Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development
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Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development

Personal Empowerment

Etaf Roudan

#MarathonforChange

Over the two years of the ‘Lana’ project, change makers have brought up a variety of issues that they see counterproductive to women’s participation in all spheres of their lives. In August 2015, more than two hundred change makers from Zarqa and Amman developed 38 initiatives to promote volunteerism, gender equality and civic engagement. Through these initiatives, change makers were able to put what they have learned into practice by creating positive change in their communities.

The majority of community issues identified by CMs throughout the sessions held in Zarqa and East Amman shared the same root: the lack of women’s decision-making in the private sphere. By identifying the roots, causes and consequences of the issues, CMs developed their projects. Their initiatives aimed to build women’s confidence while using creativity to highlight these issues.

The CM Malek Ikhmies developed an initiative “Fe-Debate” that aimed to empower women in the field of discussion and gain self-confidence. Through improving practical debate skills women are able to claim their rights, develop critical thinking skills and engage in dialogue with other community members. The CM developed and implemented a project targeting female students between 15 and18 years old using debate in school parliaments..  “This program comes to reactivate the role of student parliaments within schools. I wish it would become a tool for student’s to advocate for their good, and a tool for the teachers to make the education more interactive. Finally I wish to engage families in debates within the school.” His project seeks to empower young women within a school setting; through their own transformation; they will have uncountable impacts on the broader community.

With the project “Together We Can Build It”, the CM Sahar Khaled aimed to raise awareness on gender equality in Zarqa. She believes that the main barrier for women’s participation and decision making is the lack of trust between men and women, and even women towards women. This leads to discrimination against women, GBV and a lack of women in decision-making positions. “If we build bridges based on trust, we can reach a more equal society,” she said. Sahar came up with a creative idea to transfer her message though interactive theatre. Through the performance of two scenes, the CM showed that discrimination against girls in the family and the lack of self confidence among women are the main barriers for women’s participation. This small initiative combined the ideas of gender equality and women’s rights with the importance of women’s participation in all spheres of life.

The “Together You and I” initiative introduced by  Laila Mal-Allah, and her team aimed to raise awareness about gender roles while exploring the consequences for women’s participation and decision making. ‘Women must be strong. Throughout history we have seen strong queens and female leaders. We can be like them. We have to empower our daughters so that they can taste the fruit of success in life”, the team leader said during the session.

All of these change makers had clear goals for their projects and continue to be very motivated in working to create change within their communities.

CMs mobilized community members to become change makers, shared their experiences, challenged attitudes and behaviors within their circle of influence, and implemented lessons learned to change other people’s perceptions.

Thanks to their new knowledge, now change makers are able to help participants to identify problems and causes of issues that affect their lives. The important aspect of change makers’ leading role is that they opened the participants’ eyes to how they contribute to society development.

10 – August – 15 September

In Jordan, #MarathonforChange directly reached 239,965 people and 1,119,815 people indirectly.

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