The Jordan River Foundation (JRF) is a non-governmental organization established in 1995 that is affiliated with the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development (QRF).
JRF works on two major fronts:
Child safety: JRF programs incorporate prevention and intervention models for child safety which are responsive to local needs and priorities.
Community empowerment: JRF provides training programs to ensure that local communities have the knowledge, tools, and resources needed to be self-reliant and sustainable.
JRF provides home-grown solutions to a range of national challenges. More than 14% of Jordanians live under the poverty line, many in the nation’s 27 concentrated poverty pockets. Forty-eight percent of people aged 15-24 in Jordan are unemployed. Economic struggles are accompanied by social challenges—in 2011, 7,930 cases of abuse against women and children were reported. JRF works in the poorest locations and with the most vulnerable people, providing a diverse range of opportunities depending on their needs and priorities.
JRF’s Child Safety Program supports youth and their families from early childhood, through their teenage years.
The Community Empowerment Program works with all members of local communities—children, youth and adults as well as community-based organizations (CBOs), both as partners and as recipients of capacity-building.
In total, JRF has partnered with over 800 public, private and civil society organizations.
The Jordan River Child Safety Program (CSP)
The Child Safety Program improves child safety and child-raising practices in Jordan by providing comprehensive training and services for children, victims of child abuse and their families. JRF also raises awareness among the general public and builds capacity in child protection and child safety with all stakeholders who work with children nationally.
Four services fall under this program:
Dar Al-Aman (‘Safe house’ in Arabic): This is a safe home where abused children are cared for and treated on a temporary basis until they are placed in a stable home. One caregiver takes responsibility for a group of 5-6 children, and each child is supported academically, medically and psycho-socially. Dar Al-Aman provides children with love, safety and stability with a focus on healing their physical and emotional wounds.
‘110’: 110 is a toll-free telephone helpline aimed at children and staffed by trained counselors who listen, treat callers with confidentiality and unconditional acceptance, and, where necessary, refer callers to appropriate institutions. Currently this helpline is promoted principally in Zarqa and Amman but is accessible from all over the country.
The Queen Rania Family and Child Center: This center runs preventative and awareness-raising programs for children, parents, youth and professionals. They also provide training for organizations working with children.
Counseling and psychosocial services: At-risk children and families alongside victims of abuse are offered counselling and psychological services. Participants can request these services independently or they can be recommended to them after taking part in one of JRF’s activities.
Creating awareness and sensitization: As part of JRF’s preventative approach, JRF creates community awareness of child safety and family wellness through brochures, campaigns, and other mediums.
The Jordan River Community Empowerment Program (CEP)
This program provides expertise, guidance, and financial support for local projects that open up opportunities for people in local communities. The program further aims to empower them by proving that they have the capacity to change their own lives and take on the leadership of their own development.
All CEP projects have three guiding principles: community participation, sustainability and economic empowerment. There are over 20 projects catering to a range of age groups that fall under this program, divided into four categories:
Comprehensive rural development: This project mobilizes communities and develops their skills through training, setting up income-generating projects owned by the communities and improving accessibility of services to the community.
Handicrafts projects: Through handicrafts JRF aims to create opportunities for women and empower them socially and economically. Examples of this include the Jordan River Designs project (Al-Karma Center) which includes a productive kitchen and a traditional embroidering workshop. Another well-established project is the Jabal Bani Hamida project, which produces and markets handmade traditional Bedouin rugs and other products. JRF is in the process of establishing ethical trading and Fairtrade certification for these projects.
Youth empowerment: JRF focuses on youth’s civic engagement and employability through two main projects: the Youth Career Initiative and year-round internships and volunteering opportunities for university students all over Jordan. Both projects develop employment skills and nurture social responsibility by providing resources and training in economic participation, child protection and child safety, peer-to-peer teaching, as well as through extra curricula activities like sports and arts. JRF also creates youth-friendly spaces for the social and physical support of youth.
Civil society empowerment: Empowering the civil society involves the creation of networks where knowledge is exchanged and training is provided alongside financial support to organizations. For example, for the Ajloun community-run ‘cold storage for farmers’ project, JRF trained farmers to grow appropriate vegetables that can be stored in freezers, to manage the community freezer and their finances.
Training and Consultancy Division
Throughout JRF’s programs and across all of their projects, there is a tried and tested model for successful community mobilization and specific training modules. As a result, JRF is equipped to provide strategic training and consultation to professionals, national organizations, and public institutions. The training programs are unique, as they are organic and flexible and build on homegrown local solutions.
The Jordan River Foundation has succeeded in improving the well-being and socio-economic status of thousands of people in a variety of ways. More than 148,742 people have benefited from the Community Empowerment Program, including 3,562 people who started their own projects, 10,895 people who gained better income opportunities and nearly 51,514 young people and youth associations who benefited from awareness and employability skills trainings. 1,592 young people benefited from opportunities to start up their own businesses.
Since 1997, a total of 317,351 people benefited from the JRF Child Safety Program, including 13,881 child protection workers who increased their efficiency and awareness in child safety. Furthermore, 36,041 women, children and families have benefited from child protection activities and trainings.
Training and Consultancy Division has reached 31,963 people during 2013 – 2015 of which 4,566 professionals and 27,397 parents, teachers, students and children.
“We took part in an entrepreneurial course through the Jordan River Foundation. As a result, we were able to conduct market research in our community and identified a need for an internet café for women only. We have now opened up our joint venture and wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support of the Jordan River Foundation.”
-Dalia and Saja