200 YOUTH VOLUNTEERS AWARDED AT HEFORSHE CLOSING CEREMONY FOR REACHING 20.000 COMMITMENTS ON WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
Date: Monday, July 15, 2019
Amman, Jordan. In partnership with the Greater Amman Municipality and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the Arabic HeforShe movement organized a closing ceremony to mark the conclusion of its second phase and to commemorate the milestone achievement of 20,000 commitments reached across the Kingdom in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment. Launched in 2015 in Jordan, Arabic HeforShe engaged more than 500 youth volunteers in Jordan’s universities and communities, 200 of whom were awarded during the closing ceremony.
"When I was enrolled in university, I used to be part of many initiatives and I even funded some myself. One day a girl came me and made me noticed that I was very lucky. Being a man, I could travel outside the city and attend many events, while she felt that, as a girl, she didn’t have the same freedom due to social pressure and stereotypes. This was the turning point, I knew I had to do something to change this" affirmed Mr. Laith Abu Taleb, Arabic HeforShe Founder and Coordinator. "I founded the Arabic HeforShe movement because I believe we deserve to live in a better world, where men and women can have the same opportunities" he added.
Over the years, HeforShe volunteers organized more than 100 advocacy activities, including two ‘University tours’ that involved 10 universities in 6 governorates of Jordan to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.
"What made the experience of Arabic HeforShe volunteers truly special and unique was their capacity to create a movement relevant for Jordan, to lead the conversation from a youth and grass-root perspective, and to stimulate their peers to critically reflect on what does it practically mean to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment in all spheres of life" affirmed Diya Nanda on behalf of UN Women.
Presidents, Directors and Deans of partnering universities were present at the closing ceremony. In addition, the youth-led movement pioneered innovative advocacy platforms to advocate for women’s empowerment and specific ‘HeForShe Clubs’ have been established, including: art, public debate, public speaking, theatre and the recently established languages.
"The Greater Amman Municipality works in partnership with international institutions and organizations to promote youth engagement, fostering greater cooperation between the public and private sector. The Municipality also promotes women’s economic empowerment, skills building, leadership and civic engagement to achieve sustainable development" was affirmed during the ceremony according to a statement delivered on behalf of H.E. Dr. Yousef Al Shawarbeh, Mayor of the Greater Amman Municipality.
The work of Jordanian HeforShe volunteers has been acknowledged globally, through the International HeforShe Council, and they supported the creation of similar movements across the region and beyond. Moving forward, HeforShe volunteers seek to reach out to more constituencies outside Amman, forging new partnerships with the academia and the private sector, targeting university students and fresh graduates heading into the labour market. They also set new benchmarks for future HeforShe commitments, aiming for 200,000 in Jordan and more than 2 million in the MENA region.
A statement delivered on behalf of the Minister of Culture and Youth, H.E. Dr. Mohammed Abu Rumman, emphasized that "As per priority areas of action of the National Youth Strategy (2019-2025), the Ministry of Youth is partnering with national institutions, as well as international organizations, to promote youth civic engagement and political participation - especially among young women - as well as youth’s access to the labour market, while combating all forms of violence, promoting healthy lifestyles, and incentivizing educational opportunities and the use of technology."
Advocacy efforts by HeforShe volunteers have been supported by a number of partners and sponsors, including: Ministry of Youth; Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Amman; the Governments of France, Finland, Iceland and Italy; Greater Amman Municipality, Metropolis; JOHUD; Waragami, SDGs Advocates, Jodel, Community; Farah Al Nas Radio; and the Institut Francais Jordanie.
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Susan Al Hilo
Media focal point