Archaeology into Business in Faynan

We are thrilled to share the news of a new CBRL partnership, the ‘Archaeology into Business in Faynan’ (ABIF) project. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the project will address local community needs to create a small business that will be owned and run by local Bedouin women, producing high quality, handicrafts drawn from local Bedouin heritage.  

Founded on a strong collaborative effort between the University of Reading,Future Pioneers for Empowering Communities (FPEC)and CBRL, the project aims to contribute to social cohesiveness, poverty alleviation, and gender equality among Bedouin women in southern Jordan. 

For some thirty years, CBRL and its predecessor in Jordan, the British Institute at Amman for Archaeology and History (BIAAH), has been involved in various archaeological and community projects in the Wadi Faynan area of southern Jordan. Over the years, CBRL has established strong relationships with the people of Faynan and Greigra, as well as a deep understanding around their culture, community, and heritage. Last year CBRL partnered again with Reading University on the ‘Our Past Our Future, All Together in Faynan’ (OPOF) project, funded by a Newton Khalidi AHRC award, that seeks contribute to Faynan heritage conservation, development, and knowledge sharing, and that led to the conception of the ABIF project. 

During the first community OPOF meeting in March 2019, the people of Faynan and Greigra expressed a strong desire to establish a source of sustainable income for the women of the community through the production of handicrafts

Handicrafts created by the women in Faynan

For many years, the people of Faynan and Greigra have explicitly expressed their need for a development project for the women that directly contributes to Faynan’s economic growth. The community at Faynan strongly identify and take pride in their Bedouin culture but lack a full appreciation of the importance of conserving the rich archaeological sites and findings nearby. ABIF aims to connect the rich heritage of Faynan and its Bedouin community with economic opportunity for the area.  

ABIF team with Sharifa Nofa Bint Nasser at Artisana craft store in Amman

Over the course of ABIF, the three collaborative bodies will work together with up to 25 women from all five Bedouin tribes in Faynan and Greigra to develop the ‘Faynan Heritage Women’s Cooperative of the Faynan and Greigra region’. The aim is to produce, market, and sell high-quality handicrafts inspired by the art discovered during the excavations at the Neolithic site ofWadi Faynan 16and using the women’s existing skills, with all rights reserved to the women themselves. Training programmes in handicraft design and production, in a range of business skills, including marketing, pricing and customer relations, will be delivered with a view to the development of a financially self-sustaining business at the completion of the project. 

Faynan has been receiving increasing numbers of visitors in recent years but lacks a venue to sell locally made handicrafts made by the women. Our aim as a team is to empower selected women to run their own businesswith the income generated from selling the products in Faynan and other outlets in Jordan and beyond going directly to the women. 

To learn more about our work in Faynan and follow future developments, you can find the link to the project’s website here. You can also stay connected on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for all the latest updates.