Investing in Community Based Centers & Human Rights Organizations
Ahel’s long term impact is with community based organizations or human rights organizations that apply some or all of the community organizing framework and practices to their operation. Ahel partnered with Ruwwad Al Tanmiyeh in Jordan, and trained all of its staff on organizing. With Ruwwad’s guidance and Ahel’s coaching, the Jabal Natheef community led and succeeded in two campaigns: 6 Minutes for Reading (currently being documented as a case study to be taught at Harvard Kennedy School) and Safe Homes Campaign to prevent physical abuse of children at home. The work continues without Ahel, now that Ruwwad’s in-house team coaches a third campaign against violence at schools. Remarkable is that Ruwwad’s board of directors decided in its 2011 strategy meeting decided to adopt community organizing as the approach that will grow leadership and power of its constituency to achieve the change they seek.
Ahel also worked with two other community and cause organizations: Maan (CBO in Neggev) and Jinsanieh (for sexual rights and education in Palestine/Israel). However, Ahel’s intervention was not aimed to support their campaigning/organizing, but rather to design and facilitate a reflection and strategizing session amongst the team members. We started with collaboratively authoring the story of the organizations, helped assess their achievements in the three circles of success, and finally put them on the decision making path based on trends & lessons learned.
Ahel coached three campaigns dealing with women’s rights in Jordan. Ayna Naqef (Where do we stand?) is specifically to encourage parents not to relinquish their right over their murdered daughter to protect her brother or cousin who murdered her in thename of “honour”.
Sadaqa (Friendship) is to ensure that Article 72 of the labour law is applied. The article necessitates private companies need to establish a daycare center if it has more than 20 women employees with 10 children under 4 years old.
Qom Ma’ AlMoalem (Stand with the Teacher) is a campaign led by women teachers paid under the minimum wage in private schools in Irbid. The objective is to have teachers demand signing the unified contract and organize or pursue legal action if their rights are infringed.
In addition to coaching the above mentioned campaign, solicited by UNWomen in Egypt, Ahel ran a public narrative workshop for women with HIV virus coming from different Arab countries to build a value based discourse that empowers them and moves them into collective action. Ahel also ran community organizing workshop for women activists in Jordan in which 15 people participated.
Rights of People with Disability
Ahel ran a public narrative workshop with the 20 leaders of the Takafo campaign to collectively articulate the values that bring them together and build a stronger team spirit between them. The public narrative workshop came at a juncture in their campaign where they just won their demands with the ministry of interior pertaining to elections. The story of now specifically helped them clarify their call to action at that juncture.
Ahel ran a public narrative with a group of university students with disability that motivated them to action. After the workshop, a core team was established to lead a campaign in the university of Jordan demanding accessibility and equal rights. Sar Waqth (It’s Time) organized teams of students in a series of action that led the university to respond to their demands. Although the campaign was successfully completed, it should be replicated and scaled in all universities. Not only because it presented a good model, but also because it is incredibly needed.
Qom Ma Almoalem for pay equity – mentioned above- is also a workers rights campaign with the involvement of the Ministry of labour and the Teachers’ Syndicate. In 2012, Ahel trained a cohort of labor activists who belong to the independent unions on community organizing
practices after which Ahel documented in a case study the organizing carried out by the phosphates workers to bring a salary increase among other rights.
Freedom & Anti Discrimination
Ahel started this field of its work with a campaign called Love in the Time of Apartheid. The campaign was to resist Israeli discrimination laws and policy that prohibit family unification of a Palestinian from Israel married to a Palestinian from anywhere else. The campaign lasted for a year in which the issue was highlighted at an international level as well.
After that Ahel entered in a coaching relationship with the Prawer Won’t Pass campaign in the Neggev to prevent the passing of a draft law destined to confiscate thousands of dunums and expel 70k people from their homes.
Once that campaign was won, a group of activists in the north asked us to support them launch a campaign to encourage the Druze youth to resist the obligatory army service. Orfod Shaabak Bi7meik (Resist and Your People Will Protect You) is the name of the campaign and it is ongoing to date.
Ahel also conducted five other workshops to teach community organizing and campaign management with different groups, such as university student groups on both side of the green line and also Tanseeqyit Moqawameh Shaabieh (the Popular Struggle Committees) active against the Wall and the settlements expansion in the West Bank.
Ahel conducted all the above mentioned work in Palestine/Israel. In addition to that and while without a coaching relationship with BDS Jordan, Ahel ran a six session learning series for the BDS activists to reflect on their one year journey in story, structure, strategy and the meaning of success.
Ahel coached and trained Tabek Nithamak (Implement Your Laws) in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. The campaign demands that the PLO implements its bylaws and organize elections to choose the refugee camp committees.
Ahel also supported the launch of a campaign with Syrian refugees in Gazineteb called AlNajiyyat (Survivors). The campaign objective was to increase the family’s and community’s support to women who have been released from imprisonment or kidnapping instead of out casting them because of a suspicion that they were sexually abused.
In 2012, Ahel also worked with Haq AlAmal (Right to Work) campaign in Lebanon to re-strategize and restructure to incorporate volunteers and grassroot leadership to its ranks as it was in its eighth year.
On Electoral Campaigns
Istarji’u AlBarlama (Take Back the Parliament) in Lebanon launched with our coaching to organize the constituency to vote for parliamentary candidates based on their program rather than their sect. It even prepared to run their own candidates, but the elections were later cancelled.
Nuwwab Shabab’s (Young Parliamentarians) objective was to have youthful representatives in Syria’s parliament. Ahel trained the core team running the campaign who later went on to train and coach others especially when entering Syria became difficult for Ahel after the revolution.