Building the Capacity of Young Jordanian Human Rights Defenders (YJHRDs) in Jordanian Universities

The project’s objectives were to build the capacity of university students regarding knowledge of human rights, legal and judicial procedures and how to confer this knowledge to peers. This was done by way of establishing a network of YJHRDs in a number of Jordanian universities, intended to mobilize and effectively operate the promotion of human rights, democracy and fundamental freedoms and providing tools for members to protect themselves against hostilities and violations. A special emphasis was put on inclusion of female human rights defenders, networking, coalition building, and debates with universities and governmental institutions.

The project was composed of 3 main components; capacity building - where a core group of 35 university students received a series of trainings and given space to experience their knowledge and apply it under supervision of experts. Free legal aid - provided for students as needed in case of facing difficulties during their activism work over the project duration. Awareness - workshops were organized all over Jordan focusing on the role and importance of human rights defenders, as well as open discussion forums being held between network members and decision makers to discuss the situation of human rights defenders in Jordan.

The YJHRDs network received 500 applications within its first year and currently has over 1000 members, still growing. The network produced the first report of its kind in Jordan, documenting the situation of political activists and human rights defenders, and the level of liberties in Jordanian universities. In the report, 215 human rights defenders from 19 different universities responded to the situation analysis. A training manual on the topics was also produced to help new members of the network develop their capacity and help the network in sustainability and growth. A Facebook page was created to help the defenders communicate and promote the project idea and objectives. The project included 233 constituents in the awareness sessions held in 7 governorates. 

This project was implemented over a period of 29 months and funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Jordan, with a total budget of 274,744 USD.