Voices from the Communities, Social Change with Rawabet Jordan

For the Ruwwad team, harnessing youth power was already central to their mission. Based in Jabal Al Natheef, a densely populated refugee camp, Ruwwad has been working for years to increase the capacity of the young people in the community through education and training. Working with Equitas on the Rawabet initiative was a great match, but, as echoed by other coordinators, despite their years of experience they still found ways to modify their operations to be more inclusive. Rawan, the coordinator for Ruwwad explains that Ruwwad has adopted the Human Rights Based Approach in all their missions and programs and not only for the initiatives they work on under Rawabet. The approach’s mission on including all perspectives has resonated deeply with this team.

Rania further explains that for Ruwwad, information is empowerment. For their initiative curbing child marriage, they do not try to pass value-based judgments. Their intervention focuses on providing the facts and information around child marriage, leaving the decision making to the people involved. This approach of providing information and exposure can be powerful – Rawan further cites the example of the career coaching workshops. At the beginning of these workshops, the girls that the workshops are designed for typically do not have specific goals or ambitions at the outset. But there is a clear difference at the conclusion of these workshops as they become aware of the different possibilities and options available to them – they have goals that they are excited about. It is this knowledge and goal setting that can be do so much in curbing the incidences of child marriage, compared to merely telling the community to stop the practice. In addition, being able to include community leaders such as Imams, government officials, school staff, as well as parents, has proved to be a winning approach – as this allows the community to hear from its own members.

Rawan credits the Rawabet initiative for pushing the boundaries of what technology can do. As a team they have gone beyond using social media platforms to just post updates and are consciously using it to launch campaigns, something that was not possible for them in earlier initiatives. It has been a great channel to question and challenge people in power directly, and this is inspiring for others to see. For the young people involved in the project, using tools like google sheets, video calling software etc, has increased their technical literacy, making them more suitable to the job market. Ruwwad plans on building on this momentum through a flagship graduation program – where the youth leaders involved in its initiatives will have the chance to incubate and lead their own initiatives through Ruwwad’s assistance. We are excited to see them, and our young champions succeed in these endeavors utilizing all they’ve learnt through participatory human rights-based approaches.