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Anera commits to humanitarian, development aid in support of refugees, vulnerable communities

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Mar 06,2023 - Last updated at Mar 06,2023

Founded in 1968, Anera is a non-governmental organisation that provides humanitarian and development aid to advance the well-being of refugees and other vulnerable communities in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan, according to its website (Photo courtesy of Anera Jordan)

AMMAN — Improving livelihoods through long-term and sustainable development plans is an integral part of the American Near East Refugee Aid foundation’s (Anera) humanitarian mission, according to its president.  

Founded in 1968, Anera is a non-governmental organisation that provides humanitarian and development aid to advance the well-being of refugees and other vulnerable communities in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan, according to its website. 

“Our work is focused on empowerment through capacity building and enabling communities to help themselves,” Anera President and CEO Sean Carroll told The Jordan Times in a recent interview. 

For example, during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon, graduates of Anera’s sewing and embroidery classes made around 1.9 million cloth masks, he said. 




Anera has resumed its operations in Jordan in 2019 by reengaging with its medical donations programme, according to its CEO. 

He noted that Anera delivers between 70 and 100 million dollars worth of medicines and medical supplies in Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan. 

Supported by a network of donors based in the US, the UK, Canada and the region, the NGO works on providing high quality medicines and medical supplies, which are administered to targeted communities, according to Anera’s representative in Jordan Carina Aoun.

She noted that this is achieved through local health partners, including the Jordan National Red Crescent Society, Arabian Medical Relief (AMR) Society, the Jordan Medical aid for Palestinians (MAP JORDAN), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East  and the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation (JHCO).

Anera also focuses on capacity building through training health personnel and rehabilitating medical spaces to increase the efficiency of provided services, she told The Jordan Times. 

For example, “we are working on rehabilitating the infrastructure of clinics in refugee camps by, for example, installing elevators to make them more accessible for persons with disabilities and mobility challenges or elderly people,” she added. 

Carroll also stressed that Anera’s work is sustained through forming partnerships and cooperating with humanitarian actors, who are committed to helping those in need. 




Anera implemented an agricultural project, which involves building community and rooftop gardens allowing families to grow their own organic produce, which they can either sell to make an income or use for home cooking, Aoun noted. 

“Now we are working with Durrat Almanal for Development and Training to build 50 rooftop gardens in Marka, following a cost effective green mechanism that relies on using recyclable material,” she said. 

The project also involves rehabilitating six rooftop gardens and establishing one community garden in a women’s cooperative, Aoun added. 

Anera also provides a comprehensive training programme for women on the best farming and agricultural practices in addition to focus group discussions that help create a sense of “community”, she continued. 

Carroll noted that this project highlights Anera’s approach focused on the nexus between water, energy and food security, which is “at the heart of sustainable development goals”. 

Aoun noted that the majority of the women targeted in the Marka or Hitten refugee camp came from farms, so this “small scale solution”, which provides access to green spaces, is “a very nostalgic experience that offers these women a vital breathing space”. 




Aoun said that Anera is implementing an after-school educational programme in Amman for young refugees and vulnerable Jordanians by providing them with laptops preloaded with enrichment materials to help close learning gaps and accelerate their digital skills.

The project, which currently targets 300 students, is a partnership with “Thaki” that is implemented through the East Amman Charity at UNICEF’s Makani centre, she added. 

Carroll said that education, which “has the power to transform lives”, is one of Anera’s main priorities.

“Research shows that you get about a seven-fold return on investment in early childhood development,” he added, noted the foundation’s commitment to supporting Jordan’s efforts in universalising early childhood education.  

According to Aoun, Anera is part of the National Early Childhood Development Team lead by the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA). 

She noted that an assessment conducted by this team found that there’s a need for roughly 44,000 pre-schools in Jordan, including 16,000 in the capital only.

“There’s an urgent need to provide young children with access to these educational spaces, the lack of which creates barriers to the economic participation of women, who take on the larger share of childcare responsibilities,” said Aoun. 

She added that addressing this issue enables women to be active agents in society, while also allowing them to thrive as mothers and meet their caregiving responsibilities.

She stressed that Anera hopes to provide the government with the required support to further its early childhood development plan by rehabilitating existing spaces and equipping teachers with the needed pedagogical skills. 


Economic livelihood


Aoun said that Anera “takes pride in being an organisation that mainstreams gender equality in its development programs and initiatives”, which align with Jordan’s national development plans. 

She added that the foundation’s future plans in the Kingdom involve launching an employment programme that is designed to fit the needs of the Jordanian market and address educational gaps, including vocational and job placement tracks that particularly target women.  

Carroll pointed out that with the increase of technology and IT jobs worldwide, Anera’s programme aims to focus on career acceleration through helping youth develop digital and employability skills. 

Anera also aims to complement its humanitarian mission by attracting impact investments that “utilise capital for social good” by creating jobs and opportunities for refugees and other vulnerable communities in Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine, according to Carroll. 


Earthquake response 


Anera’s ongoing response to the earthquake in Syria is focused on providing commonly used medicines and medical supplies, said Aoun. 

She noted that the foundation is working with the JHCO, “Arena’s longstanding partner”, to bring in shipments to Jordan and dispatch them to Syria, where its local partners there will help deliver them to affected communities. 

Arena’s CEO commended Jordan’s “marked success” in integrating refugees, noting that approximately 80 per cent of Syrian refugees in Jordan are living outside refugee camps in host communities with Jordanians. 

Aoun said that this is due to Jordan’s coordination with international organisations, ensuring an organised response plan and preventing the duplication of services. 

However, there remain challenges to be addressed as Jordan has a rapidly growing population, which is placing additional pressure on its limited resources, she added. 

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