SFP and HTU joint Training Programme
The world, and especially the Arab region, is facing intertwined challenges of food, water and energy security, coupled with climate change, desertification and shrinking forests. None of these challenges are insolvable. However, we cannot continue to pursue responses to one challenge at the expense of another – we need holistic, global solutions and to boost green jobs creation. Although water, energy, and food security are strictly correlated and risk being heavily affected by climate change, it is precisely this nexus that could provide many of the answers for sustainable development.
High unemployment rate is another major challenge in the Arab region, and for educated Jordanian women, alarmingly so. According to the Jordanian Department of Statistics 28.4 % of male bachelor degree graduates are without a job. The number rises to 80.1% for women. The Jordan Engineering association has further reported that unemployment among recent engineering graduates has reached 50%. Among female engineers this rate is even higher.
Aiming to combat this alarming unemployment phenomena, and simultaneously contribute to global water, energy, and food security, the Sahara Forest Project Foundation (SFP) and Al Hussein Technical University (HTU) have designed and completed the first stage of a comprehensive training program for young female engineers within the Water-Energy-Food Nexus.
The training programme
The overall goal of the training program is capacity building for unemployed female engineers in innovation and food production within the Water-Energy-Food nexus. The program aims to increase the employability chances for the participants through three main training components: technical skills, soft skills. and english. Theoretical aspects are covered at the HTU campus in Amman, and the practical component at SFP in Aqaba. To inspire the participants even further and with the aim of growing their professional network, Jordanian and/or international female mentors follow each training Group. During the course of the programme, each participants works on case studies representing real challenges for SFP and/or other relevant actors Finally, upon completion of the program, each participant presents their work to an expert panel.
The training programme has been covered in news outlets such as al-Monitor: In Jordan, female engineers lead the way in sustainable agriculture. and Jordan Times: Training launched to boost modern agricultural practices.
Solving interconnected global challenges and creating green job opportunities related to production of food, freshwater and clean energy is the main objective of the training. In-depth focus will thus be put on the following:
- The Water-Energy-Food nexus definition and boundaries.
- Emerging clean, climate-smart technologies within the nexus context.
- Cutting-edge agricultural technologies within the nexus context.
- Opportunities provided by different crops in realising outdoor desert revegetation.
- How to desalinate saltwater into freshwater.
- Learning and understanding by hands-on training at SFP how to use sun, saltwater, desert areas and CO2 to produce food, freshwater and clean energy.
The practical training includes horticulture production, desalination, irrigation systems, electricity control systems and outdoor vegetation. Each training group are able to follow the process from planting the very first seeds to the final harvest. The participants also get valuable business insight in the high-end professional agricultural industry both in Jordan and internationally.
Non-technical training includes understanding:
- How to raise awareness towards decision makers in industry, politics and media.
- The importance of sales and marketing of end products, as well as administrative rutines.
Partners and funders
Al Hussein Technical University (HTU) is our local partner in this programme. HTU was founded in 2016 as a private, non-profit applied technical education institute, and is located in Amman, Jordan. Upskilling programs for unemployed graduates of other Jordanian universities are among key strategic pillars for HTU, thus making them an ideal partner in this programme. The university uses an innovative collaboration model in which industry experts and business leaders are educators with curriculum aiming to equip students with specialised skills that match real market needs and bridge the gap with employers.
Finally, the programme would not be a reality without the generous support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Costa Crociere Foundation.