Anas Alrawashdeh, 30, co-founded Jordanian organization “Drabzeen for Human Development” in 2012, focusing on youth, gender and community initiatives. Anas chose the name, which means “railing” in Arabic, to represent the best intentions of Drabzeen’s work; to act as a “hand rail” for youth, offering them something stable to hold onto during uncertain times.


The organization carries out its work dynamically, with a focus that ranges from promoting good governance, human rights and the rehabilitation of the Jordanian labour market; implementing a group of initiatives to support the rule of law and media and technology in development, health and environment; and fundraising for small economic projects. Across all governorates of Jordan, Drabzeen has enacted 20 volunteer clubs, each made up of a host of youth ambassadors, with approximately 2,500 active ambassadors throughout the Kingdom.


Drabzeen’s ambassadors do not shy away from tackling tough issues. Recently in Karak, an area of Jordan contending with several socio-economic challenges, ambassadors from the local youth club began working to support the mitigation of a tribal dispute. In this instance, a man had been killed and the case had been ruled upon by the local tribal council rather than through trail proceedings in a court of law. The alleged perpetrator and all those associated to him had been expelled from the village. “In cases like this, there is often no justice for the victims and the cycle repeats itself”, explains Anas. 


Seeking to break the cycle and provide support, the ambassadors worked with the local people using a three-step plan. First, they raised awareness through social media and local radio, hosting ten radio episodes to discuss the resolution of the tribal issue. Then they gathered the leaders and youth of the concerned tribes to discuss the larger issue of tribal justice, developing together a mutually acceptable agreement for the best way forward in the case at hand. The leaders have now agreed that they will sign the agreement in a ceremony. Finally, the ambassadors worked to train Karak youth on the rule of law. “It is so important to engage youth in the solution,” Anas reflected.


Drabzeen’s fine efforts have been encouraged by the UNESCO Amman office, with financial support generously provided by the European Union (EU). Within the framework of the EU-funded UNESCO Networks for Mediterranean Youth project (NET-MED Youth), UNESCO aims at supporting youth-led initiatives. The four-year regional project has been implemented in collaboration with youth organizations, institutions and partners. In Jordan, the project works towards enhancing the effective participation of youth in developing and implementing national strategies and policies affecting youth through increasing their access to relevant information and resources. In achieving that goal, it strives to reduce the fragmentation of efforts and to harness the collective potential of youth in affecting democratic transition towards active citizenship, political participation, economic development, and social inclusion.


Under the NET-MED Youth project, the first “National Youth Organisations Coalition” has been developed. Of the over 1,000 national organizations across Jordan who applied to be part of the Coalition, Drabzeen was one of the 60 selected. The aim of the Coalition is to create an enabling environment in which young men and women can develop their competencies, exercise their rights and meaningfully engage in their communities as active citizens.


A key stipulation of the Coalition’s selection was that organizations needed to be focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Drabzeen is taking action to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and recently rolled out two “café talk” events across each governorate to discuss issues related to SDG’s in Jordan, searching for community solutions with each developing their own initiative. Each region produced a video pertaining to either the economic, education, political, art and technology sector, and linking their initiative to an SDG. In addition, and in line with SDG 5, which focuses on gender equality, Drabzeen’s new “Abshiri” (‘with pleasure’, in English) project aims to encourage and strengthen women’s representation, participation and right to leadership positions, especially in politics in Jordan.


Anas feels that the Coalition provides a staging ground for making good connections and fusing partnerships across governorates. “The training we have received has been so valuable and we have even learned about how to broaden our youth networks beyond Jordan. This type of networking is a relatively new concept for us”.


In May 2018, Anas travelled to Tunisia for the OECD “Youth Participation in Local Governance” summit, with support from the EU-funded and UNESCO implemented NET-MED youth project. In Tunis, the interactive sessions provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about tools designed to foster increased participation at the local level and for representatives from national and local councils to share successes and challenges.


“I was so grateful to have been part of this important event. We were able to meet with the youth council for Europe and MENA and it was enlightening to hear about the experience of European youth, their strategies for expanding their networks and engaging youth in public issues”, shared Anas. “The emphasis on SDG 16, which focuses on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice to all and building inclusive institutions, really spoke to me as I can see how important the achievement of this goal is in my home country of Jordan”.


For more information about Drabzeen visit:  or find them on Facebook @DrabzeenHD

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