Prevention of Violence against Women doesn’t end with the 16 Days of Activism!

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Amman, Jordan- Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD)-Legal Aid concludes another successful 16 Days of Activism campaign. The 16 Days of Activism campaign is a global international advocacy effort against gender-based violence (GBV). The start and end dates of the Campaign are November 25th– International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and December 10th — Human Rights Day. These important dates emphasize that gender-based violence is a violation of human rights. However, the fight to end violence against women and gender-based violence doesn’t end with just 16 days.

ARDD-Legal Aid strives to promote women’s rights and gender equality in all its programming. For the 2014 16 Days of Activism campaign ARDD-Legal Aid implemented a variety of activities through the Voices project. The Voices project aims to highlight refugees’ voices as active agents of change rather than passive recipients of aid. To further this goal ARDD-Legal Aid staff implemented five awareness raising sessions on the 16 Days of Activism with the Syrian refugee communities in Amman, Mafraq and Zarqa, reaching nearly 80 beneficiaries. These workshops focused on framing these messages to the public and how to advocate for the needs of the community. These groups selected speakers who would present their needs, aspirations and concerns at the Karama Human Rights Film Festival panel discussion.

On Novemeber 26th ARDD-Legal Aid held a 16 Days of Activism panel discussion at the University of Jordan in collaboration with the Center for Women’s Studies. Speakers included Dr. Abeer Dababneh, the journalist Rania Sarayreh, and Dr. Maria del Mar Logrono Senior Gender Specialist at ARDD-Legal Aid. They discussed with university students the challenges women face in Jordan and how they can move forward together to combat violence against women and gender-based violence.

On Saturday December 6th ARDD-Legal Aid hosted a panel discussion at the Karama Film Festival entitled: “Safe Spaces: at Home and in Displacement.” The panel discussion was moderated by Hana Al-Araj and had three expert panelists Layla Naffa’ Hamarneh from Arab Women’s Organization, Aycheh Takhzant UNRWA and independent documentary film maker Widad Shafakoj on how safe spaces reflect in their work. ‘Safe Spaces’ are the physical locations where men, women, girls and boys can feel physically and emotionally safe to share their experiences with professional staff dedicated to their protection. To demonstrate ‘Safe Spaces,’ ARDD-Legal Aid displayed photos taken by photographer Rebecca Arnold in Zaatari Refugee Camp and the city of Zarqa. In addition to professional panelist, we also had several of the Voices project beneficiaries who spoke on the issues their community deal with.

Throughout November, ARDD-Legal Aid, in partnership with the Dutch charity organization Syrious Mission, held a series of music workshops throughout November on what safe spaces meant to the children of Zarqa. Through these workshops the Zarqa youth group were enabled to developed their own songs with lyrics and beats relevant to issues they faced. The youth groups finally preformed their two songs in front of the Karama panel guests and helped remind us how important safe spaces are for the healthy development of children and the community.

The 16 Days of Activism is an important annual campaign that tackles violence against women and gender-based violence. However, 16 days a year is not enough to combat the epidemic of violence against women and gender-based violence. ARDD-Legal Aid is committed through all its projects and services to empower women and strive for gender equality in Jordan.

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