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Deloitte team gives back to Jordan.

Since 2006, Deloitte's USAID Jordan Economic Development Program team has been working steadily to create high value jobs and generate revenue, exports and investment in Jordan.

On June 9, around 35 expatriate and Jordanian project staff took a break from their project deliverables to give back to the country in a more

"hands-on" manner, observing Deloitte's "IMPACT Day" tradition.

IMPACT Day is Deloitte's annual event whereby thousands of employees worldwide participate in a community service project.

The team traveled to Irbid by bus, about 1 A' hours north of Jordan's capital Amman, and planted and watered more than 150 trees in the surrounding land of the Princess Basma Community Center.

"It was a wonderful day because we got exposed to some very important work in that community, which could be incorporated into some of the work we do.

Equally important was the feeling of cooperating with a community initiative," shared Public Sector Pillar Lead Jose Ceron.

The Princess Basma Center is located in an area with strong winds, which negatively impacts its agricultural land and newly planted seedlings and also the health of the community it serves due to excessive dust.

In addition to adding beauty to the landscape, planting trees in this area provides natural bumpers to the wind, which will protect the land as well as reduce the dust in the air.

In addition to the contribution Deloitte's IMPACT Day made to the Center and the community it serves, it also functioned as a valuable team-building activity.

Sameera Qadoura, the project's Public-Private Dialogue & Outreach Solution Lead, remarked, "It was a very good tool that inspired team work and linked what we're doing [in our project work] to grassroots and to communities in Jordan.

I liked itAafor people to know that we cared."

The Princess Basma Community Center is funded by the Jordan Hashemite Fund for Human Development and works to empower women, youth and children in underserved, poor and remote communities.

The Center hosts a multitude of services for these groups.

For example, women are trained in specialized skills (computer repair, beauty services, greenhouse maintenance, etc.) and may obtain grants or microloans to start businesses; female economic empowerment is limited outside of Jordan's capital, but the Center is making a real difference in this community.

Women are also able to access counseling and support services for domestic violence, legal issues, family planning, and others.

Seventy percent of the Jordanian population is under 30 years of age, and 30 percent of them are un- or under- employed.

The Center offers many services for youth, including job preparation and job matching activities, as well as focused training in computers and filmmaking.

The Center has founded a state-of-the-art filmmaking facility and an Internet center so that youth have opportunities to engage in and explore new topics in a community where little is offered.

Finally, the Center's child care center has been recognized as a national model of "learning through playing" by the Ministry of Education.

As the Center serves the community in which it is located, the newly planted trees will improve the whole area, including the climate and landscape, substantially.

Planting trees is an activity deeply rooted in official Jordanian celebrations.

Jordan observes Arbor Day in January each year with public celebrations that take officials outdoors to plant trees to increase the country's green assets.

Jordan however remains in dire need of more trees to limit desertification, improve the weather, and increase the green area in the country.

Furthermore, the Government has issued laws that prohibit the cutting of trees for logging purposes, emphasizing the need for planting more trees wherever and whenever possible

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Publication:The Star (Amman, Jordan)
Date:Jun 27, 2011
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