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"Knowledge from the region, for the region"
21 Jan

Youth in Zarqa cooperate with municipality to address pressing issues in their community.

Amman, 18 January 2022 - Youth are frequently excluded from local decision-making and often frustrated by limited opportunities for cooperation and dialogue. “Young Cities” is a global programme that connects young people to local government.  The project works with youth as well as community members and municipal leaders to enhance the role of youth to actively address local-level issues. In September 2021, the Young Cities project was introduced in Zarqa, Jordan to enable the development of youth-led solutions to community challenges pertaining to misinformation, hate, polarisation, extremism and violence.

With support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) in partnership with the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Institute provided training workshops, seed funding and ongoing mentorship to 21 young people, giving three youth-led projects in Zarqa the tools to develop and implement initiatives that respond to the needs of their communities.
Upon receiving the training, each of the three youth groups selected to address pressing issues that contribute to polarisation, violence and misinformation in their local communities.  Zarqi Initiative whose slogan is stay health  is focusing on misinformation and fear around the Covid-19 vaccine, Design Initiative is addressing the negative effects of cyberbullying,  and the third project, We Are Human, is raising awareness on the negative stereotypes and attitudes linked to people with disabilities.

We Are Human, addresses the stereotypes used to label people with disabilities that persist in the mind of the public. Through puppet theatre they create dialogue to provide information, correct mistaken perceptions that have led to the isolation of people with disabilities in Zarqa. Ghadeer Faraj, who is a member of the youth-led initiative stressed that “ We believe in the concept of inclusion of people with disabilities, so we started an initiative linked to empowering people with disabilities in the community through cultural and recreational activities to correct the false information. We have obtained support from Young Cities and the WANA Institute to conduct awareness raising sessions in addition to a number of interactive puppet performances”. 

Zarki - stay healthy,  investigated the spread of “misinformation”, or information that serves to create doubt and questioning the legitimacy of the vaccinations. Asma Adawi, one of five members said “ we held awareness sessions which were attended by men, women, youth and children as well as videotaped and posted over social media a number of videos of influential people who provided a proper explanation of vaccine’s safety and efficacy, as they continue to be a public concern”.

Design, is addressing cyberbullying.  The increase in online learning during the pandemic had opened doors for more incidents. Design aims to help protect youth and children from becoming victims. Lama Samara talked about the initiative “enforcing policies against cyberbullying is essential but it is as important to educate youth, caregivers, teachers and parents who are in a good position to recognise potential signs of cyberbullying. It is critical that they report potential of cyberbullying that interferes and disrupts the victim’s life. Everyone should know what constitutes cyberbullying and understand its consequences”.


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