What world is the youth is actually living in?

Jordan is a country in which you can witness pluralism due to the diverse populations residing in Jordan coming from different origins (57 nationalities living in Jordan), ethnicities and cultural backgrounds. However, Jordan is located in a volatile region where political instability, tension, war, and proxy warfare has taken place for so long. Jordan is well known for hosting various waves of refugees from Iraq 66,262, Syria 657,628, Yemen 9,838, Sudan 4,058, Somalia 810 and others 1,564 according to the Fact Sheet issued by the UNHCR (Jordan, Feb. 2018). 

According to the Global Conflict Tracker (November 2021), there are currently 5 conflicts of worsening conflict status across the globe (2 of which are in the Middle East and North Africa) in addition to 21 conflicts of unchanging status (7 of which are in the Middle East and North Africa). This includes 8 different types of conflicts: civil war, criminal violence, interstate, political instability, sectarian, territorial dispute, transnational violent extremism, and unconventional.

According to the World Data Atlas, Jordans happiness index score is 4.40 out of 10 (2020), whereas the prosperity index score for Jordan is 56.59 (2020). These numbers are considered low, even though Jordan is working very hard towards achieving greater prosperity for its citizens. According to the statistics produced by the Jordanian Department of Statistics, Jordan is a young country. The total number of the Jordanian population is 10554 million for the year 2019. As per age group, the total number of population is as follow:

– Age group 15 – 19 years old: 1,025,110
– Age group 20 – 24 years old: 1,023,120
– Age group 25-29 years old; 898,340

A continuous state of instability and insecurity in the region, in addition to the presence of Generation-Z, augments the sense of social injustice among those who are under stress. Generation-Z were born after the internet era so the concept the world being a small global village that is connected virtually, is their living reality. With this comes the comparison and being aware which countries are more stable and happy in comparison to those who are not. 

These factors, among many others such as natural disasters, consequences of climate change, and epidemics, put people and communities under tremendous stress for an extended duration. This may lead to the breaking of the normal youth development process that ensures that the youth grow and live in a world of justice, dignity and rights for all. The reality is that many nations in many parts of the world are struggling to ensure the very basic needs of society, whilst others are enjoying their self-actualization by all means.

Social cohesion  

Recognition, belonging, legitimacy, participation and inclusion

In order to achieve and sustain positive peace and prosperity in a community, we need to mainstream peacebuilding and make it relevant to people in a way where they would conciously and intentionally choose building positive peace on a daily basis. In order to make this happen, it is crucial to work on strengthening societal resilience,as well as to mainstream it, and to provide tools and competency for resilience strengthening.

Understanding context

Youth are not just a number that falls between 18-30 years old. It is important to have a clear understanding of who they are and their profile: what they like, what they do not like, which music they listen to and why it influences them, what their values are, how they like to spend their time, what worries them, why they are connected, what they are doing online, which social media platforms they use and why, and their perception about everything they have inherited from history and the current reality of the world in which they live.

There are complex conflicts existing nowadays and this requires a deeper understanding and collaboration with youth. Conflict management is the shared responsibility of a community, nation, region or even the entire world.

Theory of Change 

Strenghtening resilience

IDARE believes in youth as the driving force towards development as a comprehensive sustainable concept where social, economic and political dimensions are equally respected. We believe in the transformative power of positive behavior change led by youth. We are committed to supporting the creation of peaceful societies built upon actively engaged individuals taking control of their own lives and building solutions leading to sustainable development.

In the current context of growing apathy, social conflicts, and violence, we need more engaged and active conscious citizens to counter these trends. There is a substantial gap between the current level of engagement that exists in the world and the level of engagement IDARE is trying to generate. However, since young people have historically shown that they have the potential to be active and inspiring models for society, to generate innovative ideas and to lead positive change for themselves and others, we believe they are best placed to lead this movement.

Our vision of change rests on the belief that youth are able to determine the critical issues, causes, and pathways necessary to generate positive behavior change in their societies. They can spearhead the process of change and can lead to real results for others affected by their changes.

Enabling youth agency

Building on several years of engagement with youth in Jordan, IDARE has identified three essential components that enhance the capacity of youth to use their agency to lead social change: when they have increased abilities and strengthened competencies that allow them to act on change, when they have increased access to resources and tools that allow them to determine and lead change and when their operating environment is receptive to their proposed changes.

Although the first component related to youth increasing their abilities and competencies is central in developing their agency, the three components can be worked on separately if needed. However, optimal change can be achieved if each component is addressed in connection to one other. Furthermore, youth will have ownership over which component would work best in accordance to their needs and priorities.

1. Investment in youth’s abilities and competencies.
2. Access to tools and spaces for youth to apply their agency.
3. Enabling environment for youth to exercise their agency.

