· Approximately 90 events and meetings across all the governorates of Jordan
· Four national conferences, a regional conference, an international conference, and a forum for entrepreneurship and business
· Over 20 reports, policy papers, and research projects within the work of Al Nahda Thought Center
· Over 50 articles written by thought leaders, corresponding to the themes of renaissance and transformation
· More than 5,000 participants of all ages took part in conferences, meetings, dialogues, sessions, and workshops, in addition to cultural and artistic events in Amman and the other governorates.
· Providing legal aid to over 120,000 beneficiaries, including Jordanians, refugees, immigrants, and host communities across the Kingdom
· providing relief assistance to 440 families in four governorates
· Supporting 15 entrepreneurial projects, with 30 young men and women completing their training and obtaining certificates of experience as well as professional certificates
· Launching a business incubator in the heart of Amman
“2022 was the year of partnerships, between the government, civil society, the academic and educational communities, the private sector, and the media, all working together on the key strategic issues of the Arab world, addressing the topics of transformation in the region and the developments on the Question of Palestine, as well as the instability and conflicts in the countries of the region and their impact on pressing issues, such as social protection, the rule of law, and access to justice. It was imperative to delve into the details of economic and human development and lay the foundations to discuss the issues of fighting poverty and unemployment, as well as promoting local investments and supporting small entrepreneurial projects. We have also sought to ensure accountability through the provision of legal services, in addition to offering direct relief programs to many families in Jordan -our main area of activity- and trying to harness culture and art to promote solidarity within the community and help children, youths, women, and refugees to get more involved.” With these words, the Executive Director of the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), Samar Muhareb, recapped the past year, stressing the role of civil society and localization in responding to many needs on the ground, in addition to calling for a bigger role for shared international responsibility, in the absence of global justice and the lack of enforcement of international human rights laws. She also stressed that work on the Renaissance project still has a long way to go, while ARDD continues to work relentlessly, to sustain its efforts by building internal capacities and further advancing the work toward the desired change.
The role of the government, official agencies, and donor partners should be commended here, as the effective coordination and communication with the Ministries of Planning, Social Development, Interior, Justice, Education and Higher Education, Labor, Entrepreneurship and Digital Economy, as well as the Amman Municipality and other Municipalities, the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, the Jordanian Businessmen Association, and the partnership with the University of Jordan, and over 20 local NGOs members of Jordan NGOs Forum (JONAF), all of which enabled ARDD to provide support, development programs, and services to more than 125,000 beneficiaries of the most vulnerable groups of refugees and host communities throughout the Kingdom.
Moreover, the year 2022 witnessed persistent efforts to activate the role of women and youth, their civic and political participation, and their role in addressing the interrelated challenges, which include the environmental, social, and economic challenges facing them and their communities. In cooperation with the members of JONAF, and through its multiple networks and forums, ARDD continues its efforts to advocate for the core issues that affect the renaissance and development of our societies, by holding meetings and conferences with official local and international stakeholders, in addition to preparing studies and activating the role of civil society in supporting the government in developing the social and legal protection system, facilitating access to justice, and promoting local humanitarian work and the role of women in decision-making.
In response to the need for knowledge and historical process in order to foresee the prospects of the Arab future, Al Nahda Writers Series was launched, with over 50 articles contributed by thought leaders among the members of ARDD’s Board of Trustees, with an array of intellectual contributions and knowledge in the framework of seeking to establish and launch the new Arab Renaissance project.
In relation to the climate change crisis and its implications for our Arab societies and the world, and in cooperation with RNW media and with the support of the Dutch Embassy in Amman, ARDD launched the Green Voices project for young men and women of the Arab world, which included a media competition with over 50 participants from Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Yemen. The project´s youth policy labs discussed the role of media in the climate crisis challenges, environmental activism, advocacy in the Arab world, and misleading information regarding the climate crisis, in addition to the production of more than 30 media materials by young people, in the form of videos and articles, documenting the views of environmental experts and activists in the Arab world, in order to raise awareness among the general public about this crisis and its consequences. Some of them were published and continue to be published successively on ARDD’s media arm Huna Sotak… Sawt Al Nahda. ARDD has also launched a dialogue on the role of women in addressing the climate crisis in the Arab world, as well as a research report on the green economy as a means of sustainability in times of crisis.
With regard to intergenerational dialogue and the civic and political participation of the youth, and in conjunction with the launch of the political reform papers and visions of economic modernization, ARDD has continued its efforts within the project “Generation G – A New Generation”, launching the intergenerational dialogue, which toured five Jordanian governorates with films talking about the importance of the Arabic language in the renaissance of Arabs, as well as the brain drain. There were also other dialogues on employing creativity in civic engagement with acclaimed cartoonists from the Arab world, Jordanian entrepreneurs, and media personalities, as well as cultural and artistic events, training, and panel discussions within the cultural activities at Maqha Al Nahda. Furthermore, Independence Day was celebrated through the launch of Youth Civic and Political Participation Policy Lab in Jordan, in partnership with the University of Jordan and its Center for Strategic Studies, and with the participation of political science students, where four policy labs were held. The topics addressed varied between the concept of civic participation, human and economic development, the meaning of political and civic participation and its importance for democracy and development, and the importance of values and principles in achieving development.
