Letter from the Director
Dear ARDD-Legal Aid Friends and Colleagues,
In 2008 ARDD-Legal Aid started as a social enterprise initiative to provide legal aid to refugees affected by the Iraqi crisis. Our organization is deeply rooted in the belief that social entrepreneurship can effect sustainable societal change on a grassroots level that tackles the challenges we face today.
We consider the combination of innovative ideas and business skills key to tackling the pressing problems of our time such as accessing justice, education, health, the environment, employment and many more.
Compared to business entrepreneurship the concept of social entrepreneurship is relatively new in Jordan and the region and still lacks attention both among the general population and key national and international stakeholders. To address the various barriers to justice that vulnerable Jordanians and refugees are facing, there is an urgent need for funding opportunities are not solely directed at the development of the for-profit private sector.
In addition, substantial structural and cultural barriers exist including: lack of equal educational opportunities that encourage the learning of entrepreneurship skills; lack of government support; institutionalized discriminatory treatment of women; preference of employment over entrepreneurship among families; and finally the lack of political stability. These barriers severely obstruct the advancement of existing social enterprise initiatives and prevent large sections of society from taking action altogether.
Jordan’s diverse and young population reside in one of the last stable countries in the Arab World. They carry huge potential to engage successfully in social entrepreneurship becoming agents of lasting change within their societies and the wider region.
In 2015, through our numerous projects aimed at empowering young people, women and vulnerable communities, ARDD-Legal Aid worked to equip beneficiaries with the necessary skills to start their own civic engagement initiatives in their communities.
Encouraged by the positive changes seen through our programs, we hope that this spirit spreads throughout Jordan and the region to create a culture of social innovation and action.
Given the current situation, the challenges are real. In 2016 we urge relevant government agencies and the international community to join us in doubling efforts to support civil society and create an environment that is more conducive to social entrepreneurship in Jordan and the Middle East.
Samar Muhareb, Director ARDD-Legal Aid