Friends and colleagues,

Ahel celebrates a  year of work, travel, reflection and growth. We had the pleasure of working with great people, inspiring campaigns and hopeful souls. We write you to share some of our news and some of our key learnings from 2013.

You will also find glimpses into our 2013 as we prepare to work in Palestine with Baladna’s youth and with the “Muntada” on “Lam Shaml” family unification campaign. We are also returning to Lebanon to continue supporting and learning from the Right to Work campaign and to run an open recruitment workshop in partnership with Amel Organization. Our work in Jordan started with Sadaqa campaign and a case study of independent trade unions activism. We will of course continue writing and publishing from our experience on mujtama3i.org.

Read more and don’t hesitate to connect with us to support us, advise us and challenge us. Wishing you a healthy and active 2013.

Table of contents:
1. Our people
2. Campaigns we supported
3. Workshops we conducted
4. Our network
5. Our writing
We are happy to communicate with you:
Mais@ahel.org,
Nisreen.haj@ahel.org,
Reem@ahel.org
Jaber Bin Hayan St. Shmesani–
Amman– Jordan
Tel: 0096277625713348
info@ahel.org
www.ahel.org

Good company brings good. Like the wind, if it passes by good scents, it spreads it." Imam Ali

 

Our learning space

Mujtama3i is a ​​learning space initiated by Nisreen Haj Ahmad in 2010 in Amman, which aims to keep learning alive and focused on interdependent leadership, value based community organizing, and political and civic engagement.  One of those learning spaces happens once every two weeks through the learning circle attended by our pool of community organizing coaches in Jordan: Nisreen Haj Ahmed, Mais Irqsusi, Samar Dudin, Kefah Adnan, Rawan Zeine,  Nora Awad, Reem Manna, Eman Nimri, Sawsan Zaatari, and Mays Zoubi. We read , critique,  analyze and question. We then integrate new learning in our practice of facilitating, training and coaching campaigns. This gathering has been going on for almost three years. Last June, Marshall Ganz who developed the value based organizing with whom we learn and teach attended one of the circles in Amman. (picture)
Early 2012, we launched an online learning platform www.mujtama3i.org where we share campaign updates and post our reflections. This website is part of Mujtama3i social media presence together with our Twitter account & Facebook alumni group .

Mujtama3i members learn with us and facilitate trainings for the various campaigns. This group has grown to become 20 has also extended to Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. In Syria it includes Khaled Bakrawi, Ashraf Hamza, and Ibrahim al-Deeb. In Palestine, it includes Hassan Karajeh and Fadi Qura'an. In addition to the participants of the learning circle, last year other members joined our training team namely Dr. Muhannad Alazza, Amal  Yaghi, Tariq Abu ElHawa. Krystel Tabet, and Sally Shallaby.
Mujtama3i website: http://mujtama3i.org
Mujtama3i Facebook Page: http://on.fb.me/W7c6o9
Mujtama3i twitter: @Mujtama3i
 

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or to be the mirror reflecting it.” Edith Wharton

 
Since 2013, Ahel has directly conducted 12 workshops and supported five campaigns. The journey of supporting campaigns and working with community leaders is full of learning and challenge.
 

The first campaign: Beyoot Amineh (translates to Safe Homes)

 

In partnership with Samar Dudin from Ruwwad, Ahel conducted a workshop to support the community organize a campaign to stop domestic physical violence in Jabal Nadeef. "Safe Homes" campaign emerged out of this workshop.  An 18 months campaign to reduce physical violence against children at home and elsewhere. We worked with the  campaign community from March until mid-June. Ahel conducted an SSS workshop to clarify the essence of the campaign with the founding team, then recruited and trained 9 coaches on how to support the campaign and finally ran a community organizing workshop with more than 50 campaign organizers to develop the strategy and tactics.

Then, Ahel handed over to Samar Dudin who recruited more coaches and together with them ran more campaign workshops. Today they are 15 coaches supporting the campaign to reach 168 homes safe from physical violence against children and 332 homes seeking  safety. The campaign seeks to create that through creating consciousness, learning alternative approaches and holding accountable. The campaign collective action revolves around:

  • creating safe and supportive collective space for parents to express and understand,
  • learning child development stages and alternative parental methods
  • tactics to create awareness about the causes and reasons for physical violence
  • teaching children to protect themselves and teaching the family the meaning of protection and
  • the community holding the abuser accountable whether at home, in the street or the school.

