Jordan, June 2021 -  UN-Habitat Jordan, in partnership with the Department of Palestinian Affairs (DPA), held two introductory workshops in Souf camp and Al-Shahid (Husn) camp. The workshops aimed to introduce the project “Enhancing the Safety and Resilience of Palestinian Refugees Through Improving Access to Water and Sanitation Facilities in Public Spaces”, initiate discussion on conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic and launch the Public Space Site-Specific Assessments.

The project is funded by the UN-Habitat Global Public Space Programme and follows its participatory Public Space Site-Specific Assessment tool, which provides guidance on achieving quality public spaces at the neighbourhood level.

Workshop participants included members of the camps’ services committees, directors of the DPA office (from Jerash and Irbid governorate) and camp engineers. They discussed challenges during COVID-19, required improvements and maintenance including to the public toilets and the need for awareness campaigns to ensure compliance with COVID-19 mitigation measures and community maintenance.

The UN-Habitat team conducted an exploratory walk with the participants around the camps’ public spaces to explore the neighbourhood together.

“Through improving access to these facilities in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, they will be considered as catalysts to strengthen urban resilience as well as the health and safety of those living in the camps,” said Deema Abu Thiab, UN-Habitat’s Programme Coordinator. “These facilities are vital in ensuring the safety of refugees and workers living in the camps.”

The project aims to improve access to sanitation for refugees in the Palestinian refugee camps to reduce the risk of infection across refugee population and enhance their safety and resilience during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The Public Space Site-Specific Assessments will allow UN-Habitat to understand the quality of public spaces and influence, through a participatory process, future projects at the sites. The project is expected to reach nearly 50,000 Palestinian refugees.