1. Investment in youth’s abilities and competencies

IDARE operates with a model of developing self-awareness, inner readiness, enhancing knowledge, developing skills and changing attitudes through a process of lifelong learning. Individuals can, therefore, become empowered to select issues, changes, and mechanisms that they identify as being the most suitable for the positive changes that matter most to them. All work on abilities has an additional focus on incorporating technical capacity building, such as structured dialogue, violent extremism, and countering hate speech. IDare also provides training, workshops and one on one coaching to better develop their abilities and competencies for them to lead changes.

2. Access to tools and spaces for youth to apply their agency

IDARE supports youth through improving their access to tools and resources. These tools and resources can offer youth safe spaces to explore their ideas, or platforms to magnify their reach. This combination of platforms, safe spaces, access to funding and networking opportunities allows for youth to achieve their potential in a flexible environment. Some examples of these tools and resources are; daring hub, e-spaces & knowledge hub, makers space, creation hub, building national & regional coalitions, funding, and networking.

3. Enabling environment for youth to exercise their agency

Through a power and context analysis, IDARE identified that policy influencing and advocacy work could help improve the enabling environment for youth. Policy and advocacy work can be an effective tool at countering harmful and counter-productive perceptions of youth in society and by legal, political, social and economic institutions. Policy influencing strategies can be especially effective at creating a legal-political framework that can protect youth seeking to promote positive change.

In a number of situations in the development sector when dealing with behavioral goals related to preventing or stopping online hate speech behavior, or outlining an intervention mix that would prevent violent extremism, or mainstreaming a peaceful behavior, challenges vary between lack of baseline numbers, reliable research, and context relevancy.

Part of our approach relies on having an informative scoping phase of action research that is well investigating the issue under study and goes deeper into identifying the relevant social norms.

Human-centered design

IDARE pays close attention to the right holders we work with and therefore having a human-centered design is a crucial step towards ensuring that we are starting from having a proper understanding of the right holders we work with, we are able to grasp their needs and with using creative approaches towards addressing those needs and providing innovative solutions that would speak to them.

IDare’s competency model for strengthening societal resilience

IDARE team together with the youth, we invested in the whole of 2018 using a human-centered design process towards identifying IDARE’s 15 competency model that would make a young person more resilient. IDARE competency model is integrated into our programs where youth will have the chance to work on developing or acquiring one or more of these competencies through approaching three dimensions: knowledge, skills, and attitudes for each competency.

Unleashing youth agency: intellectual and economic

IDARE promotes Positive Youth Development (PYD) through IDARE’s competency model which are communication, sharing knowledge, teamwork, sense of initiative, sense of responsibility, open-mindedness, self-awareness, critical thinking, learning to learn, creativity, inner readiness, intellectual autonomy, empathy, self-confidence, and adaptation to change.

innovations

A.C.T.

If we visualise the DNA helix which is composed of two strands, IDARE considers the youth is one strand of the DNA and IDARE is the second strand. Both strands are necessary to form the DNA. IDARE work hand in hand with the youth through:

01 Acquire

Capacity building and non-formal learning methodologies

Part of IDARE work is to provide spaces, means, and facilitators for the knowledge and learning aspects. For that, IDare designs its own pedagogy and training kits based on non-formal learning methodologies. IDare delivers its capacity building through; residential training camps, workshops, and learning sessions.

02 Create

Initiatives

After equipping the right holders with knowledge and learning, then they will be ready to move into the creation part where the youth are expected and encouraged to design and implement their own youth-led initiatives that might be classified under general, media, and art youth-led initiatives.

03 Transform

Positive transformation

Positive societal transformation is the ultimate goal to be achieved for the identified problem, challenge or the desired positive change to take place. As part of reaching phase 3, it would be time for assessing the learning and development plan of the youth.

Emotional intelligence and wellbeing

IDARE focuses heavily on the emotional understanding and wellbeing of individuals. IDare believes that dialogue, mutual respect, and social cohesion and peacebuilding starts from having a prosperous status of emotional intelligence and wellbeing.

Building the capacities of people, we work with around understanding feelings and emotions and how they are influencing our decisions and taking part even in shaping our life and future. It is important to have the time to start working on our intelligence from the emotional side and to increase our vocabulary we are using while realising that we can move from one spectrum to the opposite one in order to boost our wellbeing and state of mind.

Having a profound understanding of who we are, why and how we are behaving the way we do, makes us more understanding and even more empathetic to the ones around us. All of this would lead to the overall wellbeing of the whole society and most importantly, everyone will start from their own small network among families and friends.

Identity

IDARE lay the foundation by having some time dedicated to have an understanding and a reflection about our identities; individual and collective ones. The learning session(s) evolves around the individuals and the communities.

To understand and to go deeper into what makes us who we are and perhaps to go through the power around our identity and how to interact with others’ identities. It can be one exercise or a series of inter-related exercise serving a certain objective. It will always depend on group dynamics and the topic being covered.