What's distinctive about  this campaign is the integration of the organizing  approach with two other approaches to create change: one developed by Reem Abu Kishek for confessions and behavior change and the other developed by Dr. Hala Hammad on alternative parental methods.
What's worth celebrating is that Ruwwad an NGO and community center adopted a unique way of supporting and empowering communities. Through community organizing, Ruwwad motivates the constituency to be in charge of change in their neighborhood through campaigns- 6Minutes in 2011 and Safe Homes in 2012.

 
To know more about Safe Homes campaignpress here to watch the interview at Ro'ya TV.
Press here to read Samar Dudin's reflection on "Safe Homes" in English.
 
 

Coaches’ Orientation Workshops - April 2012

 
After recruiting 9 coaches to support the campaign, Ahel conducted a series of workshops to orient them on the meaning of community organizing, the phases of a campaign, the different approaches to coaching leaders and leadership teams. The first 1 day workshop focused on the meaning of leadership –enabling others to achieve shared purpose- and the trinity of coaching– heart, head and mind. How both play out during the various phases of a campaign. A lot of the workshop was role playing and scenario analysis. The second workshop focused on campaign chart envisioning and team management and meetings. The third workshop was to zoom in on community organizing practices and how to facilitate the community organizing workshop. Later Ahel’s support to the coaches led by Samar Dudin continued through the Tuesday weekly meeting in which campaign issues like metrics, peaks preparation and the various team challenges were addressed.
 

Community Organizing Workshop 28-30 April 2012

 
After the campaign core team recruited the first 47 leaders , Ahel with the coaches conducted a three day training in which campaign leaders shared their personal stories of what moves them to act, developed the strategy of the campaign and translated it in an initial campaign chart and tactics. In the workshop the leadership was formed in seven teams and investment in relational work and team formation proved to be worth while. After the workshop the teams started meeting weekly with their coach present to make their homes safe and roll out the campaign.
 

Recruitment Skill Session - 7 November 2012—Led by Samar Dudin

 
 
Samar Dudin in collaboration with 9 coaches conducted a recruitment skill session for the leaders who succeeded in making their homes safe. The objective was to train them on how to recruit through one on one meetings and indeed in 2 weeks the campaign had 57 new members in an orientation session at Ruwwad. Two weeks later they were telling their stories in a community organizing workshop.
 

Community Organizing Workshop, 2nd tier, 24 November &1 December 2012
Led by Samar Dudin

 
Samar recruited from the first tier leadership 8 more people to join the 9member coaches team. With them, she ran a community organizing workshop similar to the one mentioned above 57 new recruits. The workshop was held on two consecutive Saturdays in which campaign new leadership shared their personal narratives and constructed their geographic teams. In this workshop, a new team was created to introduce accountability and holding the abuser accountable into the discourse and practices. well as the accountability team emerged.
The second campaign: "Sar Waqtha" (translates to: It's Time)
From a workshop with the Civil Society Program, "Sar Waqtha" Campaign emerged. A campaign led by students of Jordan University which aims to make learning at Jordan University accessible for persons with physical, hearing and visual disabilities.  
Ahel met with the students in June for a Public Narrative workshop, and 12 students were recruited from the participants to organize themselves to come up with a campaign that advocates for their rights with accessibility and reasonable accommodation. In September, we conducted a two day workshop to conceptualize the campaign story, strategy and structure with the core team. The team thus created the campaign identity, objectives, and vision and called it "Sar Waqtha" “It’s Time”. Later they recruited 50 students who came for a full community organizing workshop in November.
After the workshop, the campaign became composed of five leadership teams based on responsibility and geographic reach. One of the teams the demands in a legal petition, another collected close to 1000 signatures. The president after being presented with the demands and pressure, agreed to them and gave his staff instructions to examine the accessibility of the university for students with disabilities. On 3\12 the campaign organized a university event to celebrated their success and recruit others to expand the team as they needed to monitor and keep the pressure.
The campaign currently monitors the actual changes in ramps building, elevators maintenance,  and accessible toilets in all colleges. They are also monitoring that the exams time indeed increased by 60% for students with disabilities in addition to the availability  of the curricula in accessible form and Braille. Soon they will be monitoring the availability of sign language interpreters for all majors and not just 3.
This year, we follow the campaign work from a distance, after Dr. Dr. Muhannad Alazzeh – expert in rights of persons with disability and Zeyad Moghraby and Tariq al-Bakri have taken the role of supporting the campaign in the coming period.
We are eager to see this campaign accomplish its demands and transform the University of Jordan to an accessible university for persons with hearing, visual or physical disability. We are also hopeful that this this successful experience will find its way to other universities in Jordan.
To watch Suhaib; one of the campaign organizers talking about the campaign and the launch preparation on Ro'ya television click here.
To watch Hadeel AbuSofeh and Abeer Shami speaking about Sar Waqtha Campaign. Click Here.
 