In the same vein, the youth of Al Nahda Network used their creativity and skills to enhance solidarity within the community, by holding concerts celebrating the region’s heritage to celebrate different holidays in the heart of the Capital, Amman. Moreover, The Dream from Earth to Walls Initiative was launched in the Jordan Valley, employing art in transforming waste into paintings that reflect their creators. The initiative included sessions that motivated young people to work and engage in civic participation as well. In an effort to empower young people, improve their employment opportunities, and enhance the work and investment environments in Jordan, and through the Design and Determine project -which is implemented with the support of the European Regional Development and Protection Program to support Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, a joint European initiative from the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland, and Switzerland- ARDD provided job training for nearly 30 participants, providing paid internship opportunities for 20 participants, both men and women, as well as concluding the vocational education grants offered to 15 students, and supporting 15 entrepreneurial projects through a series of courses that hosted a number of influential entrepreneurs to exchange experiences. In the same context, out of the belief in the principle of partnership between civil society and the private sector, and under the umbrella of the Human and Economic Development Forum(HADAF) at ARDD, a number of meetings and round table discussions were held to strengthen the dialogue and concerted efforts to address youth unemployment, entrepreneurship, the green economy, and future jobs, as well as enhancing the professional opportunities of young people and advance the business and human rights agendas, thus contributing to the development of the investment and employment system in Jordan.
ARDD has also continued its efforts to activate local humanitarian work through cooperation with local CBOs and CSOs within JONAF, in order to strengthen the capacities of women-led associations in evidence-based advocacy, through their contribution with ARDD in developing policy briefs and reports that contribute to highlighting the most important needs of their communities and proposing ways to address them within the project to strengthen the capacities of women-led organizations in partnership with UN Women, within the framework of the Jordanian National Plan to Support Resolution 1325 on the Role of Women in Security and Peace, with the support of the Governments of Cyprus, Canada, Finland, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Four reports and ten policy briefs were launched, addressing local research on domestic violence, the importance of unpaid care, the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and ways to assess vulnerabilities.
A memorandum of cooperation was signed between ARDD and the Municipal Services and Social Adaptation Project to promote good and participatory governance between civil society and the municipalities to develop their work and enhance their services.
Over the past year, ARDD also focused on the importance of activating women’s civic and political participation through Al Nahda Women’s Network, as the members of the network participated in its first conference. The members also made several field visits to projects and institutions led by women, in addition to the participation of hundreds of women members of the network in regular meetings held once to twice a month since mid-2021. These events expanded to include hosting speakers from abroad, such as Lebanese journalist Rabaa Al-Zayat, researcher Magida Rafaa Al Tahtawi, and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Reem Al-Salem.
With regard to strengthening social protection, social security, public health, and justice sector development, and through the Inclusive Social Security Forum in MENA region, the Justice Sector Development Forum, and the National Alliance to Strengthen to Combat Narcotics in Jordan, ARDD has played an important role in launching dialogues on relevant policies, as well as following up on developments at the national and regional levels, discussing them, and developing recommendations and submitting them to the relevant decision-makers.
The report “More Than Ink on Paper” was launched, addressing the right to social protection for persons with disabilities and aiming to analyze the subject of comprehensive social protection, in addition to reviewing the applicable policies and laws related to persons with disabilities in Jordan. The first annual meeting of the Jordanian National Forum for Comprehensive Social Protection, “Transforming Frameworks towards Sustainable and Inclusive Social Protection”, was held, organized by ARDD in partnership with members of the ISSPF MENA, including development paths, which called for the importance of joining efforts by the relevant parties from civil society, the government sector, and the private sector, to establish social protection systems, one of whose main pillars is combating poverty, expanding safety nets, making legislative reforms that are compatible with crisis response plans, and improving the existing social systems to cope with the economic, social, and political changes in the region and around the world.
Within the framework of the project to enhance public trust in the justice sector, implemented with the support of the French Embassy in Jordan, several meetings were held that looked at the intersection between the justice sector and the vision of economic modernization, as well as developments in laws such as the Child Law, the new justice sector strategy, the review of the laws of correctional centers, and several other topics that included family protection, in addition to holding three regional meetings for Arab working groups, which discussed the status and future of the justice sector in the Arab region after Covid-19.
