Operator certification is new in Jordan and the Middle East and North Africa region. In addition to the testing and training frequently associated with certification worldwide, certification programs require a solid and legally recognized regulatory basis that empowers the program and enables effective enforcement.
Since 2008, the USAID Operations and Maintenance project team (OMT) has been instrumental in working with counterparts and stakeholders in the creation of an interim board for the Jordan operator certification program — known as the water/wastewater sector support team. This team worked with OMT experts to develop a certification scheme based on U.S. models and adapted for the conditions in Jordan, a detailed policy framework and an efficient institutional structure.
While OMT was assisting the team in preparing the regulatory basis for the water operators certification program, intensive awareness-building activities were conducted to foster consensus for the program among key decision-makers.
In May 2011, key approvals were secured, clearly demonstrating the commitment of the water sector and government to support the establishment of the water operators certification program:
- The final version of the policy framework was approved by the water/wastewater sector support team.
- The water operators certification program was adopted as a model for use by other sectors by the Employment – technical Vocational Education (E-TVET) Council/Ministry of Labor
- An instruction was issued by the Water Authority of Jordan mandating sector-wide compliance with the requirements of the Jordan water operators certification program.
In May 2011, the secretary general of the Water Authority of Jordan issued a binding instruction making compliance with the requirements of the Jordan water operators certification program mandatory as specified below. It said that all municipal, industrial, and private water and wastewater treatment plants and networks must be operated by people with qualifications and certificates specified by the Jordan water/wastewater operator certification program.