad Rawajfeh, the Fund’s Director of Development Programs, welcoming the guests through a talk about the project achievements. He emphasised that the project has created a lot of opportunities for the local women, Syrian women and the wider community, and this will continue into the future. He stated that he could see the cohesion efforts between the Jordanian and Syrian women, as well as the women from different families in the Badia. He then told the audience about the timeline of the project, and what the next steps will be – and that the ultimate goal is to create a brand that produces tea that is self-sustaining.

The guests were shown the USAID greenhouses, and discussed the technical details of the project. The guests also tasted the tea, giving feedback regarding the quality and taste. The results from these papers were mostly all positive, with some suggestions to guide the women to improve their product and work ethic. The children had a lesson in planting and drip irrigation to encourage their excitement and education. The children selected their own plant from a range of mint, rosemary, thyme (za’atar) and sage, and were then shown the correct way to plant the plant. They were told that in the future they could come back to visit and monitor the progress of their plant. This was one of the most successful components of the day.

During lunch, Anoud, one of the female Syrian seasonal workers, spoke to the audience. She used to live in Za’atari camp after fleeing Syria with her children, and now lives in Mafraq. She told us that she came to the project for seasonal work. She said that although she has previous experience in planting, she has never worked at this level of technicality. She told everyone that she’s very grateful for this opportunity to work with other women and hopes that this project will continue so that she can work more to benefit the community.

The guests left with teabags as a gift, and the children said goodbye to their plants. The day was a success, with the women in the project telling the Fund that it encouraged them to continue to be excited about the project, and they were very happy that they could share their work with their families and the community.