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Civil society actors need enhanced advocacy skills — experts

By Camille Dupire - Feb 26,2018 - Last updated at Feb 26,2018

Participants in the Advocacy and Civil Society Forum take part in a panel discussion in Amman recently (Photo courtesy of ACTED)

AMMAN — A forum aimed at highlighting civil society’s contribution in supporting national development has shed light on the importance of enhancing their advocacy skills.

The Advocacy and Civil Society Forum was organised by the Agency For Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) in Amman, with the aim of promoting a coordinated intervention, supporting local and national NGOs, and enhancing Community Based Organisations’ (CBOs) capacities in advocacy work.

The forum marked the conclusion of a one-year project implemented by ACTED, managed by the National Centre for Human Rights and funded by the EU, which sought to empower four CBOs in northern Jordan.

In his opening speech, head of cooperation of the EU in Jordan Ibrahim Laafia stressed the importance of the role played by civil society, stressing the EU’s willingness to support organisations “capable to participate in the national effort towards political and economic reforms undertaken by the Jordanian government”.

“We are thirsty to have real change,” said Murad from the Dibeen Foundation during a discussion on the advocacy ecosystem in Jordan.

The importance of advocacy was further stressed by a representative of the charity organisation Sailors for Art who said: “advocacy enables individuals to become actors and not just viewers”, stated.

Participants later took part in practical advocacy workshops, during which they outlined the various challenges CBOs are facing.

“This forum aims to reflect on the next steps towards a sustainable strategy for continued support to Jordan’s civil society… and on how to ensure a better coordination among key actors, international and local and authorities to respond to the consequences of the Syrian crisis and promote the sustainability of their intervention,” the organisers said in a statement.

Some 70 organisations including civil society organisations, national and international NGOs, and donors took part in the forum. 

The manager of Our Step Association, a society aimed at supporting people with psychological problems to defend their rights with decision makers, stated: “We are not just a project,” reacting to a discussion about the role and perception of local organisations by international actors. 

ACTED country director, Hanalia Ferhan, furthered the idea by stressing “donors need to be more aware of the needs on the ground as voiced by local actors”.

All participants agreed on the need to strengthen the role and coordination of local actors in the civil society and advocacy landscape in Jordan.

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