From alienation to safety : protection is the way
“Finding myself in a situation where I can’t perform like I used to or be who I am, devastated me. It was a struggle. Every night, I would decide to drop out of school,” says Ola, a high-achieving student from Syria, about her move to Jordan. Sharing similar sentiments, 23-year-old Houriyeh explains: “I sat in bed every night, wishing I would not wake up the next day.”
IPSP focuses on governorates that host the largest number of refugees in the Kingdom and aims to help Syrian refugees adapt to their new surroundings by bridging gaps between them and local Jordanian youth.In addition to trauma caused by war, these young individuals often find themselves excluded in their new communities. They endure various cultural adversities like bullying, which add to feelings of alienation. To combat this, Generations For Peace (GFP) implemented the program “Improving Protection Spaces and Practices (IPSP) for Syrians and Jordanians in Host Communities”.
IPSP focuses on governorates that host the largest number of refugees in the Kingdom and aims to help Syrian refugees adapt to their new surroundings by bridging gaps between them and local Jordanian youth. Moreover, it supplies the youth with tools and services to enhance their protection and address different forms of violence, specifically gender-based violence (GBV). Through the program, GFP worked closely with the Ministry of Youth (MoY) to provide a safe environment that embraces both Jordanian and Syrian youth, creating channels of communication between them, strengthening ties in their communities, and engaging them in peacebuilding.
“Over the last two years, we have focused on achieving rapid and sustainable impact that extends from the MoY and its team to the youth within these communities. We provided intensive protection and GBV trainings to the ministry’s team and helped them develop a protection protocol to be applied across the board. We also trained more than 300 Syrian and Jordanian young men and women in leadership skills, community needs assessments, and advocacy for peace, to ensure they can achieve the impact they hope for,” explains Senior Program Officer at GFP Walaa Al-Smadi.
IPSP has helped build capacities of the MoY staff, particularly on issues of protection and GBV, before focusing on local youth from Amman, Zarqa, Mafraq, and Irbid, like Ola and Houriyeh. It also provided small grants to 80 youth centers affiliated with the MoY to implement visitor-related programs led by MoY employees. In its final stages, the program provided 10 youth centers with larger grants for building safe spaces inside each center, to be used for training and youth activities, thus contributing to rapidly and sustainably improving the conditions related to protection and social cohesion for children and youth in these communities.
Throughout the program, participants were able to discuss their current concerns and dreams for the future, helping to empower them and build their confidence. Some found that participating in sports helped treat problems in their society. Others worked toward providing a source of income for their families. Many, like Houriyeh, found their own strength of character. “My voice was finally heard… I felt like a child who had found their home,” she reflects. Participants like MoY staff member Arwa realized through IPSP that knowledge is power. “I did not understand the meaning of protection,” she explains. “At first, I thought that our culture was characterized by safety, but then I realized the value of learning about protection issues and their different dimensions,” Arwa concludes.
The IPSP program has been implemented with support of the European Regional Development and Protection Program for Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq (RDPP II), a joint European initiative supported by the Czech Republic, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland, and Switzerland.
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