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Eight young Jordanians train to become ‘voice of SDG advocacy’

By Camille Dupire - Sep 25,2017 - Last updated at Sep 25,2017

Aisha Salman, Arwa Abuhajar, Rawan Abu Ain, Asma Al Dahleh, Rama Kharabsheh, Anas Abu Joudah and Mohammad Bani Khaled take part in a UN training in Amman recently (Photo courtesy of UN in Jordan Facebook page)

AMMAN — “I always believed that if I want to do something with real impact, I have to use my passion. This is why I used my passion in paper art Origami and photography to reflect my role in making a change in our world holding the message of peace and education,” Aisha Salman told The Jordan Times on Monday.

The 24-year-old is one of the eight young Jordanians who recently concluded a UN training session aimed at transitioning them into official advocates of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the Kingdom.

Salman, along with Arwa Abuhajar, Rawan Abu Ain, Asma Al Dahleh, Rama Kharabsheh, Anas Abu Joudah and Mohammad Bani Khaled, was selected to become a “UN SDG Advocate” after she won an online photo competition organised by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, in cooperation with the UN Communications Group.

“This training has been a great opportunity to get a better understanding of the SDGs and the general UN framework,” said Mohammad Bani Khaled, and added “as an SDG Advocate in Jordan, I feel that I am a real partner of the government and the community in general in the achievement of the SDGs, and I can tackle the important issues in my country.”

Adopted by world leaders in September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to end all forms of poverty, inequalities and environmental degradation, while ensuring that no one is left behind, according to the UN website. 

Since the agenda came into force in 2016, national-level strategies have been drafted to help governments establish national framework for the achievements of the 17 Global Goals. As Nora Isayan, Communication Analyst at the Office of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, explained: “The implementation of the SDGs in Jordan is entirely done through local actors, under the leadership of the Government of Jordan.”

By forming a local team of advocates, she continued, the Planning Ministry and the UN sought to “empower a group of youth so they can be able to spread the word about the SDGs and raise awareness among their community”.

Coming from various parts of the country, with diverse backgrounds, these youth are being trained to become the “voice of the SDGs” in the Kingdom, while retaining their closeness to the local communities in the north, centre and south of Jordan.

“Being a SDG advocate has given me an opportunity to learn more about the objectives that the world wishes to reach for a healthy and suitable environment for everyone; it has made me responsible for spreading awareness around me,” Rawan Abu Ain explained, adding, “I have learned that every person in this world can help preserve environmental resources and that’s what I want people to know.”

When asked about their motivation in representing the global goals, each of the advocates had a different answer, drawing from their personal experiences: either a deeply rooted care for the environment, a desire to see societal change or a sense of national duty, among others.

An inclusive agenda that covers all aspects of humanhood, the SDGs encompass the fields of environment, education, peace and economic prosperity, according to the UN website.

SDG 4, Quality in Education, has been defined as one of the most pressing issues in the Kingdom, with renewed calls by local actors to enhance the level of education for all children.

This is what pushed Anas Abu Joudah, a 30-year-old from Madaba, to take part in the initial competition. “My motivation comes from work itself. I work in the education field and I believe that teaching is one of the best tools to create the change that we wish to see in the world and to both influence and share our experience with the next generations,” he said.

Trained in photography, infographics and on the sustainable development framework, among other skills, the young advocates, who are participating on a voluntary basis, are being empowered to become active agents of change in the national SDG strategy.

The trainings’ organisers voiced their hope to see a domino effect being triggered in society: “When we empower a small group of youth like this one, we expect them to empower other youth in their schools, universities and workplaces, who will in turn reach out to wider communities,” Isayan told The Jordan Times.

“With this approach we confirm our commitment to support the Government of Jordan in the achievement of the global goals.”


“Being a UN Advocate is a great opportunity for us [the youth] to create change in Jordan and work hand in hand to deliver messages about the SDGs and how to achieve them,” Arwa Abuhajar concluded.

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