 

Public Narrative Workshop- Jordan University Students with Disability-June 4th 2012

 
The one day public narrative workshop was attended by 32 students and few parents. The most crucial learning for us as a team of trainers was that acquiring narrative skill is a cumulative practice. Meaning that many students grasped the idea of public narrative later in the day when they had to weave in the complete narrative. One of the workshop objectives was to nominate students who can later lead the campaign as the core team. Nomination was based on a set of criteria related to leadership namely empowering each other, openness to learning, and responsibility towards success. Public narrative workshop proved to provide insight in discovering potential leaders within a constituency.
 

Campaign Conceptualization 27-28
August 2012

Recruitment Skill Session
September 5-6, 2012

We conducted a workshop with a group of 12 persons with disability studying at the university of Jordan who wanted to make the University of Jordan more accessible. The workshop was conducted after a series of meetings and trainings in which they enhanced their knowledge around human rights, legal frameworks for persons with disabilities and conducted a field research on the reality of accessibility in their university.  Through this 2 day workshop, the students shared their personal narratives, formed their shared values, developed their strategic objective, map of actors and strategies which were reflected in an initial campaign chart.
Ahel team conducted a recruitment skill session that included the concept of leadership and recruitment. We focused on who to recruit, and how to recruit. We practiced one on one meetings and house meetings. Both to be used within the university campus. Both tactics worked well in expanding the leadership base of the campaign.
 

Community Organizing Workshop 15-17 November 2012

 
A workshop for  43 students divided in 6 teams: legal, media, two teams for the art faculties and two teams for the science faculties. The workshop lasted for three days during which the campaign leadership learned organizing practices, evolved their campaign, and began actual work towards their first and second peaks. The first was meeting the  President and the second was launching of the campaign on the 3rd of December which is International Day for Persons with disability. The workshop design enabled students to dive into the work which energized the group and provided ownership and seriousness.
 
 

The third campaign: "Haq Al-Amal" (translates to: Right to Work)
Evaluate & Re-launch Workshop - November 2-3 /2012

 
Haq Al-amal campaign was launched in April 2005 in Lebanon and is led by Najdeh Association and a Palestinian Lebanese Coalition of 45 active organizations. Najdeh Association is currently re-launching the campaign to more consistently advocate for Palestinian refugees’ right to work in Lebanon. Palestinians remain prohibited from belonging to professional associations and therefore prevented from professional work with the exception of Nurses Association. Palestinians need to get a work permit like foreigners although they are residents and there are some seventy jobs that they are not allowed to apply for work. The coalition campaign wanted to reform its strategy and structure to get more pull and exert more pressure in the coming years.  The idea is to become more grassroots and more strategic about targeting the unions/associations and the work permit. On the first day, we facilitated an evaluation session with 14 of the campaign coordinators from 5 different regions. On the second day the objective was to form the campaign future strategy based on the evaluation and current legal status building on what has been achieved so far.
To take a look at the campaign website http://right2work.wordpress.com/
 

Community Organizing Workshop - November 20-23 /2012

 

Right to work campaign consists of geographic teams in camps, each team is coordinated by a coordinator from Najdah Association. Members of those teams are representatives of organizations that are part of the coalition. We designed a 4 day workshop in which we trained 32 members of those campaign teams. The workshop focused on community organizing methodology and its five practices in addition to a session on campaign metrics design.

What was unique about this workshop is investing in 5 members of the campaign to become the organizing coaches and training team in the future. They were Ahel’s “shadow facilitators” who got a deeper insight into the methodology and enriched Ahel with their knowledge and wisdom about the campaign and its context .

 
 

Lam Shamel (translates to: Family Reunification)-
Campaign Conceptualization Workshop- January 18,19 -2013, Palestine 

 
Israel continues to contradict international law and its own constitution by preventing- with a temporary decree Palestinians in 1948 who marry Palestinians from elsewhere from family unification. The campaign is to question and advocate against the moratorium put on family reunification of Palestinian citizens living in historic Palestine. In collaboration with The Arab Forum for Sexuality, Education and Health, Ahel conducted a two day campaign conceptualization workshop with a core team of 11 people to launch a campaign o the issue. The workshop outputs were the creation of the campaign story, strategy , structure and initial campaign chart and action plan.  Ahel continues to coach the core team in the meantime. 
 

