Capacity-building workshops and productive equipment on good practices related to agriculture, food processing and marketing, small-scale renewable energy technologies, and water-energy-food (WEF) nexus applications in rural areas of Jordan and Tunisia.
The Regional Initiative for Promoting Small-Scale Renewable Energy Applications in Rural Areas of the Arab Region, also known as “REGEND”, is a project that aims to improve the livelihoods of rural Arab communities by promoting pro-poor investments in environmentally adequate and affordable renewable energy (RE) applications. Within the framework of REGEND, 13 capacity-building workshops, 6 in Jordan and 7 in Tunisia, were designed and successfully organized based on the findings of the assessment reports and the recommendations of the national meetings/workshops organized by REGEND. The workshops’ beneficiaries consisted of rural men and women from the communities where REGEND is active
Capacity building, as a key pillar of REGEND, used an integrated approach in addressing the rural context and creating a business model that uses energy as an enabler. Hence, the workshops aimed to improve the knowledge and enhance the skills of rural communities in Jordan and Tunisia, especially women, to help them grow and improve their economic activities and hence their livelihoods while using RE, energy efficiency, and project-donated productive equipment (PE) as enablers. The workshops used a simplified scientific and distinctive approach integrating lectures, exercises, and practical training. The topics covered, boasting strong diversity and interlinkages among various SDGs, included good practices related to agriculture, food processing, packaging, labeling, and marketing, small-scale RE technologies and WEF nexus applications.
The design of the workshops and the selection of the pertinent topics to be covered and the donated PE ensured that a variety of SDGs were addressed especially since the WEF nexus and gender equality were fundamental pillars of REGEND. SDGs 2, 6, 7, and 13 were directly addressed through the scientific topics covered, the knowledge and skills gained, and the PE trained on and used while SDGs 1, 5, 8, and 12 were addressed in a cross-cutting manner and as an all-encompassing resulting impact of the entire scope of the workshops.
The workshops were planned and designed based on the findings of the assessment reports and the recommendations of the meetings/workshops organized by REGEND in Jordan and Tunisia. Furthermore, a good portion of the training materials developed and prepared were based on and used various ESCWA knowledge products as references. REGEND’s partners and stakeholders, consisting of national institutions, organizations and local facilitating teams established by REGEND, were also involved in the consultation phase and the procurement of the PE. The planning and design phases were then culminated in the definition of the following topics to be covered: Al-Achaari and Batir, Jordan: Good agriculture practices for enhanced energy sustainability. Good food manufacturing and hygiene practices and requirements for food storage. Good food labeling, packaging, and marketing practices. Chorbane, Tunisia: Improving the performance and efficiency of rural women agricultural development groups. Good practices on the use of small-scale RE for rural development. Marketing techniques for rural women's products. Distillation and valorization of materials extracted from medicinal and aromatic plants. Improving the yield and quality of fruit tree plantings and adopting water-saving irrigation techniques and RE technologies for pumping, irrigation, and water desalination. Good practices on packaging, customized trademarks adoption, and labeling of local products. The workshops were organized and the PE were procured by collaborating with the aforementioned partners and stakeholders including various subject-matter experts who delivered the theoretical and practical trainings which were held on site at the organizations and in the field where the beneficiaries already work collectively.
The workshops and the wealth of learning experience they provided by integrating lectures, exercises, and practical training in the field enabled the 30 and 71 trainees in Jordan and Tunisia, respectively, to build their scientific and technical capacities, to start putting them to use in their daily activities thanks to the donated PE, and to share the knowledge and skills acquired with their constituencies. In fact, thanks to the very positive outcome and praise of the workshops organized in Jordan which propagated thanks to word of mouth and social media, 30 additional women from 10 new neighbouring organizations were trained afterwards by REGEND’s partners. Moreover, the workshops helped ease some of the social norms prevalent in rural areas where men experts were able to mentor women trainees and even show them that men can work on food in the kitchen. This harmony in gender collaboration advanced by REGEND was praised by all the women participants and their significant others.
The integrated and participative approach employed during the planning, design, and implementation phases of the workshops ensured that the selected topics and PE matched the needs of the beneficiaries on the ground while taking into account and addressing all the local constraints related to gender and social norms. In addition, the inclusion of lengthy and detailed hands-on training sessions, be it in the classroom or in the agricultural fields, enabled the trainees to efficiently absorb and retain all the new knowledge acquired given their limited educational backgrounds and to be able to comfortably practice it enough under supervision
Prior to the organization of the workshops, training manuals, presentations, and tutorials were developed to document all the topics that will be covered. These knowledge products are now available on ESCWA’s website and will also get disseminated throughout the rural communities so that they can be used in future trainings. The workshops were also complemented by the donation of PE by REGEND to its beneficiaries so that they can use them to further optimize their operations and apply their newly acquired knowledge. Testimony from beneficiaries indicated “how they developed innovative ideas to improve the quality of their life”. This is also a testament to the REGEND’s philosophy of promoting integrated business models based on the transfer of sustainable know-how rather than relying on the short-lived handout model. ESCWA remains committed to exploring modalities to replicate the model and upscale the project so that it can be mainstreamed into national and regional development plans.
Due to the lack of or poor IT infrastructure and equipment in the targeted rural areas, it was not possible to organize the workshops remotely and hence they were held in person. Difficulties were therefore faced in moving to and from the areas as well in organizing the workshops. As a result, formal communication and coordination were established with the concerned government agencies to obtain the approvals needed to organize the workshops and to facilitate the movement of all those involved while abiding by the applicable health and safety measures. Moreover, COVID19 personal protective equipment were made available by REGEND and used during the workshops. Similar challenges were faced in the procurement and delivery of the PE and they were resolved through the local facilitating teams.
SDGS & Targets
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Deliverables & Timeline
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The capacity-building workshops and the donation of productive equipment took place in 2 rural areas in Jordan, namely Al-Achaari in Maan and Batir in Al-Karak and in 1 rural area in Tunisia, namely Chorbane in Mahdia.