“There is no doubt that each one of us has dreams and ambitions of making change, whether within ourselves, in the environment we live in, or in the country to which we belong. But this can only be done by making change within ourselves first.” This is how Jordanian Zaid Abu Zahra, one of the participants in the training-of-trainers activities under the project “Empowering Each Other: United for Change”, responded to the question of how to bring about change in his community.
“In order for change to be achieved properly, a conscious mind must be built that is aware of the reality of things around it, because by liberating the mind, building its own foundations for free thinking, and participating in overcoming the challenges and crises that face the society… change happens.”
Zaid’s comments about change and its importance in society came after he received the opportunity to participate in the project held in partnership between the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) and UN Women Jordan, funded by the European Union, with the aim of providing young women and men with the knowledge and skills to become trainers in civic engagement and social protection in their governorates, and raising awareness and participation among men and women alike.
This participation, which qualified Zaid to give two trainings to individuals from Al Muwaqqar and Lubban areas in the vicinity of the capital Amman on social justice and civic participation, is necessary and urgent today to transmit ideas and raise awareness about the participation of women and men in the public sphere, through which we can make a difference among our families and our communities, according to Zaid.
Abu Zahra further goes to explain that the people of those two areas face several challenges, such as the lack of services, venues and adequate training equipment, in addition to the difficulty of transportation, which calls for the importance of investing in human capital by the state and all institutions, as well as supporting their role in civic engagement, in a creative, innovative, and fair manner, to achieve progress, prosperity, and renaissance.
Moreover, Zaid pointed out that the trainings created an important opportunity among the participants to identify the issues facing women within their communities and hindering their participation in public life, such as the lack of job opportunities, the difficulty of moving between governorates, the lack of health and educational services provided for them as well as the difficulty of accessing leadership positions, noting in this regard that projects like those ARDD is working on are important and necessary in building awareness and increasing participation.
In his opinion, changing the societal outlook and breaking the restrictions resulting from the political, social, economic, and cultural environment for women will certainly help them overcome the barriers and obstacles that hinder their actual participation, explaining that during the trainings, he employed some tools to raise awareness among the participants and create an atmosphere of interaction and enthusiasm, such as extracurricular activities through simulation.
Abu Zahra, who believes that empowering women to reach decision-making positions requires the creation of supportive public opinion, the adoption of motivational policies, and concerted cooperation efforts between the government on one hand and human rights and civil society institutions on the other, aspires to increase the representation of women at various levels in the future.