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Active citizenship required to lead positive change — Princess Basma

By JT - Dec 14,2014 - Last updated at Dec 14,2014

AMMAN — Active and responsible citizenship is the cornerstone for sustainable social development, HRH Princess Basma said late last week.

Speaking at a ceremony at the Queen Zein Al Sharaf Institute for Development (ZENID) to honour participants in the Active Citizens programme, Princess Basma stressed that change requires commitment, vision and implementation within a suitable legislative and institutional framework.

Young people today face many tough challenges, she said, noting that the absence of gender equality exacerbates these challenges, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported on Saturday.

The Active Citizens project prepares young people to become instigators of change by enhancing their sense of identity and investing in their potential, the princess said.

The programme is implemented by the British Council, in partnership with Princess Basma Youth Resource Centre (PBYRC), the Jordanian National Forum for Women, the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), Mizan Law Group, the Hub for Disability, Sisterhood is Global Institute and Leaders of Tomorrow, according to a British Council statement. 

Princess Basma honoured programme participants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uganda, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and the UK who were in Jordan “to see first-hand the work the British Council is conducting in partnership with various local organisation to support Jordan’s community”, the statement said.

“Community workers spent seven days in five different areas across the Kingdom, learning how their Jordanian counterparts have created projects that have improved people’s lives,” it added.

“The international study visits aim at providing active community members the chance to learn from the experience of their counterparts globally to develop ideas, gather inspiration and share expertise on how to run projects that impact their communities,” the statement quoted Robin Rickard, British Council Jordan country director, as saying. 

During the ceremony, attended by JOHUD Executive Director Farah Daghestani, Princess Basma was briefed on a number of initiatives implemented by members of PBYRC branches across Jordan which have improved the lives of local communities, Petra reported.

The projects entail raising legal and environmental awareness among Jordanians, integrating people with disabilities in social work, and empowering women socially and economically.

Princess Basma said JOHUD has gender equality as its top priority, in addition to targeting women and young people within its keenness on enhancing social participation.

She also commended the Active Citizens programme and its goals to effect change in society, noting that it offers a vital opportunity to individuals, especially those marginalised by society, to raise their voices as active members of their community and leaders of positive change.

“Active Citizens is a community cohesion programme delivered by the British Council in partnership with organisations who share the same objectives. It has been delivered in over 40 countries worldwide, through local organisations, who deliver the programme to small groups at community level,” the statement said. 

Participants go through a “learning journey” and then go on to implement social-action projects for the benefit of their local communities, according to the British Council. 

Since 2009, the project has trained 74 facilitators in Jordan through working with 12 civil society organisations, according to Dana Yanis, senior programme manager at the British Council.

Thirty-nine projects and social initiatives have been implemented within the project, Petra quoted Yanis as saying.

Also at the ceremony, Princess Basma presented certificates to the participants and toured an exhibition showcasing their initiatives.

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