(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Jordanian Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Ibrahim Saif, U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Stuart Jones, and USAID Acting Mission Director Douglas Ball, have signed a five-year 140 million agreement aiming at supporting citizen engagement and participation, and civil society across the Kingdom.
The total sum will also help local governments rapidly identify and address community needs by establishing mechanisms that will bring citizens and their elected officials together to identify, prioritize and then fund small but necessary projects to improve their communities. At the signing ceremony held here earlier Thursday ,ambassador Jones observed that, "small investments can have a huge impact on entire communities."
He further noted that under the same program there would be larger grants in the future to Jordanian organizations that are best placed to understand the needs of local communities. "I am proud that our partnership with the Government of Jordan and the people of Jordan has improved Jordanians' lives," he concluded. While in Irbid, the Ambassador also visited two of the twelve recently completed development projects in Irbid governorate that were part of USAID Community Engagement Project (CEP).
The project, implemented by Global Communities, awards rapid grants to community based organizations (CBOs) to achieve quick results in responding to local priorities. Projects in Irbid varied from maintenance and enhancements of roads, schools, healthcare centers and parks, to the creation of soccer fields for local youth, lighting installations, and clean-up campaigns.
The awards in Irbid were part of a total of 29 rapid impact grants awarded by USAID CEP to community organizations in Mafraq, Irbid and Tafileh in 2013 totaling approximately 300,000. U.S. and Jordanian officials toured the Al Seeleh Healthcare Center located in New Yarmouk, where one such rapid grant helped to upgrade and furnish the center with new equipment including an ultrasound machine. The group also visited Abu Alloqous Primary School for Girls, where a grant to the Abu Alloqous Charitable Society improved the educational environment for students.