Liwan Youth Space: a safe haven for youth interaction

Liwan Youth Space provides a safe environment that supports constructive social interaction and positive change (Photo:Handout from Liwan Youth Space)
AMMAN — Youth can be great future entrepreneurs, community builders, leaders and influencers if given the conducive opportunity and environment. Creating a space that engages youth and fosters their creativity through entertaining and informative activities, workshops, and interactive sessions would no doubt drive their productivity and impact their lives positively. اضافة اعلان

‘Liwan’ is a Persian word that has been used since ancient times to describe a fronted hall in a Levantine house.

Inspired by ancient architecture, Liwan Youth Space provides a safe environment that supports constructive social interaction and positive change, and welcomes youth activities and initiatives, targeting the population segment aged 15-35 years.

Most notably, the space is designed in a manner that facilitates accessibility for people with disabilities. 

Sari Sabatin, Project Coordinator at Liwan Youth Space, told Jordan News that the space was named Liwan as one of the co-creation team members said it reminded her of the Liwan in her grandfather's house when she first visited and felt a sense of positive energy.

Liwan Youth Space was established in 2018 based on a participatory action research approach by a group of young men and women active in a variety of fields, calling themselves ‘the joint visualization team’.  Over a period of three months, the 12 young men and women created the awareness, identity and tools of the space as well as its management methodology.

 (Photo: Handout from Liwan Youth Space)

The space provides youth with the opportunity to meet and interact with one another and as groups that share similar values and interests.  The space allows them to express themselves freely and creatively, exchange experiences and knowledge, and create networks to initiate actions and generate social change. 

“Liwan Youth Space is considered to youth as a safe meeting place, a location that provides the opportunity to engage and communicate,” Sabatin said, adding that work team also provides youth with technical support in the areas of their expertise and knowledge. 

According to Sabatin, Liwan Youth Space started as part of the project “Strengthening Civic and Political Participation of Youth in Jordan”, that was funded by the Danish Arab Partnership Program (DAPP), and implemented by Tammy for Youth Development and Action Aid Arab Region.

The space’s main purpose is to encourage youth to participate in civic and political activities, through establishing cooperation with civil society and youth groups working in a variety of fields, like education and health, among others.

In addition to political activities, the youth activities get to engage in and learn about economic, social, and decision-making aspects of public work.

 (Photo: Handout from Liwan Youth Space)

The ultimate goal for Liwan Youth Space is to reach a state of financial independence through the activities it runs.  “This was achieved in 2021, whereby we became a not-for-profit organization,” said Sabatine. 

The space aims to foster a community in which young people support one another and work together in groups and come up with initiatives that lead to a positive social change, which they wish to see and experience in their respective communities.  This is achieved through connecting like-minded youth together, where they formulate a common vision and action plans to achieve their goals.

The space comprises several areas, including a training room as well as meeting rooms of different sizes, all equipped with technical facilities, sound system, and other services needed for the different meeting and training needs.  As part of its activities, the space implements youth-oriented events and activities, such as discussion sessions and training programs in a variety of fields.

Liwan Youth Space offers its services and manages its activities based on the concept of reciprocity, where people give and receive to ensure mutual benefit and sustainability.

Financing the space’s running costs and activities largely relies on contributions that also reinforce independence and sustainability and continued functions.  The space is also partly managed by volunteers who offer their expertise and services free of charge.

According to Sabatine, the biggest challenge the space faced was during the COVID-19 lockdown, which stipulated transforming the space digitally, enabling individuals to attend online training and lectures.

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