Community Organizing & Public Narrative

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Amman Institute (Ai) hosted Marshall Ganz, a lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. A two day training session that included six of Jordans community builders and organizers. The training was led by Ganz where he explained concepts of leadership, effects of self, us and now stories, commitments to causes and motivational approaches for sustainable campaigns. The trainers then helped facilitate the training of the 25 participants. The document give you - The Story of The Workshop - Participants - Coaches


  • 1.THE STORY OF THE WORKSHOPThe challengeA not for profit organization created in 2008 by the Greater Amman Municipality, Ai has beenworking as a regional think tank in the field of urban governance with the motto ofempowering communities to excel. Through its various projects and initiatives in Jordan, Aihas not been only concerned with the built environment, but rather has focused on lesstangible, yet just as important issues, like citizenship, governance, and participatory planningprocesses.Through its engagement with different communities in Jordan, mainly through the Amman Planand eight other plans that Ai has prepared for other cities in Jordan, and by encounteringthousands of stakeholders of citizens, civil servants, developers, decision makers, etc, Ai hasconstantly faced the same challenge. This challenge is centered around the top-down decisionmaking processes, where the community is hardly engaged or involved in the building orsustenance of their communities. In many instances, communities were eager to contribute totheir societies; however did not have enough guidance on how to best do so.In other instances, communities lacked the sense of ownership and this led to the lack ofresponsibility. In many cases, it was the reliance on the government as not only the soledecision maker but also as the caretaker. This puts into question the sustainability of anydevelopment project in Jordan and affects the dynamics between the citizens and their sense ofbelonging to their cities. Ai has been engaged in numerous attempts to involve variouscommunities in the process, and to further trigger a sense of ownership. Although there hasbeen significant progress in this process, Ai believes that there is much more to be done onboth ends.Taking the role of an agent of change, not only in Amman, but also nationally and regionally, Aibelieves in its role in facilitating a more active involvement of the communities in decisionmaking issues that will affect their daily lives. Participatory planning processes are, and willcontinue, to be an essential part of any work that Ai engages in. In this regard, Ai is not alonebut rather belongs to a larger network of individuals and organizations facing the samechallenge. Various models have been implemented in hopes of bridging the gap, yet not onesingle discourse has been prevalent. Ai has decided to explore a new path through bringinginnovative ideas and opportunities to the citizens of Jordan.The ChoiceThrough various training courses acting as primary tools for making a difference, Ai hascontacted the Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School of Government to exploreopportunities of collaboration in executive education. A year ago, Ms. Hilary Rantisi, Director ofthe Initiative, introduced Ai to the work of Marshall Ganz and also connected them to hisdeputy in Jordan, Ms. Nisreen Haj Ahmed. Through many internal deliberations and discussions,

2. the idea of hosting Professor Ganz for training and public events evolved, and was very muchwelcomed by the Chairman of the Amman Institute, Mayor Omar Maani. In order to betterunderstand the theory and practice behind his training, Ais representative attended one of thetraining modules that was designed for forty Muslim women from the MENA region.Ai has been working on this project for almost a year now, dedicating many human andfinancial resources in order to make this a reality. It is Ais belief in the potentials of such anendeavor that has allowed it to undertake this project, with an experimental spirit, and faith inthe impact it will have in creating awareness about community organizing; a different approachto civil leadership and civil action that will create change.The training exposed leaders of organizations and communities to a different model of thoughtand operation, and allowed them to see how they can support each other in the future. Thetraining did not aim to create organizers or at launching campaigns per se, but rather, atunderstanding what organizing means, what are the practices involved in such a process andhow to go implementing them in Jordan.There were twenty-five participants involved in this training course, while being selected basedon a very specific set of criteria and standards. They included leaders in the development sectorin Jordan, environmentalists, city councilors and community activists.The outcomeIn addition to the mentioned above, Ai achieved the following from this training: - Empowered community organizers and leaders to take further steps in their work - Created a team of trained coaches to undertake this training in Arabic in other localities in Jordan so that the training will have a snowflake effect - Created a network of leaders and organizers who meet on a regular basis to support each other, share stories, define new horizons, and empower new leaders - Facilitated the way for different organizations towards community organizing campaigns in their fieldsIn its full capacity, Ai intends on following up with the participants and utilizing its resources toachieve strong community building and organizing. Through locating the right networks, causes,values and stories, Ai will continue to carry the torch and pass it on to the Jordanian andregional community. 