Jordan [Syrian refugees]

Journalism workshop” a haven for young refugees”

2015.05.14

For Mohamad Al Hraki, 19 years old, a workshop in journalism is a dream that comes true.
“I have always liked to be a journalist since I was a child. I carried my dream with me from Syria to Jordan and waited for the opportunity to achieve this goal,” said Al Hraki who has been living in Za’atari Refugee Camp since 2012.
I wanted to be close to the event, he added. I wanted to look for the truth and write the story to be published in a magazine or newspaper.
“Whenever I heard about training sessions offered in the camp, I wanted to attend them because, maybe, the sessions were about journalism. After a long wait, I found out about the publication of a communal magazine for Za’atari camp. The magazine opened its pages for those who are interested in journalism to volunteer,” said Mohammad.
“I felt even greater joy when the magazine team decided to hold a training course, which specializes in journalism. When I first joined this session, I learned a lot about writing, editing, field work, interviewing tactics and the method of writing investigative pieces.  I also learned about the ethics of the profession, like credibility, balance and objectivity,” explained Mohammad

Last October 2014, JEN started a journalism workshop to train interested people in basics of writing. The 4-part workshop covered basic grammar and punctuation, interviewing techniques, reporting techniques, and ethics of journalism. The series workshop also taught professional news- and story-writing and interviewing skills to participants between 15-24 years old, in response to the repeated interest expressed by them.

Once the participants completed the 4-series course, they utilized the skills learned to collect stories for the next issue of the magazine, under the mentorship of JEN’s professional editor and journalist. At the same time, the JEN professional editor guided the participants through the editing process of their own articles, and JEN’s graphic designer worked together to develop the magazine design. Participants worked under the close mentorship for the following two issues, at which point, they were certified as an independent journalist for JEN’s magazine.

Workshop participants received a JEN certificate and were invited to volunteer as journalists to contribute to the magazine going forward to further hone their writing skills. So far JEN has graduated over 20 participants, most of who have been from the youth community.

[Work shop]
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“When I saw one of my friends wearing the journalism badge around his neck and collecting stories from and interviewing the residents of the camp to be published in the camp magazine,’ The Road”,  I decided I want to be like him,” said Malik Alzahra 20 years old.
“I asked him if there will be another workshop in journalism and was happy to know that the magazine team is preparing to conduct a new workshop at JEN tent in district 4, for which I immediately registered my name,” explained Malik who holds a Syrian high school certificate.

“I learned that it’s important to learn and investigate the subject for which you will be interviewing a person, who should be a specialist in this issue.  If you want to conduct an interview with a famous person, you should gather information about him to look professional. At the end, you should always be ready before you interview anyone’” said Asmaa the first female to attend the workshop.

“The lecturer introduced us to the work of journalism. At the end of the session, we did a short quiz which I passed. And I learned that when we want to do a story on an issue, we should learn and read a lot on this subject before we write about it,” she continued.
For each magazine issue, JEN has been engaging 50-60 refugees from all ages and both genders to contribute to the magazine. JEN journalists have reached out to people from various districts to cover diverse voices.

Contents included in the magazine are entirely developed and/or contributed by the Za’atari refugee community and the magazine serves as a forum to highlight and showcase works developed by refugees, interesting services provided in the camp through the participant’s perspectives and share information among the community.
“We are fully aware that the press is a social responsibility and a moral message. We are committed to objectivity, accuracy and professionalism and will not exploit the profession for personal benefit,”  concluded Al Hiraki.

[Completed the 1st workshop]
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World Water Day

2015.04.23

“Water means life, health and prosperity,” said a young participant at a three-day campaign on the occasion of World Water Day, marked on Sunday, March 22nd World.
“I believe this event tackled an important issue to those who live in the camp whether we stay at za’atari camp or went back to Syria,” he explained.
The awareness campaign, organized by JEN, was launched at Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees with the theme of water and the need to protect and conserve water.
The campaign included the publication of two main messages: “For better health, we need clean water. Let’s keep the water clean”, and “Water is for you and others; don’t waste it”.

The campaign targeted males and females from three age groups: Adults, teenagers and children.  Three different methods were used to deliver the above messages in accordance with each age group.

For Adults: Group sessions were held with refugees from both genders. During those sessions, awareness messages were discussed with the refugees through two key points: Ensuring that water is always clean and the knowledge of the share amount of water is 35 liters per day per person. Also they’ve been informed about how to save water by re-using the drainage water after cleaning the dishes to clean the floor.
During the sessions, trainers received positive reactions from the attendees regarding the value of saving water, especially when someone referred to the issue of water shortage in Jordan compared with Syria.  They also they realized that water resources in Jordan are not as abundant as they used to be in their own country, which reflected positively on their behavior in daily water use.
In addition, the process of water testing for safety and cleanliness in the camp was discussed.  Attendees indicated that they are confident of the quality of water provided to them.

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Teenagers
Many group sessions and activities targeted 14 – 18 year-old teens. Activities included a contest that aims to raise awareness of water conservation by letting them pour the water from a big bucket to many cups without spilling any water on the floor. The winner won a site visit to the water borehole inside Zaatari camp to see the borehole operation and filling the water into the trucks.

