Who are RSCN and Wild Jordan
The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN) is a non-governmental organization, devoted to the conservation of Jordan's natural environment. Created in 1966 under the patronage of His Majesty the Late King Hussein, RSCN has been given responsibility by the Jordanian Government for protecting the country's wildlife and wild places.
Wild Jordan is the RSCN division, responsible for developing ecotourism, handicrafts and other nature related business that promote and sustain the Societyâ€™s nature conservation and socio-economic programs.
Pioneering a New Approach
RSCN has adapted a people-centered approach to protecting nature. Projects are developed using the natural assets of nature reserves to create economic and social benefits for local communities. Thriving eco-tourism operations have been established, bringing jobs to hundreds of people. Such ventures are making nature conservation important to the lives of local communities, and also provide alternatives to hunting, and over grazing which continue to pose threats to wildlife.
Helping Natureâ€¦ Helping People
RSCN has a program to help local communities benefit from the nature reserves on their doorstep through the creation of tourism services and of unique handicrafts.
RSCN introduced its revolutionary people-centered approach to protected area management in 1994 in the Dana Biosphere Reserve near Petra. Working directly with local village and Bedouin communities, income generating projects were created that use the Reserve's natural beauty and wildlife to generate employment opportunities and alterative livelihoods. These included small handicraft enterprises, like the famous ‘Dana Jewelry’, and a range of tourism facilities, including a campsite, guesthouse and eco-lodge. Such ventures continue to make nature conservation important to the lives of Dana residents and create a constituency of local support for the Reserve, which, in the past, was often a source of conflict with local people. Dana today is firmly on the ‘tourism map of Jordan’, attracting over 30,000 visitors a year; and it has won four international awards for sustainable development. Read the full Dana Story.
Inspired by the success of the Dana initiative, RSCN has been replicating the Dana approach in all its protected areas and in 2003 it created Wild Jordan as the ‘business arm’ to supervise and manage these socio-economic programs. Mixing the tools of business with a strong conservation philosophy, Wild Jordan develops innovative income generating programs that build on locally available skills and on the tourism potential of each protected area. As a result, visitors can now find unique nature crafts to purchase in Wild Jordan nature shops and enjoy a range of visitor facilities and tour programs that are constantly being developed; and all of them are proudly managed by local people. Wild Jordan has also opened an exciting Center in downtown Amman that sells and promotes all its crafts and tourism programs, including city walks. The Center is perched high above old Amman and has a well-known whole food café / restaurant with stunning views over the old city.
Wild Jordan is responsible for developing eco-tourism in RSCN’s protected areas and sees it as major tool for supporting the conservation of these areas. It works to the principles enshrined in the following definition of eco-tourism:
"Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of the local people." - The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
More specifically, Wild Jordan’s eco-tourism operations are bringing the following benefits for nature conservation:
Substantial income for biodiversity protection
Jobs and revenue for local communities, which create more support from local people for conservation and provide alternatives to ‘harmful’ land uses like grazing and hunting.
More support from decision makers, and the Jordanian population in general, who are able to see the tangible social and economic value of nature conservation
Part of the money you pay at each reserve goes to support the jobs of local people, while the rest is used to cover the conservation costs of the reserve.