An eco-learning center based on the Earth Charter in Jordan

The Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), an Earth Charter Affiliate from Jordan,  has a property in Al- Kafrain (50 donums), situated in close proximity to the Baptism site. Around that area there are mostly expensive four to five-starts hotels that prevent many Jordanians from enjoying the area. In addition, not many educational centers exist there, so, JOHUD is planning to develop an eco and/or agro tourism project, where people can not only enjoy the area but also learn about traditional agricultural and construction practices.

JOHUD is thinking of building an eco-friendly education center in this area, which will include research and accommodation facilities for agriculture or archeological research teams working in the valley, and a space to do training programmes. The local agricultural community can be linked with this project as well, which will benefit from the proximity to the Baptism Site and the Dead Sea Tourist Zone.

The main objective of this project is to develop a sustainable community-based model for an attractive eco/agro-tourism initiative in the Al- Kafrain area that promotes training and learning activities based on the Earth Charter principles. The project facilities and operation will be an education tool to learn about renewable technology, green buildings, permaculture, integrated water management, and socio-economic development.

It will be interesting to see how the Earth Charter can be put in practice in this area, to promote sustainable practices (in terms of agriculture, tourism, construction) through educational activities at a community level, and learn local practices that enhance the sustainability of the area.

Considering its location close to an important religious place (the Baptism site), it provides an opportunity to generate multicultural and interfaith learning processes to promote peace in the region.

One of the staff members of JOHUD, Muttasim Al-Hayari, attended the Earth Charter executive programme on education and values, offered in May 2013. This experience is helping him and his team to bring the Earth Charter principles as a foundation for this exciting project.