Refugees and Migration: the Netherlands and Jordan

Supporting Jordan in coping with the Syrian Crisis.

Job Creation

The “Hydroponic agriculture” project started in November 2016 at Mafraq governorate in Jordan, to help the governorate in managing the huge suffer and pressure that happened after the Syrian crisis.

The Goals of this project are creating employment opportunities for 600 Syrian refugees and Jordanians in the agricultural sector, and providing 15 grants for community based organizations to men and women in community and household farming.

Also the project aims to strengthen the Jordanian agricultural sector by improving existing greenhouses and post-harvest facilities, providing workshops and training on hydroponic production and value chains, and contributing to research and advisory services in the country.

What is the issue at hand?

Jordan suffers from lack of employment opportunities for Jordanians and Syrians in productive sectors, such as agriculture. This problem is increased by the influx of the Syrian refugees due to the crises in the region, and the sluggish economic growth due to the regional situation. The current methods of agriculture that are used are not sustainable or efficient and drain the country water resources. Introduction of new agricultural technologies can provide a higher production , better quality products and more jobs.   This will make it possible for, Jordanian horticulture products  to compete in a market which requires high quality products and improved value chain systems for its production and delivery.

How do we contribute to a solution?

ECOconsult, in collaboration with Jordanian and Dutch partners, aims to create job opportunities for Syrian refugees and Jordanians in the agriculture sector, by building on the existing farming techniques and systems. By building the capacities of the people that are already involved in the sector, new opportunities and products can be created by working with the strength each partner in the consortium has to offer. The project aims to improve food security, sharpen the technical skills of Jordanians and Syrians, create partnerships among Dutch and Jordanian businesses, develop and disseminate knowledge on new systems and technologies that are more sustainable, and provide additional sources of income for people in Jordan, especially for women and youth.

“Improve employment opportunities in Jordan” project has started in December 2016, and toke his place in Irbid, Mafraq, Zarqa and Amman in Jordan, in cooperation with Stichting SPARK, together with Jordanian educational, entrepreneurial and financial partners.

The Goal of the project are creating jobs for Syrian, Palestinian and Jordanian youth through supporting existing small businesses (50%) and start-ups (50%), and improving education on entrepreneurship and introduce mandatory internships in higher education institutions.

Also the project aims to technically prepare and motivate young Syrians, Palestinians and Jordanians for an active role in the future reconstruction of Syria.

What is the issue at hand?

In Jordan, youth from all different segments in society face limited opportunities to join the work force as well as exclusion from educational opportunities. Syrian and Palestinian youth face exclusion from professional and higher education, because the costs are too high, or they do not always have the required documents to be accepted to schools and universities. This makes them ill-prepared for the Jordan labor market as well as for the future reconstruction of the region. At the same time, opportunities for Jordanian youth are also limited. Unemployment amongst Jordanians is highest among youth (almost 29%), and for families that are poor, higher education is unaffordable. Furthermore, the quality and relevance of the education which youth receive is not properly preparing them for the job market. Technical training or education on entrepreneurship lacks in quality, even though there is the possibility to create many opportunities for youths from all backgrounds in these fields.

How do we contribute to a solution?

Youth is the backbone of each society. Therefore the government of the Netherlands actively stimulates entrepreneurship and education for youth in Jordan. Through SPARK, we will support youth in the following ways. First, in cooperation with educational, entrepreneurial and financial partners, SPARK will provide business support services to aspiring entrepreneurs and existing small business owners through business training and coaching. Second, this project will focus on entrepreneurship at schools and universities, by introducing and improving the quality of entrepreneurship courses and an internship program. Third, the project will help improve the skill sets of Syrian, Palestinian and Jordanian youth through a scholarship program and practice-oriented training program. By improving the access to education and job opportunities, youth in Jordan are better prepared to enter the work force.

Safety and Security

The “Policing in Host Communities” project started in December 2016 at Mafraq governorate /Jordan, in partnership with the British Embassy Policing Support Team (Siren Associates).

The Goals of the project are supporting community police forces in areas where large numbers of refugees live in host communities, and making people feel safe and included in their community.

The project aims to establish trust between Syrian and Jordanian communities and the community police too.

What is the issue at hand?

In Jordan, the majority of refugees do not live inside refugee camps, but in what we call “host communities”. These communities are now hosting  large numbers  of Syrian refugees and this puts pressure on the demand for resources and basic services, especially in areas that were poor to begin with. This is of particular concern in Mafraq, where since the start of the crisis in Syria the population has grown from 80.000 to over 200.000 inhabitants. Competition for resources, jobs  and services , such as education and health, has led to inter-communal tensions such as bullying, harassment and distrust between Syrian and Jordanian communities.

How do we contribute to a solution?

Siren Associates, through funding of the Dutch government, supports community policing projects in areas where tensions between different communities have arisen. Their goal is to establish a level of trust between vulnerable communities, both Syrian and Jordanian, and the authorities, so they can reach out to each other in case there is an issue. The presence of a trusted community police force can lessen tensions between refugee and host communities through proactive problem-solving. While establishing an engaged community, and by making sure the community has access to education and opportunities, this in turn can lower the risk of radicalization towards violent extremism for at-risk individuals.