3. Participants25 of Jordans most talented and accomplished community organizers participated in the training. Theseparticipants brought with them an idea of what to expect but came out with a life-changing experience.Many humbled each other with their stories while others adopted new values. All, however, left the trainingwith a new outlook on community building and promised to take a stand together. These participants are:Ahmad Al Abed is currently an assistant systems analyst and instructor at the Royal Scientific Society.Ahmad is a system designer and holds extensive experience in the Royal Scientific Society in programmingand system engineering. In addition to being trained on the Multimedia System Development andMicrosoft Applications, he is also a teacher for these applications. Ahmad is a member of the Association ofOverseas Technical Scholarship (AOTS) in Tokyo, Japan and the Jordan Computer Society (JSC) in Amman,Jordan.Deema Bibi is currently the CEO of INJAZ Jordan, a member nation of Junior Achievement Worldwide thatworks with over 110,000 students in over 160 public schools and 30 universities and colleges. Prior toINJAZ, Deema was the ICT Program Manager at the United Nations Development Fund for Women(UNIFEM) at the Regional Office, where she was responsible for the creation and management of ICT andeducation related initiatives in the Arab region from 2000-2005. Deema has also worked in the privatesector where she developed and managed several ICT projects in Jordan and the Middle East.Diala Khamra is a public sector reform and development consulting expert with thirteen years ofexperience in managing projects in public sector reform and social and economic development fields. She iscurrently the Deputy Chief of Party of the USAID Rule of Law Project that is working with the Ministry ofJustice and the Judicial Council in implementing the national Judicial Upgrading Strategy (JUST). Diala is alsoa founding member of the Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA), an NGO that was established in 2008 tofacilitate access to justice by the poor and the vulnerable.Eman Nimri is currently a freelance consultant focusing on enhancing the role of CSOs through buildingdialogue and increasing communication with governmental entities. Eman also works on educating ongender mainstreaming and training. Previously, Eman served as Deputy Executive Director and Director ofSustainable Development Programs for almost 13 years with the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for HumanDevelopment (JOHUD). At JOHUD, Eman managed and supervised a wide range of projects promotingeconomic, social and political empowerment, through an approach that is centered around human rights.Furthermore, Eman coordinated the production of the Jordan National Human Development Report for2004. This report highlighted the need for NGOs to focus on empowering community members to workcollectively to claim their rights and hold duty bearers accountable for the services they provide. 4. Haifa Najjar is currently the superintendent of the Ahliyyah School for Girls and the Bishops School forBoys while serving as an eminent figure in the field of education locally and internationally. Haifa is highlyqualified as a Director in Leadership and School Management and is a member of the InternationalBaccalaureate Heads Council (HC-IB), Regional Council (RC-IB). She is also the head of the TechnicalCommittee of The Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education, a member of the Board of Trustees ofthe European Council of International Schools (ECIS) and the President of The Business and ProfessionalWomen Association/Amman. Haifa holds a Masters degree in Transformation Management, and iscurrently working on her MPHL in Transformation Management.Huda Hakki is currently the project manager of the program department at the King Khaled Foundation,where she manages projects relating to capacity building for non-profit organizations, grant making andlocal community engagement. Previously, Huda was the director of Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute forDevelopment, as well as a manager and supervisor for the Programs and Centers under ZENID, namely, theYouth Center, the Training Center, the Womens Empowerment Program and the Poverty AlleviationProgram. Huda also managed Makana Project a national program that deals with governance issues atthe community level.Ihab Amarin is currently the Director of Planning and Tourism Projects at Ai. Ihab has previous workexperience as the Acting Secretary General for the Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities where he was leadingthe national effort of Tourism Product Development in Jordan, the establishment of Petra Region PlanningCouncil, the formulation of the National Tourism Strategy (2004-2010), the establishment of the TechnicalDevelopment Department and the initiation and activation of the Law of the Cultural Heritage Protection inJordan. Ihab has previously led several donor-funded major Urban and Tourism Development Programsincluding: Third Tourism Project (Cultural Heritage, Urban and Tourism Development Project), SecondTourism Project (STDP) and Promotion of Cultural Heritage. He has also won the UK Green Apple Awardin 2009 for his efforts in preserving Jordan Cultural Heritage.Liana Khammash is currently the PMU Director for Jabal Ajloun Development Program. The Program is amanagement support entity to an inter-ministerial Steering Committee for the development of the JabalAjloun Area. The focus of this program lies in coordinated planning, prioritization and execution of projectsto support the overall objective and enable community benefit realization. Liana has over nineteen yearsexperience in architecture and planning, real estate development, corporate interiors, consulting and clientrepresentation in Amman, Dubai and Riyadh where she previously worked with TAMLEEK, 2K Architectsand Engineers Jafar Tukan & Partners.Mahmoud Bdour is currently the Dana Village Renovation Project Manager where he develops the localcommunity participation plan in the project, the eco-tourism plan for Dana village as well as creates newsocio-economic projects to increase the local community income. Previously, Mahmoud was the Fugejrangeland reserve manager and the Wadi Rum protected area and site manager. Mahmoud was theconservation consultant for the Commissioner of Environment for Sheik Mohammad Ben Zayed OryxRelease Project in Wadi Rum. 5. Mufleh Abbadi is currently the project manager for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN). This union aims to build the capacity of the relevant stakeholders, including local communities, onthe rehabilitation of the Zarqa river approaches. With over fifteen years of experience, Mufleh managedprojects with the IUCN in addition to the Equitable Access and Management of Natural Resources Projectfor Care International. Mufleh has also worked for both governmental and non-governmental sectors forvoluntary societies, cooperative societies, youth clubs and many others. During his career in managingvarious projects, he has played an influential role in the mobilization of local communities and communityorganizing.Nada Hiyari is the Senior Program Officer for the Advocacy Civil Society Program (CSP)Academy forEducational Development. Her main tasks include managing the advocacy component at CSP and managingand administering all aspects of the delivery and monitoring of the project. Nada also filled the positions ofthe Program Coordinator at the Center for Strategic Studies-University of Jordan and the Program Officer atFriedrich Naumann Foundation for Liberty. She is also one of the founders of the Arab Thought Forum.Nesreen Barakat is currently a member of the GAM City Council and Managing Director of To ExcelConsulting. Nesreen is also focusing on strengthening the institution while establishing SME upgrading andmodernization programs. This is done through setting up and managing an SME support orientedinstitution like the Jordan Upgrading & Modernization Program (JUMP) and leading the JordanianNational Competitiveness Team (JNCT) while institutionalizing it through the Ministry of Planning andInternational Cooperation (MoPIC), amongst others. Nesreen has had extensive experience in localeconomic development where she has supervised and participated heavily in the local economicdevelopment initiatives in both Karak and Irbid Governorates.Nihad Jariri is currently the Program Manager at the Farah Al Nas radio. Nihads position is centeredaround assuring that the programs presented meet the stations goals to highlight rights, success stories ofwomen, youth and the physically challenged. Nihads role as Program Manager is especially crucial inrepresenting the roles of two NGOs while emphasizing the importance of advocacy, raising awareness andwinning support.Noor Homoud currently works at the office of Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah as a CommunityOutreach Manager where she transmits Her Majestys vision to the Jordanian public through implementingvarious programs across Jordan. In order to communicate this vision, Noor is consistently interacting withthe various communities from different governorates, where she works on understanding their needs andresolving their problems through, nongovernmental and governmental organizations. Noor has previouslyvolunteered at the Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for Development which allowed her the opportunity ofinteracting with the Jordanian public and working towards creating a positive change in their lives.Raghda Butros is the founder of Hamzet Wasel, a diverse and inclusive community of Amman citizensengaging in social activism and authentic relationship building across the city. Prior to w...