Sadaqa (translates to: Friendship) -
Campaign Conceptualization - February 15 - 16, 2013, Jordan

 

Sadaqa is a campaign to implement Article 72 of the Labour Law in Jordan. Article 72 obliges private employers hiring more than 20 women who have 10 children under 4 years old to provide day care on site. A one year old campaign that recently registered as an NGO decided to reboot its campaign with more members and more focus building on their successes of the past year. Ahel conducted a campaign development workshop with the 10 members core team for two days to develop the story of the campaign, its vision, strategic objective, strategy and structure to win.

The campaign continues to clarify its core reason and calling to action before it branches out to incorporate more leaders. Ahel continues to coach Sadaqa core team and awaits training the larger leadership pool on organizing methodology and practices.

 
 

"“Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.” Chinese Proverb

 

In its journey, Ahel met 483 learners eager to educate themselves about organizing collective action and practices that maintain motivation and commitment. 483 people who invest passionately in making change. Our workshops although vary in design and participants always aims to engage the heart, mind, and hands.

Workshop starts with the heart . Through stories we show our values and weave them into collective group values that deepens our belonging to the community and to the issue which are acting for. Building on that we move to the mind and strategic thinking. Understand why we act and how we should act get our hands moving.

Ahel trained 290 participants directly, and 193 indirectly through workshops carried out by Samar Dudin, Mays Zoubi, Ashraf Hamza, and Rawan Zeine.

 

"Kafa E'aka" (translates to: Enough Disabling)  Community Organizing Workshop
by Rawan Zeine 4-5 May 2012 Jordan

 

The decision was to train the core team on community organizing instead of doing a campaign conceptualization session  so that the team can get exposed to the organizing terminology and  knowledge. Ten members attended the training including  Rawan who is both a founding member of the campaign and the trainer.

This campaign emerged from a listening campaign conducted by a team of persons with disabilities and their friends which concluded that the priority is streets accessibility. The benefits of the community organizing workshop was  that the founding team became more acquainted with community organizing as a practice and learned organizing skills. Both Noura Awwad and  Nour Abu Higleh from Mujtama3i volunteered with Rawan through the training.

Independent Trade Unions 1 & 8 September 2012 Jordan

Independent Unions have been formed in Jordan to provide an alternative to the general trade unions existing for many years. After the Arab spring, they de-facto formed on the ground through mobilizing the workers and they continue collective action without being recognized by the government.

Ahel conducted a community organizing workshop for 33 members of various independent trade unions in Jordan. Although the workshop wasn’t designed for a specific campaign, yet for learning purposes, the issue of increasing minimum wage was adopted as an imagine campaign and the focus of our workshop. The workshop consisted of independent union members from various sectors like phosphate, electricity, white cement, taxi drivers, municipalities agriculture and airplanes maintenance.

 
 

Palestinian Popular Resistance Workshop  5-8 July 2012- Palestine

 

Many inspirational activists in Palestine continue to mobilize against the occupation and its manifestations including the wall and the settlements expansion. The Palestinian popular resistance coordination committee brought together 25 activists which we trained on community organizing and interdependent leadership. Part of the effort in the workshop focused on developing one vision towards an umbrella campaign bridging and coordinating the various efforts led by the different groups.

The participants thought of leading a campaign to protect land threatened of confiscation and seizure, specifically olive tree farms. As in other community organizing workshops, after narrating the stories that bring them together, the group identifies the strategic objective, the way to effect change and draws a campaign chart to guide its efforts even if loosely. They also intentionally think of the best people structure to implement and succeed with this effort but maybe more importantly build the base for another collective action to come.

Perhaps what’s unique about this workshop was the personal stories told by each participant. Stories filled with struggle and loss, yet beats vibrantly with hope. A common phrase told by Palestinians while narrating “My story is like all the stories”, the narrator doesn’t stop on moments of pain and loss as much, because for them it’s not considered a distinctive detail but rather similar to stories  experienced by every Palestinian. The second unique feature of this workshop was the tactics that  emerged from  the participants. Tactics that creatively tap into the culture in an original way.

 

Take Back the Parliament 1-2,8-9 September 2012 - Lebanon
Conducted by Ashraf Hamzeh & Team

 

Ashraf Hamza conducted the training for the first tier of leadership of Take Back the Parliament movement. The training included 18 participants from various areas in Lebanon. The campaign objective was to bring back the Lebanese parliament to the Lebanese citizens to improve social and economic conditions. The dream of a just and fair homeland not based on ethnic or religious divide but based on a value platform.

