MEPI in Jordan
MEPI is advancing democratic values and reforms similar to those articulated in Jordan’s own National Agenda, which aims to implement political, economic, legal, and social reforms to make Jordan a knowledge economy with progressive laws and increased government transparency. Empowering civil society and ensuring the existence of a robust private sector are the lifeblood of vibrant democratic growth, and MEPI and the U.S. Embassy in Amman are together developing the capacity of civil society groups, women, political parties, and youth to engage more fully in civic life and the political process. MEPI also assists in efforts to reform the Jordanian judicial system to make the judiciary more independent, accountable, reliable, and transparent. MEPI local grants focus primarily on women’s empowerment, youth, new media, and entrepreneurship, consistent with ideas offered by President Obama in Cairo in June 2009.
Here are some of MEPI's recent projects in Jordan:
The Women in Technology (WIT) program, a MEPI-funded initiative that empowers women by expanding their participation in the workforce, is implemented in Jordan with Shabakat Al Ordon as lead partner. The program provides women in local communities with IT and professional development training and provides training in 'Business Planning for Sustainability' for managerial staff at partner organizations. WIT also establishes Professional Development Networks (PDN) with implementing partners to assist in women's professional, as well as personal, advancement and will also soon provide entrepreneurship training for women who want to start their own small businesses. To date, WIT has trained over 250 women in Jordan, and twelve civil society organizations (CSOs) in Jordan’s different governorates have successfully planted the seed of volunteerism in their institutions and throughout their regions thanks to the WIT program.
The Online Activism Institute was launched in Jordan in 2009 through a partnership with the Center for Liberty in the Middle East (CLIME), a U.S.- based non-governmental organization (NGO). The Jordanian program graduates are already putting the skills they learned to good use; one participant, a journalist, worked with her program mentor to create a special episode on a local TV news program, exposing the issue of corruption and polluted drinking water in Jordan. Her program drew high ratings and a record number of phone calls to the television station from concerned citizens. Empowered by her success, she is now the general manager of a Jordanian media training NGO.
Designed to identify, develop, and sustain a new core of business and civil society leaders in the Middle East and North Africa, the Middle East Entrepreneurship Training (MEET) project offers specialized, practical training in business-related topics such as management and marketing. The MEET project has already trained 25 future business leaders, nearly all of whom are women. Through the MEET project’s Democracy Advocacy Network, MEPI funds the Arab Initiative for an Equitable Public Budget, a coalition founded by MEET Jordanian alumna Noor Zada from Partners Jordan. The coalition is successfully engaging citizens in assessing local development needs in Jordan, setting spending priorities, and working with local governments to ensure that budget allocations are made in a transparent manner.
The Arab Foundation for Development and Citizenship (AFDC) received a small MEPI grant to implement a project that helped civil society organizations (CSOs) effectively utilize the media to build public support for their programs. The AFDC, in partnership with Media Voice Center, produced a professional, yet simplified, guide for CSOs from Amman and other governorates on how to craft media-oriented programs and how to best work with the media to effectively create public support for their activities. In 2009, AFDC conducted two workshops for 40 activists from 20 CSOs on how to use the guide and disseminated the guide electronically to a large number of CSOs.
In December 2009, the Citizen Radio Journalist Program launched a new youth program on Ammannet/Radio Al Balad that discusses youth news and views and is broadcast four times a week. The program was launched upon the conclusion of five training sessions for 60 Jordanian youth on how to produce and broadcast community-related news, including practice on writing and preparing news , learning about legislation pertaining to media, how to use audio equipment, and training on using other new media technical skills (i.e. blogging). The project advances the freedom of expression in Jordan and strengthens Jordanian youths’ participation in public policy debates by enabling them to develop and broadcast content on social, economic, political, and cultural issues from their own perspectives.
In March 2009, Al Urdun Al Jadid Research Center (UJRC) of Jordan held a Corporate Social Market Expo as part of their MEPI Local Grant project supporting corporate social responsibility (CSR). The Expo, attended by over 100 guests, marked the launch of a new national "Forum for Social Responsibility" in Jordan. The attendees represented major Jordanian businesses, international corporations doing business in Jordan, government entities, and civil society groups. Representatives from several large businesses spoke about their contributions in the field of CSR, and NGOs shared their experiences working with the private sector to serve the community, the poor, youth groups, the underprivileged, and students at schools and universities through scholarships and renovations of old schools.
In November 2009, two domestic violence centers were launched in Jordan as part of the MEPI-sponsored Public-Private Partnerships for Women’s Advancement program. Dozens of representatives from fifteen cross-sector agencies across Jordan – government ministries, NGOs and private sector firms – are working together to transform two existing organizations: Dar Al-Wefaq and the Queen Rania Family and Child Center. They will be the first centers in the Middle East to bring together all of the various public and private family and domestic violence services to improve coordination and integration and provide collaborative case management. Partners include the Jordanian Ministries of Health and Social Development, the Family Protection Directorate, the Jordan River Foundation, Mizan Law Firm, the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation, and the Women’s Union of Jordan. Each center will house public and private assistance providers (i.e. lawyers, doctors, psychologists) for victims of domestic violence.
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