The (Catch-up Classes) is a 2 years program to support the government of Jordan to realize the Jordan compact commitments of integration of Syrian refugees into educational proses, in cooperation with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Jordan.

The goal of the project is returning 7.777 Syrian and Jordanian boys and girls who have been out of school for a maximum of 3 years to attend classes that allows them to catch up to the Jordanian school curriculum, also providing a safe learning environment for children to grow.

What is the issue at hand?

The last 6 years Jordan has had to cope with a large number of refugees coming in to the country. Of the total number of current refugees, about 226.000 are children, of which 81.000 are estimated to be out of school. These children are out of school because they were, for instance, fleeing the conflict, because Jordanian schools could no longer take them in, or because of financial issues. This issue is not only limited to Syrian children; Jordan houses many other refugee communities from previous conflicts in the region, as well as that poor Jordanian children might also not have had access to school. When children are out of school for more than three years, they are no longer allowed to attend classes, as they are unable to catch up with their classmates. What is additionally difficult in Jordan is that schools are already overcrowded and that teachers find it difficult to keep class sizes small. Solutions such as working with a double shift system (having both a morning and an afternoon class on the same topics) have not proven to be sufficient to be able to accommodate all children and provide them with the attention they need. In normal circumstances, schools are expected to provide children with a safe living and learning environment where they can develop and grow in a structured and stable way.

How do we contribute to a solution?

The Netherlands wants to ensure that all children have access to education Therefore, the Netherlands supports UNICEF’S catch-up classes program, which is especially targeted at children who have not been able to go to school for up to a maximum of 3 years. These catch-up classes are aimed to bring back children in the existing Jordanian school system. In total 25.000 children will participate in these classes, of which at least 12.500 children will be able to catch up to the Jordanian curriculum per year. The Netherlands will fund 7.777 children. Through this project we want children from the Syrian refugee community, as well as children from other communities, to be able to learn in a safe and stable environment and shape their future.

The project of "maintaining the provision of emergency education for Palestine refugees from Syria in Jordan" started in December 2016 in the Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, in cooperation with UNRWA.

The project aims to involve 1396 children, including Palestinian refugee children from Syria and Syrian children, in attending classes at UNRWA schools, and to provide a safe learning environment for children to grow by providing new school supplies, furniture and building maintenance of 80 UNRWA school buildings.

What is the issue at hand?

Palestine refugees from Syria (PRS) in Jordan do not qualify for the same UN or governmental support as other refugees, because of their Palestinian refugee status. Therefore, they fall under the mandate of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. This means that children cannot attend public schools in Jordan, but have to attend schools that are funded by UNRWA. However, many of these school buildings are in dire need of maintenance work in order to be able to educate the children in a safe environment. In addition, the schools need new furniture, school supplies, equipment and salaries for qualified teachers, so that all children are able to attend classes.

How do we contribute to a solution?

The Netherlands is committed to the global goal to ensure that all children in the world can go to school, regardless of their background. For the 2016 – 2017 school year, the entire costs of operating the UNRWA schools that educate PRS and Syrian children in Jordan is covered by the contribution of the Dutch government.  From this contribution, the salaries of 107 teachers who teach 1396 students are paid. These students include both PRS children and Syrian children living in Palestinian refugee camps. In addition, the contribution covers the costs to support the maintenance of 80 school buildings, the purchase of furniture, equipment and school supplies. Through this program, the Netherlands helps UNRWA to deliver education to children, who are excluded from other educational systems, in a safe, secure and inclusive environment.

Humanitarian Assistance

The Netherlands wants people in need, be it refugees, internally displaced people or vulnerable host communities, to receive the help they require to survive and rebuild their lives as fast as possible.

Emergency assistance in Jordan

The Netherlands does not provide direct assistance to the people in need. Instead, money is donated to professional aid organisations like the United Nations (UN), the International Red Cross and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). These aid organisations use the money for life-saving operations to the most vulnerable people in need. Often, they have been working in Jordan and other countries in the region for some time. This experience allows them to act fast, provide the right aid and make sure this is done in coordination with the government of Jordan. A lot of emergency aid is coordinated by the government in cooperation with the UN, so that the aid matches local needs. This also prevents aid organisations getting in each other’s way.

The principles of emergency aid

The Netherlands follows four principles for providing humanitarian aid: humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality. By following these principles, the aid is given to the people who need it most. It also means that anyone in need can receive aid, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or political beliefs.

Beyond the emergency

The Netherlands wants people in need to get the aid they require as fast as possible. Providing immediate emergency aid is therefore an important aim of Dutch humanitarian policy. However, with humanitarian assistance alone it is challenging to create sustainable solutions. The Netherlands therefore focuses also on improving hosting capacities in the region for durable hosting of refugees. In addition, The Netherlands aims to improve the humanitarian aid system using good ideas or new inventions, so that more people can be helped with the same amount of money.