The learning journey continued for 4 days, conducted in two consecutive weekends. Community organizing practices were transferred and experiences from relevant campaigns shared through the workshop. The workshop aimed to build the community, adopt the electoral program and endorse candidates selection criteria. Thus the first two days focused on narrative, relational commitments, team building and the motivating vision. We successfully concluded the first week with a theory of change. On the next week, we agreed on our success numbers, and the criteria for selecting candidates, and worked on the strategy and campaign structure as well as campaign tactics, phone banking, metrics and database.

An important learning through the workshop was clear roles and responsibilities for the campaign. So when we created the team structure each team had a clear role to succeed in even after the workshop.

 
 

MENARosa UNAIDS Public Narrative & Insight on Organizing
Workshop—28-29 January 2013- Arab Region

 
In collaboration with UNAIDS and Sally Shalabi, Ahel conducted a workshop for a group of 28 women living with HIV from 14 Arab countries. Ahel trained the women on public narrative and value based relationship in Sharm Al Sheikh. The workshop shifted the women’s thinking to consider building leadership teams at the local level and share their narrative to change stigma around people living with HIV.
Ahel also presented some campaign case studies that contributed to the thinking of the participants as they developed their regional and national plans for action. 
 
 

“The richest people in the world look for and build networks.
Everyone else looks for work. “Robert Kiyosaki

 

In June 2012, professor Marshall Ganz organized a conference to bring together some seventy community organizers, teachers and researchers applying the value based methodology which he had developed. Eight of us- Mujtama3i members- attended the conference. The result was valuable learning from Serbia, Kenya, UK and the Arab world and the beginning of relationships among practitioners sharing stories of challenge and breakthroughs.

The conference was the launch of the Leading Change Network to which we belong. It provides great access to further learning and further reflection on experience. A valuable connection to other activists for interdependent leadership and people power.

Another network we joined and helped establish is ANSA- Arab Network for Social Accountability. More than 50 Arab activists in politics, human rights, development, and media joined forces in Rebat March 2012 to learn about accountability and launch a network to promote it. Nisreen Haj Ahmad of Ahel is a member of ANSA.

Maybe the most memorable gathering in 2012 was when Ahel invited to its office representatives of social change campaigns in Jordan for an orientation session on community organizing. The No Honour in Crime, Sadaqa Campaign, 6 Minutes, Smoke Free Jordan and others attended. Not only did the session reveal what has worked and what hasn’t but it also explored the common values among them around freedom, justice and humanity. It built bridges between the campaigns where they ended up supporting each other in their events planned that month. We hope to invest in building such bridges in 2013 towards some sort of coordinated effort that has more power and leverage.

Finally, while Ahel receives most of its funding from the campaigns and organizations that contract it for coaching and training, in 2012 Ahel received a grant from the Open Society Foundation that allows us to support part of our operation and part of our trainings and coaching.

 
 

“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”-
Maya Angelou

 

Learning in community organizing is at the essence of our work. As facilitators and trainers, we always stop to reflect on our learning from the experience, and from that emerges our writings. Writing that doesn’t necessarily hold answers but carries the experience with its questions to be shared on Mujtama3i website.

Through 2012, we wrote the following reflections: (You can click on the title of the article to read it. )

 
1 - Strategy is a Journey - Nisreen Haj Ahmad based on Si Kahn: Thinking and planning for a campaign is similar planning a picnic, how?
2 - There’s No Time to Wait-  Reem Manna: The sense of urgency is one of the secrets of a campaign’s success- reflection on “Sar Waqtha” Campaign.
3 - Do our Meetings Motivate us or Depress us? - Nisreen Haj Ahmad: What we have learned about managing productive, efficient and fun meetings.
4 - How to Create an Effective Team? - Mais Irqsusi : Characteristics and practices that makes leadership teams effective.
5 - Build a Teams Structure for your Campaign- Mais Irqsusi: the importance of mindfully form a teams structure for the campaign’s success.
6 - Are we Ready to Launch our Campaign? - Nisreen Haj Ahmad: Are we ever going to be really ready? What is essential and what is the source of our hesitation?
7 - Anemone- Nisreen Haj Ahmad: Reflection on the  Palestinian movement for the Right of Return.
8 - Ahel: Those Who Deserve and Those Who Can - Nisreen Haj Ahmad: What does it mean to be the constituency, to be the campaign family? A reflection on 6 Minutes  Campaign
9 - There is Always a Story that Started a Journey-Mais Irqsusi : the importance of weaving our  personal  stories for  collective action that is value based and real.
 
48 Jaber Bin Hayan St. Shmesani– Amman– Jordan
00962 776 257 133
info@ahel.org, www.ahel.org