“Our role is to pass correct information on to others”
ARDD has celebrated this week the final ceremony of the Community Leaders sessions, which are part of the Syrian Refugees Empowerment project (SREP), implemented in partnership with Tamkeen and supported by Open Society Foundation. This project works to train Community Facilitators to spread information and provide support to members of their host-communities. The trainings coincided with the UN recognized International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). On the second annual celebration of this day, UNESCO reminds the world of the importance of public access to information and the necessity to protect and uphold fundamental rights.
The training program shared this message. "We cannot find a solution, but if we work together, we can at least improve the situation. To do so, our role is to pass correct information on to others." These were the words Mr. Rami Quwader (a lawyer at ARDD) delivered to the 13 participants of ARDD's Syrian Refugees Empowerment Project (SREP) during training on education rights in Jordan, on 27 September 2017.
The group of Syrian refugees and members of Jordanian host-communities received technical and thematic training to build their capacities and legal knowledge, thus empowering and preparing them to act as Community Facilitators in Amman and Zarqa. Trainings included participatory and interactive exercises about working with vulnerable people, community mobilization, group facilitation, gender issues, data gathering and reporting skills, and challenges facing refugees.
Participants subsequently joined in specialized training from ARDD to enhance their understanding of the right to education and the legal framework governing the education sector. The participants began the workshop by sharing challenges faced in accessing quality education. This included the legal and policy framework governing the Jordanian education system, teachers' qualifications, limited transportation, violence in the classroom, rumors and lack of information about regulations, overcrowded classrooms, children who are out of school for three years, lack of psychosocial support and education counsellors, lack of communication and accountability, and the provision of positive learning environments.
Dr. Lina Darras, a clinical psychologist at ARDD and one of the trainers, commented, “It was wonderful to see how they were full of passion and started to realize the importance of their work. All of the participants had previous experience in serving their communities, which is an impressive sign of the progress in the Jordanian community and the renaissance taking place."
Sireen Abu Asbeh, a talented trainer who delivered several sessions also remarked, “Working with such an intelligent, diverse group demonstrated to me once again the great potential individuals have to make our community a better place. Their eagerness to learn and to engage in dialogues and conversations created the perfect safe space for everyone to share their opinions and increase their capacities. I believe the work that they will do as Community Facilitators will have a great impact on the individuals and groups mobilized for the project."
Many Syrian refugees and Jordanians are not aware of their rights, do not have access to the information, or are too scared to ask. Following the trainings, participants are prepared to overcome these barriers to quality education and work. Through group work, creativity, and skills building, the Community Facilitators are empowered to help foster a culture of accountability and awareness.