Sahara Forest Project, Al-Hussein Technical University sign collaboration agreement

Sahara Forest Project
(Photo: From Sahara Forest Project facebook page)
AMMAN — During an event on Thursday, at the Norwegian ambassador residence in Amman, The Sahara Forest Project (SFP) and Al-Hussein Technical University (HTU) signed a new collaboration agreement.اضافة اعلان

According to a press statement, the partnership aims to build upon the successful collaboration between SFP and HTU in implementing the pilot phase of the "Upskilling Program in Food Security and Agriculture Technology," which concluded in October. Both entities will renew their commitment to work together to anchor, expand, and sustain the program, which is the first of its kind in Jordan.  

The Upskilling Program in Food Security and Agricultural Technology aims to develop the skills and competencies of young Jordanian graduates interested in working in innovative and sustainable agri-tech and food production in response to Jordan's water, energy, and climate action priorities.

Ismail Al-Hinti, the president of HTU, highlighted the importance of such cooperation during the signing ceremony.

"This partnership with Sahara Forest Project, supported by the Norwegian government, is the momentum that paves the way towards innovation, entrepreneurship, development of agri-tech, and empowerment of ambitious young females, which are all considered an aim to HTU and a top priority to a country like Jordan," said Hinti.

Ruba Al Zubi, an SFP representative in Jordan, emphasized that the collaboration with HTU is a source of daily inspiration for everybody involved with the Sahara Forest Project, both in Jordan and in Norway.

"The transformation of the young ladies on a personal as well as a professional level is heartwarming and promising. The Sahara Forest Project is committed to including this program as one of its strategic pillars for the scale-up phase. We aspire to provide a real model for partnership that combines economic development and social impact," she said.

Norwegian Ambassador Espen Lindbaeck, who visited the SFP site in Aqaba along with stakeholders earlier this month, hosted the signing ceremony.
"During COP 26 earlier this month, world leaders emphasized the need to expedite climate action. In that spirit, I am very proud host this event with Al-Hussein Technical University and The Sahara Forest Project focusing on education of Jordanian youth, especially women, in sustainable climate-smart agriculture," Lindbaeck said.

Tayma Ayash, one of the program graduates, praised the training and experience.

"The SFP traineeship was a wonderful experience, it gave us a better understanding of climate-smart agriculture, food security, and agri-tech, and allowed us to grow professionally and put our skills and knowledge into practice. We need this type of program that empowers the female engineers in the MENA region," she said.

Building on a previously successful pilot
In its pilot phase between October 2020 – October 2021, 30 female engineers were targeted through the partnership between HTU and SFP in Aqaba.

The program intended to increase employment opportunities for the participants by focusing on the skills required in the labor market, such as specialized technical skills in the areas of climate-smart agriculture, English language, research, technical writing, and presentation/communication skills.

Experienced practitioners and specialists designed and delivered the training, and selected female leaders served as mentors to guide the trainees through their self-development and market entry journey.

The training was twofold; the theoretical aspect, which was provided on the campus of HTU in Amman, and the practical aspect, which was delivered at the SFP site in Aqaba through a series of field visits.

The initial tracking of the 30 graduates indicated that several of them managed to get into the market as interns or employees for public, private, and non-profit organizations. A few of them are pursuing their own community initiatives in the sustainability field.  

SFP facility in Aqaba, Jordan, was inaugurated by His Majesty King Abdullah and HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in 2017, following a three-year trial period.

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