Children
Many games and activities were playful to deliver messages by the simplest ways to the kids. The games and activities that were held were face painting, performing a play, songs and drawing.

Most of the refugees who attended this event said that such activities have positive influence  on their children and encourage them to adopt  new habits concerning the usage of water.

[Water is limited resource (left)/ Keep the water safe(right)]
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Menstrual hygiene sessions for women in Za’atari camp(Part2)

2015.04.09

The Community Hygiene Promoters invite 8 -10 women to participate in the session with them.   Sometimes the sessions are held at JEN’s community center and sometimes at the hygiene promoter’s household. Generally one or two of the JEN staff attend the sessions to support the hygiene promoter.

During the sessions the women learn many new things.    There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about how they can care for themselves in a hygienic way.    Many women begin to understand what is happening in their bodies each month for the first time.  They also ask a lot of questions that go beyond our hygiene sessions so we refer them the doctors in the camp when that happens.  The women are very interested to be learning about this topic.

At the end of the session each woman receives a hygiene kit that was donated to JEN by UN Women.  It contains many supplies that they can use to care for themselves and also items they can use to keep the house clean.

What are the most surprising things we learned through creating these sessions?
Originally we didn’t think that women would be interested.  And we thought that they would already know everything we had to say.   But, we quickly found out that some of them have a lot of questions.  One interesting myth that comes up is related to food.  Some women thought that eating certain foods like lemon, onion, or coffee would be harmful for them and that they also tend to stop cooking during menstruation fearing that the food will be spoiled for their families.    The CHPs have become experts at correcting myths and providing true information.

What will we do next?
The menstrual hygiene topic is so popular that many more women have asked to volunteer as Community Hygiene Promoters with JEN.  Two weeks ago, we conducted an orientation session with 16 new volunteers.  Now they know the general topics of how to communicate, how diarrhea spreads, proper hand washing techniques and times.  The women who are already giving menstrual hygiene sessions are also asking for other topics to discuss.  We have already begun developing a training for them about dental hygiene and after that we will decide on the messages about water conservation.

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Menstrual hygiene sessions for women in Za’atari camp(Part1)

2015.03.26

Za’atari Camp has about 83,500 refugees living in it at the moment.  Almost exactly half are women.   In the districts where JEN works there are about 3,600 women between ages 12 and 39 years old. Knowledge about how to handle menstruation and other women’s topics is usually shared between mother or aunt and the younger generation.  Many women in the camp did not receive any formal education about health or hygiene so they don’t always have accurate information to share.  Also, many families have been split apart so that daughters are here without the women in the family who would normally guide them.  JEN decided to offer menstrual hygiene sessions in the camp to help women and adolescent girls understand how to care for themselves.

In February, six JEN staff began preparing menstrual hygiene messages to share with the women in the camp.   We met four times to discuss what the important things are for women to know. We developed diagrams and simple messages to explain what the menstrual cycle is and how to handle it hygienically and we developed responses to myths we thought that people would ask us about.   One way that JEN spreads hygiene messages in the community is through volunteer Community Hygiene Promoters.  For this topic we trained 13 female Community Hygiene Promoters on the information that we prepared.  Since menstrual hygiene can be a little uncomfortable for people to discuss we had the Community Hygiene Promoters practice delivering the session to each other in small groups before sharing it with women in the community.  We asked each Community Hygiene Promoter to commit to delivering the session 3 times over the next 2 months.

What happens at the CHP Sessions?

(To Be Continued)

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Finally, it completed constructing classrooms in 3 schools!

2015.03.12

Colourful flowers are blooming around Jordan. Spring is just around the corner.
A new semester has started at the second week of February in public schools.

【The new classroom has been used from the new semester (Al-Mattalah Primary Mixed School) 】
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The north 3 governorates, Irbid, Mafraq and Ajloun, have accepted huge numbers of Syrian refugees so far. One of the places, Naimeh, where JEN’s target school exists was the most crowded area by Syrian and it is said that its population is more than Jordanian.
There is a primary school for boys located 4 km away from Naimeh, but it is too far to commute on foot. Naimeh Primary Mixed School has absorbed children even though the number has exceeded the limitation because it is the only school that female students can enrol around this area. Thus, the classrooms were overcrowded.

【Female students in crowded classroom (Naimeh Primary Mixed School)】
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It is found in host communities that there are some parents stop children schooling. This is because learning environment is bad for children due to narrow space, pre-fabricated classroom and/or double-shifting.
JEN’s support of classroom expansion is ‘killing THREE birds with one stone’ because to avoid losing education opportunity, dropping out and to keep education quality through improving learning environment.
In a tough situation for both Syrian refugees and Jordanian host community members, what Syrian and Jordanian children continue to study in suitable learning environment JEN contributes can provide better future for both countries.
The school assessment JEN host community mentioned in previous blog article is in process. Using the result, JEN will contribute to create appropriate learning environment in public schools.

【The classrooms seeing from the back side (Naimeh Primary Mixed School)】
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【Inside the newly constructed classroom (Saqir Quraish Primary School for Boys)】
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