Women Democratic Empowerment, a project funded by the EU Delegation to Jordan, is one of Al Hayat Center-RASED project falling under the Accountability, Governance and Participation – RASED (The Observer) program. The project aims to mainly strengthen the capacity of women in rural areas and female municipal members for them to be able to defend women’s rights and participation in Jordan through interrelated activities that focus on civic education, networking skills, advocacy, and knowledge about mechanisms for defending women’s rights.
In order to ensure the project’s sustainability and establish a framework, the Network of Jordanian Women to Defend Women’s Rights and Participation materialized in May 2013 with a view to serving as a tool providing assistance and support to any Jordanian woman who has the ambition and passion to engage in the political action in all its ways and means. The network targets female activists in Jordan, with a focus on women in rural areas and the less fortunate in the Kingdom with the aim of reaching a segment of the society usually excluded from events and programs. The network has 120 members from different governorates, including current and former female municipal members, female activists from different governorates, and CBOs all-round the Kingdom.
The project aims to involve the maximum possible number of women in Jordan. In order to achieve this goal, Al-Hayat Center devised an active participatory approach that starts from housewives' homes to conduct low-cost dialogue sessions, where women exchange their opinions on current political issues and their political role as female citizens. These session are coordinated by a facilitator trained on peer education skills, called “Kitchen Meeting”, which allow the project team to reach women who had participated for the first time in such activities instead of spending resources on women who were involved in previous projects.
Several trainings were conducted to the network’s members on advocacy, campaigns management, building coalitions, communication skills, initiatives design, gender responsive budgeting, and strategies and conventions related to women’s rights and participation. Also, meetings were held between groups from the network and political parties, local and international organizations, MPs, independent commissions, and civil society organizations to discuss major women's rights that are being violated. Also, national conferences were held with the attendance of a number of media outlets and political figures to gain support on women’s issues.