Civil participation is one of the most important factors that help countries advance and progress in different fields, and proof of civilized societies. The success of “civic participation” depends entirely on the individual’s feeling that he is an integral part of society, and that his/her life is affected by the problems of his/her society so that s/he has the motivation and willingness to engage and work to address these problems. In pursuit of this goal, the “Haquna” project was implemented by the Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), in partnership with the Heinrich Böll Foundation-Palestine and Jordan.
Within the framework of the “Haquna” project, 30 men and women activists of different nationalities, residing in Jordan, participated in the training program “Strengthening Civic Participation and Legal Awareness”, which worked to develop participants’ skills to identify important issues in their communities and affect their progress towards achieving human justice.
“Our participation in this training with male and female participants of eight nationalities confirmed that we are not alone, that our needs are similar, and strengthened our ability to unite to bring about the desired change,” said Yemeni activist Aya Sadiq.
The training program contributed to establishing the “Migrant workers committee” within the Migration and Refugee Forum for the Arab World (MARFA), one of ARDD’s networks, to contribute to the promotion and sustainability of their civic participation and to defend and advance the rights of migrant workers in Jordan.
The committee identified a number of issues affecting asylum-seeking and immigrant communities, including lack of legal knowledge of their rights and duties in host countries, low job opportunities, discrimination against them, and bullying in schools. Accordingly, four voluntary initiatives have been proposed to address these problems and provide solutions to them. They are as follows:
The “Aman” initiative was proposed to contribute to addressing the phenomenon of bullying and violence in all its forms (verbal, psychological and physical) to which immigrant and refugee children may be exposed in school, whether from the educational staff or the students themselves. The initiative also aims to raise awareness about psychological health, by holding awareness sessions for children and their families about this phenomenon, its effects, and the importance of psychological safety for children.
The “Hand in Hand” initiative aims to raise refugees’ awareness about local laws and the importance of respecting them so that their situation is more stable and secure, in addition, to improve the legal status of refugees in Jordan through advocacy efforts and by amplifying the voices of those calling for the amendment of laws that conflict with international conventions and treaties that provide protection for refugees.
The “My Right to Know” initiative aims to raise the awareness of refugees and migrants about their legal status with regard to work and housing. The initiative targets 18-year-olds and above through legal workshops under the supervision of ARDD, and links workers of both genders with professional unions and local labor bodies.
The “Helping Hand for Development” initiative aims to provide moral, material, logistical, cognitive, and legal support to migrants and refugees, as per the needs of individuals and families, create decent work opportunities for them and Inform them of their civil rights in the host country, help families secure the right to education for their children, as well as solve family problems through awareness-raising lectures, home visits and awareness-raising leaflets on social media.
The initiatives, with the needed follow-up, development, and building on them, are some steps taken by the Migrant Workers Committee, whose members seek to ensure the sustainability of their advocacy measures and networking with official stakeholders and civil society, improve the access of members of their communities to justice and job opportunities, and make sure that they enjoy their labor and social rights.
This blog was written by Egyptian activist Yasser Abdel-Nabi, a member of the Migrant Workers Committee.