Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Three Years of Strengthening the Rule of Law in Jordan



In 2019, Street Law began working in with Jordanian government and educational officials to launch a series of projects designed to empower Jordanians to shape, impact, and advocate for a thriving society that abides by the rule of law.

Now, three years later, these successful projects have already benefitted thousands of Jordanians across the country and promise to continue to increase the culture of rule of law in Jordan for years to come.

During a recent visit to Jordan, Street Law’s Chief Program Officer Jennifer Whatley met with the Government Coordinator for Human Rights (GCHR) Nazir Awamleh to discuss the Jordanian government’s cooperation and coordination of the implementation of our rule of law programs across Jordan.

According to the Jordan News Agency, Awamleh praised Street Law’s work during the past two years to train young people and university professors in Jordan and expressed the GCHR's readiness to launch "real" cooperation and partnership with the organization in the fields of human rights and enforcement of the rule of law.

”By working closely with the Government of Jordan, educators, and youth leaders, Street Law is helping to institutionalize rule of law education within Jordan. The curriculum we and our Jordanian partners developed will continue to be taught well after Street Law’s direct role in this initiative ends,” said Whatley.

These projects, like many of our efforts, follow the Street Law belief that the people best equipped to meet a community’s needs are the people within that community.

Our work in Jordan is supported by the Arab World Center for Democratic Development United for Human Rights and Democracy (UniHRD), and financially supported by the German Federal Foreign Office and the U.S. Embassy.

Rule of Law Matters Curriculum Project

In 2019, Street Law launched the Rule of Law Matters project in Jordan, a set of Arabic language rule of law lessons that increases Jordanian young people’s knowledge, skills, and attitudes around the rule of law. The curriculum was developed after extensive consultation with Jordanian legal and educational specialists to ensure that the lessons were relevant and applicable.

We then hosted a series of pilot workshops in late spring 2021 to train Jordanian teachers and community leaders on how to implement the Rule of Law Matters curriculum, reaching thousands of young people across Jordan.

Based on the pilot workshop’s feedback, the lessons were reimagined and improved to ensure they were useful and practical for Jordanian educators. We now have 15 field-tested activities that guide young people through a rich exploration of rule of law in Jordan.

The Rule of Law Matters lessons cover a variety of topics related to the rule such as fair and impartial courts, limiting and balancing government power, and equal treatment under the law. Each lesson incorporates interactive activities that allow students to not only build their knowledge but also develop practical skills that will help them advocate for and build a rule of law culture in their communities.

Street Law is thrilled that the Jordan University of Science and Technology has chosen to adopt our Rule of Law Matters curriculum for a new general subject class this upcoming semester.

“Rule of law is the basis for a functioning democratic system,” said H.E. Bernhard Kampmann, the German Ambassador to Jordan. “This is why Germany funded Street Law’s Rule of Law Matters project in Jordan, aimed at strengthening the rule of law culture among Jordanian youth and students. Education about the legal system, about rights as obligations, enables citizens to overcome skepticism of state institutions and paves the way for a more trustful, cooperative, and vital state-society relations.”

Jordanian Youth Centers Rule of Law Project

In February 2022, we launched our second project in Jordan, the Jordanian Youth Centers Rule of Law Project. This project focuses on strengthening rule of law culture in Jordan by building the capacity of Jordanian youth center leaders to teach the rule of law to young people in Jordan.

The Ministry of Youth in Jordan operates youth centers in every governorate in the Kingdom. These youth centers provide space and tailored programs for youth to explore topics that are relevant and applicable to their lives and their communities.

We began the project by bringing five Jordanian educational and legal professionals to Washington, DC, for a five-day study tour where they visited courthouses and classrooms. The group participated in workshops that exposed them to a wide range of rule of law institutions and created opportunities for them to reflect on the rule of law culture of the United States.

Then, in March 2022, we traveled to Jordan to train group of youth center leaders on how to implement the Rule of Law Matters lessons in youth centers around Jordan. The training was developed with significant input and contribution from the five study tour participants, who shared about their experience in the United States and described their observations about the similarities and differences between the rule of law cultures of the two countries.

Following the training, the instructors will begin implementing the Rule of Law Matters lessons in their youth centers throughout the spring of 2022, reaching thousands of young people across Jordan.

What’s Next?

Although our Rule of Law Matters project has concluded, and the Jordanian Youth Centers Rule of Law Project wraps up in May, we are pleased to announce our work in Jordan will continue as we kick off a follow-up project called Rule of Law for Peace.

This two-year project, funded by the German Foreign Office, will further our work in Jordan through comprehensive rule of law training for government officials, as well as advocacy training for community leaders, citizens, and officials. This training will build their capacity to engage with each other through civic and rule of law processes and institutions.

Through fully supported community projects, citizen leaders, civic mentors, and government officials will then collaborate to utilize civic institutions to make meaningful and tangible improvements in the community.

The result of this project will be the development of a stronger rule of law culture – demanded by the citizens and embraced by state structures and actors – in which citizens and government work together peacefully to realize democratic progress.