By Sofia Ladak
Today is our second full day in Jordan, which means that we are finally slipping into the rhythm of the city of Amman. We have all felt incredibly well received in this country, and are very much enjoying our time here.
Leo and I started off our day with the most incredible interview! We met with an NGO called Questscope which was founded out of the UK, and has a branch in Amman with an almost fully Jordanian team.
Leo started off the conversation focusing less on Questscope and more on trying to get a sense of the Palestinian identity in Jordan, as it just so happened to be that both women we spoke to were of Palestinian decent. It was extremely interesting, even for me whose research focus is quite different, to hear them speak about how much they feel they and their families have been able to integrate into Jordanian society, starkly contrasting some of the conversations Leo had had the day before.
Afterwards, we shifted over to speak about Questscope and their mission, which is to provide education, namely non-formal education, to more vulnerable populations around Jordan, including drop out and refugee children. One of the large takeaways I’ve been having from every interview is that there is very much a need to focus on the question of “what happens next?”. Jordan unfortunately has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world, and many organizations seem to feel that closing that gap has to be done through the private sector. Additionally, I’ve been finding it very interesting that most organizations work very closely with the Ministry of Education.
One aspect of the interview that really resonated with me was when I complemented them on the work that they’ve been doing. I was met with the response “but we are not happy” because they find it to be a sometimes frustrating and slow process. While they realize they are making a difference, it just takes more time than they would hope, which can often be the case with such NGO’s.
Moving forward in my day, I then went to my second interview at the Queen Rania Teacher Foundation. In all honesty, this was a less positive experience as they were not as welcoming or informative. It was interesting to see the contrast of different types of NGO’s, even considering their location as this took place about 30 minutes away from the city center in a large “Business Park” of many offices. Nonetheless, I was able to understanding how much they also work with the Ministry of Education; none of these organizations seem to operate independently. While I am aware that unless you align with the Ministry’s goals, there might be little you can do, I did not grasp from my research how much of a symbiosis relationship they really have.
As a result, my next goal is to be able to speak to the Ministry of Education, as they are much harder to reach than other organizations, especially for an in-person appointment. Inshallah it happens!