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Youth Fight Environmental Degradation
The project ‘Youth Innovative Participation in Civic Engagement’ has been successful in activating youth in civil society issues and in making impacts in their local communities. One of the project’s five groups has succeeded in fighting environmental issues in Al Russaifa, which has lead to the reopening of Al-Russaifa Park.
04. June 2012
The Al Russaifa forest park has finally been reopened after prolonged pollution that has left the park impossible to use. The project group has approached the municipality demanding for them to take responsibility in the matter and have stood up against the factory that is dumping industrial waste in the park. The project has resulted in a signed agreement binding the factory to end the environmental destruction of the park.
The group has been working on the issue for months after having received training in campaigning and advocacy by the organization CDC in Zarqa, who is supported by ActionAid. They have put their new skills to a test in the environmental project and are considering the result to be a success. The youth express a newfound confidence that they can make a change in their societies and want to keep working for a better environment.
The young men and women did not start out with a certainty that the project would work out. Many groups and individuals have advocated for change before them with a negative result and the group had to think of new ways to address the issue. The youth see their success grounded in careful planning and structuring of the project - using many of the skills they have learned in the training. They have been advocating in the municipality as well as motivating big groups of people through campaigns.
The group started out by arranging a festival in Al Russaifa in order to spread awareness about the environmental problems facing the area. The people and CSO’s in the area turned out to be very supportive due to many years of living with unhealthy surroundings.The support turned out to be a valuable asset -putting pressure on the municipality and the factory as well as helping in cleaning up of the park.
The young men and women feel that the project has helped them to developas individuals and as a group. They have heightened their sense of team spirit, have become more interested in social work and helping other people, and have learned not to fear failure or to address difficult issues. ActionAid considers the project a success since it has promoted youth civic engagement and they are very happy to hear that the group is already thinking about future projects - wishing to keep working for a cleaner and healthier society.