Mafraq women participate in dialogue session to identify obstacles in their community
ARDD held on Thursday August 30, 2018, a dialogue session for 27 Jordanian and Syrian refugee women from Mafraq, as part of the Women’s Peace Humanitarian Fund-funded project “Women Peace and Security – Empowering Syrian Refugee and Jordanian Host Community Women to Actively Engage in Humanitarian and Conflict Management Processes”, a unique project in Jordan that focuses on peace transformation from a woman’s perspective.
The activity, the second to be organized after a similar one was conducted in Irbid last month, provided the women with a space to discuss needs and problems in the community, in both the private and public sphere, levels of and barriers towards civic engagement, as well as approaches to conflict resolution.
Among the session’s findings was the presence of a hierarchical structure for reporting community issues – the woman would report to her husband who then reported to an elected official in the municipality.
However, interestingly, despite the international development sector’s labeling of such women as ‘disempowered’, the women participating in the session did not feel that they lacked power in any sphere of their life, but some of them exhibited lack of confidence in regards to assuming leadership roles.
The main issues the women reported to find in their communities were the poor quality of education for children and the lack of jobs available for women, reporting on the other hand of strong social cohesion in their community, which is host to a large number of Syrian refugees.
The session was an opportunity as well to benefit from the women’s perspective in identifying the issues the community sees it is facing in order to incorporate them in designing a conflict management training, practical and suitable for the women.
The project “Women, Peace and Security” is an agent for social change as it encourages the inclusion of women in peace and security. Many women lack the necessary information to ensure their own protection but they do not lack the capability nor the motivation to be active participants in improving the conditions under which they and their families live. Fostering gender equality, dialogue and active participation, the project has the potential to benefit communities and individuals beyond the borders of Jordan, extending ARDD’s vision.