What we've done
Aqaba Bird Observatory
Client: The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Project: The Aqaba Bird Observatory (ABO) is also one of the Jordan Integrated Ecosystem Management in the Jordan Rift Valley Project. It is protected for its significance of migratory birds and is a group of open ponds at the waste water treatment plant that attract hundreds of thousands of migratory birds every spring and autumn comprised of more than 350 different species. Baraka worked with the Aqaba Bird Observatory to define its potential tourism market segment and clientele, and redesign the experience to meet their needs.
Bicycle Donations to Benefit Rural Communities

Client: A&K Philanthropy, Wheels of Change

Project: The aim of this project was to benefit impoverished rural communities in Jordan through the donation of used bicycles, the building of cycle shops and support for tour guide and bike business training. A&K Philanthropy and Wheels of Change partnered with BARAKA to ship a large container of mountain bikes, spare parts, and tools to Jordan. Baraka worked closely with the beneficiary communities, investing in setting up the shops, conducting training, overseeing facilities, and handling the logistics of ground transport into and around Jordan. A total of 672 bicycles were donated and the bicycles have been distributed among various local initiatives from Um Qais in the north and near Petra in the south and many in between.

Bird-watching Guide Training Program
Project: Baraka developed and implemented a specialized and internationally certified bird-watching guide-training program, the first in the region. Designed to develop the bird watching sub niche of Ecotourism in Jordan devised a plan to bring back bird watching to Jordan as a source of income for tour operators, specialized guides, but most importantly as a conservation tool creating economic value to the preservation of the birds of Jordan. Baraka received a grant from USAID Jordan Tourism Development Program and fostered partnerships with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature and BirdLife International (BLI) to develop this specialized guide-training program and obtained international certification from BLI and local certification from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Children and Youth Film Centers

Client: Drosos Foundation

Project: Baraka was contracted by the Drosos Foundation to support The Royal Film Commission in the project implementation of, “Children and Youth Film Centers.” These film centers encourage local communities to express themselves through cinematic means and enhancing their filmmaking knowledge. Children and Youth are trained on drama, acting, screenwriting, and the art of filmmaking. Baraka supported the development of two business plans for running income generating film screenings in Petra and Wadi Rum and in the collection and presentation of additional business-relevant information for the selected business model for the film-screening activity.

Community Based Tourism In Um Qais

After consulting on dozens of tourism development projects, Baraka encountered many local communities desperately wanting to engage in the tourism sector, but they struggled to succeed, even with support from training programs and micro investments by development agencies. So, we set up Baraka Destinations, a social venture that develops clusters of community owned tourism businesses that then incubates these businesses in cooperation with local owners until the business is profitable. Once the businesses reach a certain stage in their development, the projects are transferred to the business owners, who now have a developed skill set and harnessed capabilities. The aim is to enable tourism entrepreneurs to build their own villages into vibrant tourism destinations.

Our pilot project, funded under a grant from USAID/LENS, is in Um Qais. We partnered with the local community to provide tourism products and experiences clustered to provide a full package for tourists. Our project directly benefits local communities in the Um Qais and Mukheibeh region by establishing stable channels of income from tourism, creating jobs, and reinstating a pride in a place that they call home.

Capitalizing on the success of Baraka Destinations in Um Qais, Baraka is setting up shop in Pella, located in the Jordan Valley. We have already opened a BnB and will be working on developing micro-businesses in Pella that provide income and create jobs for the local community and add to existing experience.

Dead Sea, Humret Main
Client: The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
Project: The RSCN under the Jordan Integrated Ecosystem Management in the Jordan Rift Valley Project worked with the Dead Sea Development Company to designate special conservation areas within the Dead Sea master plan. Baraka consulted with the RSCN and the Dead Sea Development Company to establish adventure and ecotourism products within the zoning plans of the Dead Sea area. Baraka designed tourism concepts that can generate revenue to finance conservation efforts.
Developing Homestays Along the Jordan Trail

Client: Airbnb Samara, Inc

Project: This project aimed at investing in local communities along the Jordan Trail, to support them in setting up and establishing homestays servicing hikers and creating a new source of income. Airbnb Samara Inc. collaborated with Baraka to implement a pilot project supporting the development of a homestay along the trail. To implement this project Baraka selected Iraq Al Amir as the site location and partnered with the Iraq Al Amir Women’s Association to host the homestay. The homestay is up and running and bookable on airbnb.com.

Feynan Ecolodge, Dana Biosphere Reserve

Client EcoHotels

Product: Baraka partnered with EcoHotels on community engagement and cultural preservation efforts. Through multidisciplinary programs, Baraka brings to light a deeper understanding and knowledge of the local culture and reflects this knowledge into the tourism experience as a means of empowering the local community. Services provided include creating and running a voluntourism program, traveler experience development, and marketing activities.

GIZ Environment and Climate Portfolio: Stakeholder’s Analysis

Client: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)

Project “The Protection of the environment and biodiversity in Jordan II,” focused its activities on environmental governance. The aim of the project was to increase the capacity of the Ministry of Environment for policy-making and management. Baraka supported GIZ in the implementation of this project by creating a baseline assessment undertaken to design the most efficient approach for project implementation. Baraka identified key stakeholders, classified them regarding their relationship significance, analyzed the attitudes of relevant actors toward the ministry, and finally provided recommendations on promising partners and effectiveness in achieving objectives. This lead to the development of a detailed and visualized stakeholder’s map that included names of key actors and partners showing thematic and operational interactions with GIZ.

Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan

Client: Tourism Cares

Project: Baraka supported Tourism Cares in defining and producing the Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan. The Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan is a simple construct: akin to “top 10 places to eat” or sites to see, this is a select list of social impact experiences for travellers that (1) are just special experiences and (2) help the community through a broader charitable program. Baraka identified 12 social enterprises that offer hands-on cultural experiences while benefiting their communities. The launch of the Meaningful Travel Map of Jordan has been commended as a powerful tool to attract tourists to spend their money on experiences, meals and services that generate income for communities that need it. It has been recommended by the New York Times among many other international publications as an example to follow for sustainable tourism.