Low Tech Humanitarian Upcyling for Refugee Women in Northern Jordan
Field Ready has been working with Action Aid to empower a groups of Syrian refugee women. We taught them different up-cycling techniques to best serve their needs. We worked with around 40 women whom reside in Mafraq, in northern Jordan. Their ages range from 18 to over 60 years old.
The project strives to illustrate that sustainable development involves the target community to become the change makers of their problems, using freely available recyclable resources. We hope to change the way communities view waste, and show that you can create useful items from recycled materials. Given the high levels of pollution in Jordan, this is an ideal context for this approach.
In order to determine the community needs, we conducted interviews to establish what items they could use. Many women expressed concern with the foul smell in their kitchens, which not only attracts cockroaches. Current cookstoves expose users to extreme smoke inhalation. In order to combat this problem, we provided the women with second hand metal sheets that have small holes and metal wire sheets. These were combined to produce a cookstove cover that catches the smoke and pollution and is also easily cleanable.
Another problem the community faced were insects and rodents attributed from the dirty standing water and pot holes, as well as no adequate trash disposal. We taught the women how to make traps using self made insecticides and recycable materials which worked successfully to catch pests. Another item we created using recycled bottles and a salt rock were air dehumidifiers to also help with the smell and address mold in the kitchen.
The UN estimates that 20% of all refugees in Mufraq are food insecure, thus we taught the community how to make vertical gardens so they could grow fresh produce themsleves out of plastic bottles. Some of the crops grown were chillies, onions and herbs. We expect that when we install vertical gardens during the spring time more crops will be grown with a higher yield.
While we were only able to address some of the problems the women in Mufraq experience, the solutions we collaboratively developed have worked to mitigate some of the issues. With more education and a hands-on approach, we believe that upcycling will be more widely adopted and help people lacking basic necessities in Jordan and beyond. To do so, we are currently working with the FAB Lab in Irbid to built furniture with the woman in accordance to their needs.