In early 2019 a group of fifteen women and one gentleman from different fields and interests got together because they had one goal in common: To find an action plan for a cleaner Jordan.
The issue with random dumping and accumulation of litter had become unbearable to all. Our country’s neighborhoods and streets were littered with garbage. Jordan’s tourist, archeological, and natural sites, as well as the roads leading up to them, had become the bane of our country. Tourists’ complaints and negative observations came pouring in. We could no longer explain to visitors from abroad why our streets and sites were strewn with garbage. We knew we could not stand idly by as this blight negatively impacted our environment, economy, society, and our tourism sector, so we decided to move forward with a plan.
During our first meetings, we chose Himmeh w Lammeh, which loosely translates to “A Gathering with a Cause”, as the initiative’s name because we wanted to highlight the importance of working together to accomplish big projects. Soon after, a media plan for the campaign and an integrated action plan that ensured the participation of the public and private sectors were drawn up, and we chose roles that best suited our individual strengths and experience. Himmeh w Lammeh then needed an entity with clout to operate under, and the Jordan Inbound Tourism Association (JITOA) was the perfect fit. JITOA is a voluntary, non-profit business association that works to raise the level of the tourism sector in general, and incoming tourism in particular, and is concerned with improving the level of tourism services in Jordan through improving the tourism business environment, marketing, capacity building and training, and supporting and promoting corporate social responsibility.
Himmeh w Lammeh also partnered with the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), which is one of the main organizations concerned with preserving a sustainable natural environment in the Kingdom, and it is represented by a permanent member in our team.
Himmeh w Lammeh’s first project was a clean-up day. Our aim was to gather volunteers from around Jordan in over 52 tourism and nature sites to help clean-up our beloved country. We involved both civil society and the private sector and gathered supporters from all over the country and ignited the fuse of community awareness. We chose September 28, 2019, as Clean-up Day, since it coincided with both World Tourism Day and World Cleanliness Day.
On Clean-up Day more than thirty thousand volunteers from all regions on the kingdom, including institutions and companies came out in force to participate. 340,000 tons of litter was collected on that one day and it was a great success for us all and an empowering first step for Himmeh w Lammeh. Shortly afterwards, Covid hit and even though we did not have clean-up days, we have worked tirelessly in different avenues to fulfil our goal for a cleaner Jordan.