Reem is Tarabot Project Manager at the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO), and has over 17 years of experience working in the development and humanitarian sectors.
Tarabot Center was established in 2015 to provide support and assistance to the population of East Amman, including refugee communities of all genders and age groups. The center provides socio-psychological support to impacted people (particularly mothers and children), in addition to a variety of educational and training services for women, children and youth.
Becoming a humanitarian professional: Reem’s journey
Although her university studies in Child Education were not directly related to her current work, Reem used volunteering as a threshold to get into the development and humanitarian sectors early on in her life. She started volunteering with Princess Basma Youth Resource Center (PBYRC) when she was still in college, and continued to volunteer in parallel to her work after graduating, serving a total of eight years of volunteering.
She describes the beginning of her volunteering experience as “not easy”, because of the gender barriers she had to deal with as a young woman from a conservative community, working in marginalised communities alongside men. But she looks back at that experience with pride, as she realises how it contributed to build her character and helped her understand the struggles and challenges local vulnerable communities are faced with.
After realising that becoming a teacher was not her desired career path, she focused on building a career in the development field, working closely with impoverished communities in national and international NGOs. Her experience in the development sector further strengthened her skills and her appreciation of the value and impact of humanitarian work.
She made her second leap in the humanitarian sector by joining the Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO) as a Project Assistant for the Cash Assistance project. She says that the transition from working on development projects targeted at nationals, to working with refugees was “unusual”, but challenging herself to make that transition gave her a great sense of achievement, and keeps her motivation high as she continues to work in the sector.
Humanitarian learning in Jordan: investing in the youth as a priority
Reem believes that the landscape of the humanitarian sector has changed a lot in the past 10-15 years. The unfortunate events in neighbouring countries such as Iraq and Syria have brought international expertise and organisations into Jordan, which ultimately improved the humanitarian response practice in the country, and helped the number of national CBOs and CSOs to grow significantly.
However, while the number of organisations providing humanitarian training has also increased, most of these organisations are commercial in nature, charging hefty fees for each training which are mostly redundant and of questionable quality.
“Some [training providers] even use information and terminologies that are wrong, which is very damaging to the humanitarian sector, and that damage cannot be easily fixed or recovered.” she stated.
Reem also sees a missed opportunity to invest in youth and children early on. She believes that providing the youth with suitable training on humanitarian principles would build the right foundation for them to become good citizens, volunteers, and future humanitarians.
“Young people have a lot of creative ideas that can transform society, but unfortunately, they don’t currently have the tools and resources to bring those ideas to life.” she added.
The Enabling Access Learning Centre: offering high quality humanitarian training in the Middle East region
As a believer in continuous learning, Reem always searches for new learning opportunities; be it to refresh her existing knowledge, or acquire new knowledge which might be useful for her work and personal development. To date, she has participated in two training courses at the Learning Centre in Amman, the first one being the “Core Humanitarian Standard Training of Trainers (ToT)”, and the “Needs Assessment” course as the second, and she describes her experience with the Learning Centre as very positive.
She describes the mission of the Humanitarian Leadership Academy and the Learning Centre as “very important for Jordan”. This is mainly because she feels that many workers in the humanitarian sector are not aware of humanitarian principles, and because the humanitarian learning environment in the country needs more genuine capacity building efforts to counter the overly commercialised trainings being offered by most learning providers in the field.
Furthermore, on a personal level, Reem prefers face-to-face training environments where she can engage with trainers and exchange knowledge and experience with other participants, which she feels the Learning Centre provides really well.
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