The Jordan National NGO Forum (JONAF) endeavours to lead the efforts of humanitarian response and development in Jordan, in an effort to meet the needs of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in Jordan as well as members of the Jordanian host communities that are most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. JONAF, which was established as an initiative by a number of CSOs and CBOs in 2016, is currently working on implementing a response plan to support the government in its immediate efforts to effectively deal with COVID19 crisis and its repercussions. This entails monitoring developments and initiating community-based interventions by local civil society organizations.
JONAF members have pledged their capabilities and expertise to this national emergency plan with the aim to protect society and humanity from this emerging virus. JONAF members are committed to reinforce the Jordanian government’s strategies and to cooperate in implementing them and enhancing them in order to contain and reduce the spread of the virus in Jordan.
At this critical time, JONAF recognizes the important role of local actors in integrating existing efforts to meet the growing needs of the population. It is also important to identify the consequences and the additional pressures resulting from this global health crisis, and the urgent need to respond as efficiently and expeditiously as possible. This is in addition to making unremitting efforts and stressing the importance of collaboration between the government, the private sector, and civil society within the response to this emergency crisis and its escalations.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the JONAF coalition – which comprises of more than forty local and national civil society organizations representing all of Jordan – has started to implement an immediate three-month response plan covering various areas. These include: direct humanitarian response, health and food aid, provision of medical, social, legal, labour and protection services, child care, competent social and mental health services, and community organization and public awareness services through social media sites. This is also includes building the capabilities of JONAF members in order to prepare them to deal with crises, and to enable them to initiate monitoring, research and analysis for the purpose of evidence based advocacy.
Direct humanitarian response and health and food aids
Various JONAF members have distributed food and health parcels to vulnerable communities, and in particular, JONAF member the Jordan Hashemite Charitable Organization has reached more than 15,000 families across Jordan through close cooperation with communities in all regions. Since the outbreak of the crisis, the Jordan Paramedic Society has started providing support to the 111 hotline team by answering citizens’ inquiries on the hotline of the Jordanian Ministry of Health and the Crisis Management Directorate to provide COVID19 consultations and advice, and refer suspected cases to relevant authorities. As of now, the staff has responded to more than eight thousand calls, assisted the civil defence cadres in the field, and made nearly 900 field visits. The Arab Relief Society also launched a campaign (“Giving ends the Pandemic”) and distributed health parcels. The Aoun Medical Association has been providing medical assistance to nearly 30,000 women and 20,000 children in the Zaatari camp. Many associations such as Al-Rafid and Al-Karam, Al-Ghor Modern Association, and other members throughout the Kingdom have launched campaigns for self-sufficiency such as baking bread at home and other awareness campaigns. The Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD) has directed all its programs and efforts to provide a system for tracking cases affected most by the crisis, and for providing direct support to them through partner JONAF members.
Health support and medical advice
The Institute for Family Health and the Noor Al Hussein Foundation have provided support and assistance phone lines to cover psychological issues, psychological counselling, prevention of and response to family violence and gender-based violence, rehabilitation and response to the needs of persons with disabilities, COVID19 advice, and reproductive and children’s health services. These are in addition to the services by the emergency teams present in the camps. Awareness posts were also posted on JONAF’s and other social media outlets. In coordination with JONAF members and in partnership with international organizations, the institute worked on GBV cases and with the Family Protection Department, and activated video and audio services for rehabilitation, violence cases and medical cases.
Social and labour legal protection
JONAF Steering Committee member, Tamkeen Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights, has provided legal assistance to 64 Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptian workers in addition to providing food and in-kind assistance to 160 domestic workers, targeting 536 beneficiaries of all nationalities in 52 legal awareness sessions, and assisting 33 daily workers in registering on the social insurance platform. Tamkeen also issued 5 specialized reports on labour laws.
ARDD, the JONAF coordinator, has allocated 8 phone lines for protection and legal advice services covering the Kingdom and provided consultations and mediation services to more than 3,000beneficiaries including Jordanians, refugees and foreign residents. These consultations included inquiries about the lockdown, movement permits, and consultations on family problems, divorce, and labour rights considering recent instructions and the lockdown. This is in addition to providing legal mediation services to more than 98 individuals.
Raising awareness, media and community organization
JONAF members have worked on spreading awareness on COVID-19 and how to prevent it, how to deal with the current conditions, and how to adapt through several initiatives. Tamkeen and ARDD have published important legal information in addition to adaptation advice pamphlets calling for community and family solidarity.
ARDD has also published a series of posts on women leaders, the first to respond series, stressing the importance of women and community organizations in responding to crises and the role of women in peace and security.
Further, JONAF steering committee member Durrat Al-Manal has published training and advice for adapting and has worked to raise awareness about mental and family health through social media. This is in addition to targeting sector workers to further spread the messages them to camps and all over the Kingdom. Durrat Al-Manal also launched a questionnaire to find out the impact of distance education, and the Tamkeen Centre launched a report on labour affairs. ARDD is currently working to launch several research reports looking at the impact of the crisis and its various dimensions on vulnerable groups. The East and West Centre also developed several awareness visuals and messages that contribute to explaining community members’ roles and their importance in responding to crises.
Furthermore, the Child Care Association – in partnership with ARDD and in cooperation with the security forces – launched an initiative under the slogan “Safety Distance” aiming to ensure safe distances in stores and commercial facilities in the northern Badiya, Mafraq. Women for Women association launched “we are one” campaign urging the cooperation of men and women in all tasks. These various initiatives by JONAF members in their local communities have been taking place since the start of the crisis and its consequences.
As the coordinator of JONAF, ARDD is working on monitoring the conditions of the most affected groups of refugees, day laborers, women, people with disabilities and the elderly in the host communities, and has produced a video that reflects the conditions of the population in the northern Badiya in cooperation with the Child Care Association.
Under the slogan “Together we will defeat Coronavirus” ARDD shared legal awareness and health messages from its reliable sources. ARDD also partnered with the Community Media Network to launch a dedicated program that seeks to shed light on the crisis and its consequences on the affected communities. This is in addition to launching support and awareness campaigns with Jordanian influencers to broadcast positive, awareness and solidarity messages; These campaigns were titled “It shall pass”, “We are all Irbid,” and other ongoing campaigns.
“We in Jordan, as we face this pandemic, can only resort to a strategic response that requires coming together as a community, and effective cooperation between the government and civil society organizations. Thus, response plans and roadmaps have been discussed with the government, and we are currently working to join efforts, intensify coordination, follow up on civil society activities, and issue periodic coverage that showcases the importance of a united front covering all components of society and showing solidarity to reduce the effects of this crisis and its future repercussions.”