Petra National Trust

Jordan / Wadi Musa

Petra National Trust is a non-governmental (non-profit) organization, which aims to promote and coordinate Jordanian and international efforts to preserve the unique combination of antiquities, natural environment, and human traditions in Jordan, particularly the city of Petra, one of world heritage sites. PNT believes strongly that members of the local communities should participate in the decision-making process regarding the protection and preservation of their cultural heritage. PNT seeks to develop a new generation of leaders who are knowledgeable, creative, open-minded, engaged and able to protect and preserve one of Jordan’s most valuable resources: its heritage.

The Challenges

Some of the challenges faced by PNT are part of their mission itself: empowering youth in their communities and increasing their opportunities to engage in programs that strengthen their cultural and civilized heritage. They also aim to help them improve their creative skills, so that they can develop a source of income for the youth in the future and revitalize cultural practices associated with their cultural and historical identity, though this sometimes proves difficult. Further, traditional and handicrafts stand in the blown wind of decay, accompanied by a part of the cultural identity. Over the past several years and different ages, crafts have been a source of income for families and individuals, and inherited cultural heritage through generations. Today in the era of technology, traditional and handcrafts are engaged in a constant struggle for survival. Technology has replaced labor and large machines have replaced talented hands. This does not only pose a threat to these crafts, but also harms the inherited artistic heritage and cultural identity. It also limits the employment opportunities that may be the sole source of livelihood for many of our youth and families. Lastly, achieving the balance between economic/tourism development and preservation of the archaeological sites serves as another challenge.

Impact of work

These unique works have been produced by the youth of the local community, inspired by cultural heritage and the natural flora and fauna of Jordan, and associated with a long history fine art in the region: Sculpting. These arts empower young people and develop their entrepreneurial skills in business and arts, which contributes to finding and creating productive opportunities that help reduce the unemployment rate in the Petra region, and encourage them in the future to complete their education and training in these fields. Although these art pieces may have similar designs, each individual piece is unique, as they are designed with the ideas and hands of multi-talented youth from the local communities in Petra.

An Impact assessment of PNT’s EOA programs was commissioned by EUNIC Jordan on behalf of the European Union in April 2017. The evaluation has examined the four PNT projects targeting children and youth under the EOA programs and identified PNT’s EOA programs as the LARGEST and most sustainable program initiated by a Civil Society Organization at the Ma’an Governorate level. The study also noted that, and all project partners and donors on national and community levels agreed, that the programs methodology and content are unique to Jordan and possibly the region.