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Innovation labs promote learning-by-doing for young people

By Laila Azzeh - Jan 14,2016 - Last updated at Jan 14,2016

JOHUD Executive Director Farah Daghistani attends a ceremony marking the official inauguration of four innovation labs, on Wednesday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Four innovation labs in different parts of Jordan officially opened on Wednesday seeking to create a “unique” atmosphere that fosters entrepreneurship among young people. 

The UNICEF-supported labs, incubated by the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), are inculcating the learning-by-doing concept, nurturing the ideas of marginalised young people to grow into innovative ventures that contribute to their development, in addition to that of their communities. 

The facilities, established with donations from the EU and Germany, through the German Development Bank (KfW), are expected to serve around 15,000 beneficiaries between the ages of 10 and 24, according to JOHUD. 

Three of the labs are managed by JOHUD, while the fourth, located in the Zaatari Refugee Camp, is run by the NRC. 

After engaging in the Zaatari innovative lab, a group of young people have decided to focus on improving lives of refugees with disabilities, designing wheelchairs that can be used in the camp. 

For 16-year-old Rahaf Siouf, her experience as a fellow of one of the JOHUD-run labs “goes far deeper than the leadership and technical skills” she gained.

“The lab has changed the way I perceive the world. I sense a difference in the way I and girls my age think. I am more engaged in community problems and have faith in my ability to effect the change,” Siouf told The Jordan Times. 

At a ceremony marking the official inauguration of the labs, JOHUD Executive Director Farah Daghistani voiced her appreciation of the partnership with UNICEF, along with other partners, which is geared towards providing young people with better opportunities. 

She cited the ability of JOHUD, through its centres across the country, to mobilise youths to serve their local communities. 

Unleashing the potential of young people —  regardless of their nationality — and empowering them to come up with solutions to social issues are the main aims of the innovation labs, which focus on four main pillars; I-Learn, I-Design, I-Change and I-Compete. 

“I would also like to emphasise the ‘we’ next to the ‘I’, because we need each other to learn, and we need each other to change,” said Jacob Arts, education and youth programme manager at the EU Delegation in Jordan.

On behalf of the German embassy, Nina Lutter, development counsellor, underlined the significance of the innovation facilities in putting young people in the position of taking charge of their own lives, which allows them to shape the future of their countries. 


The ceremony included a Skype dialogue between beneficiaries of the labs in Amman, Madaba, Irbid and Zaatari.

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