With respect to public health policies, the Public Health Policy Lab continued its meetings, stressing that health policies are not confined to the health sector alone, but are a cross-sectoral responsibility, which means that any policy must include all relevant parties to ensure participatory application and improve the chances of success. Hence, the lab highlighted medical accountability and legal protection frameworks. The first report on the quality of health services and medical responsibility was also launched, as well as a comparative study between the Jordanian and Palestinian legal systems and the report series on public health and law in Jordan.
In support of the fight against drugs and in accordance with its strategic plan, the Justice Forum´s National Alliance to Strengthen Combating Narcotics in Jordan, held several meetings with the relevant authorities, as well as going on field visits to review and publicize the efforts made to combat this scourge, in which members of the alliance visited rehabilitation centers, addiction treatment centers, and border patrol forces, and participated in several events to support and highlight all the efforts that were made in that respect.
With regards to the importance of education and its role in protecting communities, and within the framework of ARDD’S Education Strategy, which seeks to take a comprehensive approach to education that takes into account ensuring the right to access quality education and providing continuous learning opportunities for everyone as basic pillars to alleviate poverty and enable sustainable social transformation, and in cooperation with Vision Hope International and with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, ARDD launched the Investment in the Future Project, at a national meeting under the auspices of the Minister of Education and Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Azmi Mahafza. The project works to raise awareness of comprehensive education programs, academic support activities, education, protection, legal aid services, and vocational education grants, as well as providing art and aesthetic value programs, in order to meet the educational needs of refugees and underprivileged groups in the host community and increase their protection.
Given the centrality of the Question of Palestine and its pivotal importance to Jordan and the region as a whole, ARDD has continued its efforts through the Question of Palestine program and the Global Network on the Question of Palestine, by holding international webinars in cooperation with the Law for Palestine organization, addressing several topics, the most important of which was the recent UN report and the demarcation of maritime borders with Lebanon, among others, in addition on to launching statements in support of the Cause and its merits, and holding several meetings in Jordan to create a working group to protect Jordanian and Palestinian interests.
The Network also held its international conference to discuss the options available to the Question of Palestine in the era of transformation, calling to think about future strategies and agreements to enable Palestinians to enjoy their legitimate rights, first and foremost the right of return, as well as providing all forms of support to Palestinian refugees around the world to improve their conditions, and promoting the institutional role, as opposed to individual efforts, given the legal, political, and official requirements, which in turn require finding competencies and resources as well as cumulative work to address them.
In order to contribute to the empowerment, protection, and promotion of the rights of migrant workers, and within the framework of the second phase of the Haquna project, implemented with the support of the Heinrich Böll Foundation – Palestine and Jordan, and with the participation of members of the Committee on Migrant Workers and Research, the organization launched four policy notes on (1) access to legal aid for migrant workers and refugees; (2) the labor rights framework; (3) access to basic services; and (4) sustainable solutions for migrant workers and refugees, putting forward a number of recommendations and solutions that seek to promote the protection of refugees and migrant workers and call for better working and living conditions for them. The policy notes also highlighted the need for the direct involvement of migrant and refugee worker communities in defending and protecting their rights. within this frame of reference, the Forum on Asylum and Migration in the Arab World (MARFA) held its first regional conference in the presence of His Royal Highness Prince Hasan bin Talal, which included representatives of civil and international society, Arab and international academics, official agencies, and interested parties. The conference also provided a critical overview of the different types of discrimination practiced towards migrants and refugees from the Arab region, including structural and political issues and the role played by local and international stakeholders to address this issue, in order to guide the dialogue toward results and identify a number of recommendations and advocacy messages, based on legal tools, institutional mechanisms, and strategies to enhance protection.
As UNHCR’s legal partner, ARDD has also continued to provide free legal services, including consultation, legal mediation, and representation in court, to more than 120,000 beneficiaries from all the governorates of Jordan, inside and outside the camps, since the beginning of this year and within its multiple projects, which are implemented in cooperation with UNHCR, the Danish Council, and Vision Hope International. Furthermore, in terms of monetary assistance, assistance was provided to 440 families with a total sum of 24,000 Jordanian Dinars, as part of the winter assistance program and in cooperation with Islamic Relief – France, distributed in different parts of Jordan by members of JONAF.
As ARDD appreciates the efforts of its team and celebrates these achievements with them, thanks are due to the various local and Arab media outlets for their coverage of the organization’s activities and efforts, as they had the greatest role in shaping our media strategy through our meetings with them within the frame of Al Nahda Arab Cultural Forum. Thus, we begin to prepare with all the stakeholders to continue this journey for the current year, while hoping to keep up the concerted efforts among all the partners to develop visions, prospects, and concrete steps that will have a greater impact on our societies, to lift the suffering and deprivation that cast a shadow over the situation so that we can move together towards the renaissance to which we aspire.